'black people are edged out of field'

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Black people are being squeezed out of the engineering field by the Engineering Council of South Africa despite the dire skills shortage in the sector.

This was the claim made yesterday by an experienced civil engineer and the chairman of Rakau Civil and Building, Abram Rakau.

He said that the council deliberately delayed his registration as a qualified civil engineer by more than a year.

Rakau said: "A new body has to be formed that will be in line with our current political dispensation. We need a body whereby every engineer, across race and sex, would find it appealing to associate with it.

"I also would like to urge our government to please remove ECSA licences from being part of the requirement when engineers are asking for government positions or from engineering firms bidding for government contracts."

Rakau met the minister of science and technology, Mosibudi Mangena, yesterday to discuss his concerns about council. He said Mangena promised to look into the matter immediately.

Rakau said that he had applied to the council in 2006 after working for more than eight years in the field. When he called council offices this year to assess the state of his application, he was told that it was still being processed.

He said that staff members at council told him that private engineering companies were handling the registration process, and that they deliberately delayed the process because they felt threatened by the huge influx of black engineers.

The council's statistics verify that since 1994 white people have been granted more engineering certifications than all the other groups combined.