Nine municipalities in the Eastern Province do not have Technical Directors or City Engineers in their service.
This represents one fifth of the 45 municipalities in the province.
This problem is contrary to the government commitment to emphasise, prioritise, enhance and develop infrastructure delivery and to be a catalyst for growth of the real economy throughout the country this financial year.
Municipalities are unattractive work places for aspiring engineers.
Generally, engineers are not keen to work for municipalities due to working conditions and remuneration packages which are more attractive in the private sector.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be asking the MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, that his department do a thorough analyses of the engineering situation in our municipalities and whether the infrastructural plans for the next Medium Term Expenditure Framework-period (MTEF) can be undertaken with the current engineering strength in the Eastern Cape municipalities.
Included in this survey I wish to ascertain what steps have and are being taken to attract graduate and other professional engineers to municipalities.
The following municipalities are without engineering expertise: Nelson Mandela Metro, Cacadu District Municipality, Sundays River Valley, Blue Crane Route, Kouga, Ikwezi, Tsolwana, King Sabata Dalindyebo and Ntabankulu.
Kouga has appointed Danie Rautenbach as acting Director of Technical Services.
Furthermore, with severe problems with water supply and dysfunctional sanitation services in municipalities, the lack of adequate engineers is having a detrimental effect on the quality and efficiency of these and other related services.
This is a critical problem that needs immediate attention.
Failure to adequately address this shortage of engineers will have severe consequences for current and future economic growth, job creation and service delivery in the province for the foreseeable future.