SAGI branch AGM focuses on SG liaison, education and new opportunities

April 8th, 2015, Published in Articles: PositionIT

 

Speaking at the SAGI Northern Provinces Branch AGM on 13 March 2015, branch chairperson Altus Strydom thanked the branch committee for their hard work, and announced that  the new committee members for 2015/16, aside from himself, were Marius van Rooyen, Chris Kirchhoff, James Naledi, Dave Clark, John Hughes, Philip Schalekamp, Bulelani Lengoasa and Viresh Singh.

The Surveyor General (SG) reports for Pretoria, North West and Mpumalanga were distributed to members prior to the branch AGM, and there was a brief discussion relating to the feedback.

The Pretoria SG Office reported that SAGI liaison meetings had been held with discussion points focussing on electronic data submissions, quality of work, statutory consents, staffing issues, Project Vulindlela, and batch sizes. Ongoing projects at the Pretoria SG Office include the Survey of Un-Surveyed State Land which is being co-ordinated by the Chief Surveyor-General’s Office and the State Land Audit.

sagi-123-04-2015

Altus Strydom, James Naledi, Philip Schalekamp, Thelma Fourie, Chris Kirchhoff, Bulelani Lengoasa, John Hughes, Marius van Rooyen and Corne de Jager.

 

Despite being understaffed, the North West SG office reported that there had been a reduction in turnaround times from 38 days in July 2012 to 15 days in 2013/15 and 13 days in 2015. It also reported its appreciation for the assistance it has received from some Professional Land Surveyors  especially with regard to the training of Candidate Professional Surveyors.  Ongoing projects at the North West SG office include beacon verification and assisting land restitution efforts with property verifications.

The Mpumalanga SG office reported that it continues to operate with severe skills shortages as well as budget constraints. They appealed to Professional Land Surveyors in the region for assistance with mentoring land surveyors-in-training in order to avoid having to send them off to other provinces for training. The office also expressed a concern with regard to practitioners who continue to submit work of poor quality and revealed that it has plans to provide workshops for all practitioners in the province to assist in improving the rejection rate of submissions to the office. Ongoing projects at the Mpumalanga SG Office include the boundary alignment project between Mpumalanga and neighbouring provinces, as well as the scanning and archiving project which is continuing despite a serious shortage of scanners.

Ongoing SAGI liaison meetings have been held with the Pretoria, North-West and Limpopo SG Offices, and feedback indicates that the multimedia lodgement of survey records and documents is working very well.  Further feedback indicates that both parties are finding the  liaison meetings helpful.

The report from the SAGI Northern Provinces Chairperson Altus Strydom revealed that  the branch has been working hard towards it objective of communicating SAGI’s mission both within and outside the profession as well as dealing with its responsibility towards SAGI members and the public in general.  The branch has put together a pamphlet on cadastral  surveying, and has produced survey DVDs which have been distributed to educational institutions. Strydom outlined the proposed workshops for the upcoming year and  appealed to SAGI members to write articles which can be published on the SAGI website.

Following this a report from the Engineering Commission was submitted  which detailed that extensive meetings had been held with Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) and that SAGI will be holding a workshop on survey specifications for CESA members.  The report from the Cadastral Commission  revealed that education and the  quality of tuition are an ongoing concern with the shortage of senior lecturers, poor course content, financial constraints and mediocre students being the main stumbling blocks.

President of PLATO, Elbe van Rensburg, reported that it would be very unlikely that the new Geomatics Council would be established before May 2015 as nominations were still outstanding from the Department of Mineral Resources. She provided feedback on the work of the Education Advisory Committee (EAC) which is ongoing and reported on PLATO’s meeting with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) with regard to the Identification of Work issue which was referred to the Competition Commission. ECSA has subsequently agreed to include the fact that individuals registered with PLATO can carry out some of the identified work, and Van Rensburg reported that there will be ongoing meetings between PLATO and ECSA to address these areas of overlap.

In his report, SAGI President Peter Newmarch provided detailed feedback on his many activities on behalf of SAGI including matters relating to Act 70/70, work reservation by the Council for the Built Environment, Skills through SIPs, and the Human Settlements Tariff.  He emphasised that is  vital that surveyors work hard to protect and enhance their status as professionals to avoid being merely viewed as contractors.  This, he said, was especially important with regard to issues of professional work reservation. Over the years surveyors have lost areas of work, and the new Geomatics Act  has provided surveyors with an opportunity to regain ground and expand on their areas of work. With regard to UAVs/drones and the draft regulations, Newmarch stated that he was of the opinion that UAVs need to be strictly regulated, and encouraged members to attend the Geomatics Indaba 2015 UAV Airshow on 10 August 2015.

Representing the Chief Surveyor General, Siyabonga Mdubeki thanked SAGI for its ongoing work behind the scenes and encouraged participation in the liaison committee process with the various Surveyor General Offices.  He explained that Project Vulindlela aimed to modernise cadastre in South Africa and that the project is still supported within government. He  added that  the department has commissioned a re-scoping and planning exercise, and has also reorganised governance and structure with regard to the e-cadastre project. Mdubeki also provided details on the efforts by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) to build capacity in the Geomatics sector. The Geomatics profession has been recognised as a strategic skill required for strategic infrastructure projects, and the DRDLR is currently supporting 400 students via its bursary scheme to ensure that the demand for geomatics skills can be met. He also acknowledged SAGI’s role in supporting geomatics students by awarding prizes to surveying students at educational institutions around the country.

The meeting closed following a final presentation by  the SAGI Northern Provinces chairman on the need for South African surveyors to market themselves. Strydom stated that apathy, arrogance and tunnel vision had led to lost opportunities and that surveyors need to adapt to new technologies and the resulting opportunities that were opening up. New technologies are here to stay and the surveying profession must get involved, he concluded.

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