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Daily News Reporter | 5 December 2023

Durban — The Construction Education and Training Authority (Ceta) and the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) are hosting the inaugural Built Environment Recognition Awards on Thursday evening at The Capital Zimbali Hotel in Durban, under the theme “Road to Professional Registration’’.

At least 200-300 persons representing various Built Environment Professions are expected to attend the awards.

Dr Msizi Myeza, the chief executive of CBE said the awards form part of the transformation agenda aimed at professionalisation, building a capable and ethical built environment sector. These awards will be held for the first time.

“The awards recognise outstanding achievements in engineering, architecture, urban planning, construction, and related fields. They promote innovative and sustainable practices in the built environment sector while showcasing exemplary projects and individuals as role models for future initiatives.

“They foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and networking among professionals in the industry and raise public awareness about the importance of the built environment and its impact on quality of life.”

He said the CBE represents roughly 100 000 members across six professional councils: 65 000 registered professionals and 35 000 candidates.

“There is also a huge number of trained built environment personnel who have transitioned to other sectors such as banking, insurance, real estate, asset management, etc.”

He said through ongoing human resource development, CBE has actively been on the road to promote professional registration in the built environment sector through impactful engagements with key stakeholders such as provincial and local government, industry players and various institutions of higher education and training such as the University of Johannesburg, UCT, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban University of Technology and TVET colleges. Collectively, the initiative has gained considerable traction.

“The benefit of the recognition awards is that they will serve as motivation to built environment candidates and professionals that professional registration is an additional safeguard against unsafe practices.

“Publicly, it demonstrates the practitioner’s ethical credentials and industry status (eg, Pr Eng, Pr Pln).”

Myeza said professional registration increases practitioners’ chances of being employed, locally as well as abroad.

“Professionalism builds confidence, promotes ethical conduct, and embodies as assurance that a person charged with the responsibility of driving public infrastructure is competent, among other credentials.”

He said professional registration in the built environment is the highest order that a person can be accorded as part of his or her professional journey.

“Besides, the monetary benefits that are accrued post obtaining a PR status, it enhances credibility to individuals within the sector. For example, as clients, employers, stakeholders and communities increasingly demand accountability and expertise when projects are implemented, having a recognised professional registered person becomes crucial. It not only instils confidence in clients that they are working with competent professionals but also helps employers in identifying and hiring the right talent for their projects.”

He said statistics recorded in the CBE Annual Report 2022/23 are telling that only 14% of registered professionals in South Africa are women. Furthermore, looking at racial demographics, the report noted that 62% of registered professionals are white, followed by 25% African males, 9% Indian and 4% coloured.

He said the picture becomes even bleaker when dissecting the slow progress or blockages in transforming the skills pipeline, where Africans and women are stuck as candidates due to a lack of employment opportunities and mentorship.

For example, 62% of candidates are African, followed by 24% white, 9% Indian and 5% coloured. Only 28% are women.

“It is glaringly obvious that 30 years into democracy, the built environment sector has not transformed and, therefore, by extension has not been professionalised. It is against this background that urgent interventions are required to ensure the built environment not only transforms its racial make-up but to that its representation is reflective of South Africa’s demography profile,” Myeza said.

In October 2022, the Cabinet approved the National Framework towards Professionalisation of the public sector. Key in the Framework was the call for professionalising the built environment profession, which has “unfortunately been engulfed by several unethical dilemmas, including corruption.”

The Council for the Built Environment, an overarching body and a developmental regulator of the built environment in South Africa has a legislative mandate to drive the transformation, professionalisation and skills development of the built environment together with various stakeholders, tertiary institutions, and the industry in line with CBE Act 43 of 2000.

He said Ceta has a mandate to embark on research initiatives, accredit training providers and employers, develop occupationally directed qualifications and offer bursary opportunities, and create access to skills development for rural and township-based communities in line with the NSDP 2030.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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