Govt to clamp down on bogus engineers

Molefhi (left) with Permanent Secretary Dikagiso Mokotedi at the press briefing. PIC: TSELE TSEBETSAME
Molefhi (left) with Permanent Secretary Dikagiso Mokotedi at the press briefing. PIC: TSELE TSEBETSAME

The Engineers Registration Board (ERB), which regulates the engineering profession, plans to crack the whip on individuals who offer engineering services to the public without proper registration.

The Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Nonofo Molefhi warned at a press conference on Monday that the board would take action against any engineer who operates without a practicing certificate. Concerned about the constant costs overruns, late delivery and poor quality of public infrastructure projects, government decided to come up with a number of legal instruments, which are meant to regulate the construction industry.

These include the Engineers Registration Act, Architects Registration Act, and the Quantity Surveyors Registration Act. The government also approved the formation of the Contractors Registration Board and the Construction Industry Board.

According to the Engineers Registration Act, any engineer who operates without a practicing licence will be in contravention of the law and will be fined P15, 000. Also, any person, without an engineering certificate, who uses the prefix “Prof. Eng” (short for Professional Engineer) before their names will be liable to a penalty of P20, 000. 

Molefhi said government had increasingly come under sharp criticism from the public for its failure to deliver on some of the key public infrastructural projects intended to support the economy and other social needs.

“While government takes overall responsibility for all developments executed through public funds, it has to be emphasised that the government depends on the private sector for the delivery of infrastructure developments,” he said.

The minister also indicated that the poor delivery of infrastructural   projects was also a reflection on the performance of the construction industry in general, adding that this had been a source of concern to government given the contribution of the sector to the development of the country.

“It is now clear that the construction industry has operated in a vacuum without any regulatory mechanism to safeguard public interest against poor performing service providers and those with unethical conducts,” he said.

Molefhi further said this had contributed significantly to poor execution of government projects, stating that those employed to augment government capacity often required policing by government officials, which he said had been difficult to implement due to resource constraints. He also acknowledged that policing of service providers was not a normal practice, adding that it seemed as if service providers often failed to deliver if such mechanisms were not put in place.

Molefhi said this situation continued to negatively impact on the delivery of government infrastructure, to a point where all government projects were characterised by cost overruns, late delivery and poor quality. “The general public has also suffered from these effects which are motivated by selfish motives from some service providers,” he said.

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