Monday, October 26, 2020

Engineers’ body to protect consumers from unsafe products

For the first time in the history of Botswana, statutory registration of engineers has commenced as a move to help regulate the profession.

This is in accordance with the Engineers Registration Act CAP 61:06 which stipulates that every practising engineer must be registered. The statutory registration is expected to open the engineering practise in Botswana to greater international recognition and respect as well as competitiveness.

Speaking at the official launch ceremony, Johnnie Swartz the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, said statutory registration of engineers would protect clients from unsafe engineering products and services.

“This will help align engineering practise in Botswana with international standards where engineering will be practised in a self regulated environment devoid of potential risk to truancy or professional misconduct,” said Swartz.

The formal initiative of establishing a regulatory body for the engineering profession dates back to 1998 when parliament passed the first engineers Registration Act.

“No country can develop economically without a strong and regulated engineering industry given that the larger percentage of national budgets is allocated for infrastructure development,” said Swartz.

He added that experience has taught them that the provision of sound and balanced infrastructure must be regulated.

The provisions of the act shall be strictly enforced to ensure that only registered persons shall be allowed to do engineering work and transgressors shall be dealt with in accordance with provisions of the law.

He called upon all registrants to commit to the lifelong continuing professional development in order to keep abreast with cutting edge developments in the profession.

Swartz encouraged the tertiary institutions that offer training in engineering programmes with a view of producing engineers who are eligible for registration.

Meanwhile engineers that harbour plans to manipulate the certificate for selfish ends have been warned that the law will descend upon them. Engineers are often commissioned to do work for clients that do not necessarily have any knowledge or experience in the engineering field.

The ERB registrar Armando Lionjanga said the body had its fair share of teething problems including budgetary constraints, non- availability of strategic plan which is a fundamental founding document, non availability of professional technical advice on setting up a regulatory body, inadequate capacity of technical staff.

The ERB requires all prospective registrants applying for the registration as a professional engineer to have appropriate qualifications, appropriate experience, passing professional assessment, good character and reputation as well as compliance with accepted ethical standards.

The fees structure which came into effect on the 6th of September 2013 requires every applicant to pay an Application fee or processing fee of P2500. First time registration fee is P1 500 and the annual practising certificate fee is P5000. The annual temporary registration fee for foreign specialist engineers is P20 000 and the reinstatement to the register fee is P2 500.
“By bringing in controls and enforcing high standards of ethics we will be taking the decisive step forward in controlling the scourge of corruption which is rapidly permeating the fabric of the construction sector and engineering industry,” Lionjanga said.
The ERB issued certificates to a cohort of three selected registrants in recognition of their contribution to the profession these are Samuel Tshipa Mothibatsela the first Motswana engineer, Thabo Moeti, Botsile Gubago.

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