We've got news for you.

Register on BusinessLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

There has been much consternation, both in the media and universally throughout the engineering profession, regarding decisions by the SA National Road Agency (Sanral) board affecting big national road projects.

This has led to high costs for the industry players involved and also road users, where excess road user costs as a result of the decision will amount to hundreds of millions of rand. I suggest this is because of a lack of engineering experience of Sanral board members.

The nearest the current board comes to having appropriate engineering expertise appears to be a member who headed the KwaZulu-Natal roads department during the period when, according to a Council for Scientific & Industrial Research report, provincial roads gained the unenviable reputation of being the worst in the country. This person is not a registered professional civil engineer.

In contrast to this situation, the Zondo state capture commission has stressed the need for state-owned enterprises (SOE) to have board members with expertise in the dealings of the relevant SOE.

As a comparison with the above, the membership of the immediate predecessor to the Sanral board, the previous SA Roads Board, had five of its eight members as registered professional civil engineers. These five members all individually had extensive experience in civil engineering. This is a standard situation throughout the world where roads boards are used to oversee important road infrastructure.

The Sanral board, whose term I gather has passed, needs to be restructured  to provide it with the necessary expertise of professional road engineers, rather than cadre deployment as appears to have been the case with the current board.

I trust that our self-styled fearless and free-spirited transport minister will heed the Zondo commission’s recommendations in his new board appointments.

Malcolm Mitchell, Hillcrest 

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an email with your comments to letters@businesslive.co.za. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.


Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

Commenting is subject to our house rules.