When Thobeka Zondi joined the Setsoto municipality as a bright young graduate nine years ago, she quickly discovered her dream of becoming a registered professional engineer was going to have to wait. Just as law graduates need to complete their articles before they are considered fully qualified, engineers must get practical experience under the tutelage of their elders to take on higher responsibilities. But Zondi found there was no-one available in Setsoto, which serves the residents of Ficksburg and the surrounding small towns, to supervise her path to becoming a professional engineer. Nor was there anyone to act as a sounding board for the problems she encountered on the job. Her experience is mirrored across SA, where a shrinking pool of senior engineering professionals simply does not have the capacity to train, mentor and guide the growing number of nonprofessional staff entering the public sector. The latest research on the engineering capacity of municipalities, published ...

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