IMIESA January/February 2023

Page 1

IMESA The official magazine of the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa www. • SERVICE DELIVERY • ROADS • BUILDING • MAINTENANCE • ENERGY ISSN 0257 1978 Volume 48 No. 01 • January/February 2023 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) Municipal Focus Durban’s Transformative Riverine Management strategy unfolds Thinking outside the box GABION BASKETS Information & Communications Technology Talking about BIM to chatGPT Captains of Industry Building a capable construction sector Megapile “supporting a solid foundation” for over a decade INDUSTRY INSIGHT

PVC is the most effective and long term solution

PVC pressure piping production started in about 1935 and since then it has been through plenty of technical advancements which lead to PVC-O (Oriented Polyvinyl Chloride). Since the creation of PVC-O, it too has been through 5 improve ments over the last 40 years. Blue PVC-U (Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride), PVC-M (Modified Polyvinyl Chloride) and PVC-O (Oriented Polyvinyl Chloride) pressure pipes lead the potable (drinkable) water supply and reticulation market.

Celebrating its 17th anniversary in June 2023, Gabion Baskets has grown its base as a specialist manufacturer and solutions provider of gabion systems to become a market leader in South Africa, alongside steady export penetration into Africa. IMIESA speaks to managing director Louis Cheyne about this amazing success story, founded on a track record for innovation. P6


A consistent top performer in the highly competitive geotechnical engineering contracting field, Megapile is renowned for its fit-for-purpose piling and lateral support solutions. John Oliver, director and owner of Megapile, talks to IMIESA about the success factors and the culture that drive the business. P12

INSIDE VOLUME 48 NO. 01 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2023 IMESA The official magazine of the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa www. Municipal Focus Durban’s Transformative Riverine Management strategy unfolds Thinking outside the box GABION BASKETS Information & Communications Technology Talking about BIM to chatGPT Captains of Industry Building a capable construction sector Mega Pile “supporting solid foundation” for over a decade INDUSTRY INSIGHT ON THE COVER Regulars Editor’s comment 3 President’s comment 5 Index to advertisers 52 Cover Story Gabion Baskets expands the boundaries of environmental engineering 6 Africa Round-up News from around the continent 10 Industry Insight Megapile’s solid foundation is built on reliability and integrity 12 Captains of Industry Building a capable construction sector requires a uniform approach 16 Automation helps map out safer, well-maintained routes 19 Collaborating for change 21 Asset Management & Finance The legacy of municipal capex 22 Asset management forum proposed for iLembe district 24 Housing Vital project delivers new homes for informal settlement families 25 Building Information Modelling Talking about BIM to chatGPT – getting the perspective from AI 26 Water & Wastewater Catch the rain 29 From load-shedding to water-shedding: mitigating the challenges 30 Using data to fix SA’s water challenges 31 Sustainable water resource management calls for smart solutions 32 32 36 WATER & WASTEWATER BITUMEN & ASPHALT CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY 16 12 Recording accurate hydrostatic measurements 34 Training SARF funds to upskill women civil engineers at metros 35 Bitumen & Asphalt A holistic solution under one brand 36 eThekwini Durban’s Transformative Riverine Management strategy unfolds 38 Route upgrades mark the start of Shongweni catalytic project 41 MABR in action 42 Plastic litter on KZN beaches signs of a wider problem 44 Geotechnical & Environmental Engineering Gabion stream diversion enables ash dump extension 45 Cement & Concrete Refurbishment of silo complex sets new benchmark 46 Cement leader champions slag to reduce clinker factor 47 Methods and sealing materials for effective concrete curing 48 Precast solutions for stormwater and sanitation 49 Vehicles & Equipment Lintec & Linnhoff’s Malaysian factory now shipping globally 51 Pumps & Valves KSB shares technical insights with municipalities 52



is a high quality cement, specifically engineered and designed to reduce plasticity and enhance the strength and stability of road-based materials. In your hands, our advanced formulation ensures your effort is time well-spent. Together, we make it possible. Ask for AfriSam. Creating Concrete Possibilities



JOURNALIST Nombulelo Manyana


HEAD OF DESIGN Beren Bauermeister

DESIGNER Lizette Jonker

CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Tristan Snijders

CONTRIBUTORS Burgert Gildenhuys, Richard Matchett, Chetan Mistry, Sibusiso Mjwara, Bryan Perrie, Gunter Rencken, Geoff Tooley


Antois-Leigh Nepgen


BOOKKEEPER Tonya Hebenton






Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 / +27 (0)82 346 5338


PUBLISHER Jacques Breytenbach

3S Media

Production Park, 83 Heidelberg Road, City Deep Johannesburg South, 2136

PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117

Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600


ISSN 0257 1978 IMIESA, Inst.MUNIC. ENG. S. AFR.

© Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.



Manager: Ingrid Botton

P.O. Box 2190, Westville, 3630

Tel: +27 (0)31 266 3263




Secretary: Celeste Vosloo

Tel: +27 (0)43 705 2433



Secretary: Susan Canestra

Tel: +27 (0)41 585 4142 ext. 7



Secretary: Narisha Sogan

Tel: +27 (0)31 266 3263



Secretary: Ollah Mthembu

Tel: +27 (0)82 823 7104



Secretary: Henrietta Olivier

Tel: +27 (0)79 390 7536



Secretary: Michelle Ackerman

Tel: +27 (0)21 444 7114



Secretary: Wilma Van Der Walt

Tel: +27 (0)83 457 4362


All material herein IMIESA is copyright protected and may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher. The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa or the publishers.

Novus Holdings is a Level 2 BBBEE Contributor:

Post-1994, South Africa’s democracy has been a work in progress, with significant gains achieved to enable personal freedom and expression. We’ve also seen how the country successfully came together for the FIFA 2010 World Cup build programme, and the hosting of this premier event. There have also been notable gains in essential areas like housing, roads, water and sanitation. However, issues such as the failure of stateowned enterprises have been creeping up on us for decades and have hit home hard with the severity of the Eskom-led power crisis. Extended power outages have put a major brake on economic recovery, costing the country an estimated R1 billion a day and impacting on GDP performance – revised downwards to a projected 0.3% for 2023.

National State of Disaster

For this reason, it wasn’t surprising that a major portion of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s February 2023 State of the Nation Address concentrated on measures to fix Eskom, including ways to tackle its estimated R400 billion debt burden. Such is the urgency that a National State of Disaster has been declared, which is unprecedented in the power sector. A Minister of Electricity will also be appointed to lead the electricity crisis response.

There are also plans to table an Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill during 2023 with a view to nurturing a competitive electricity market. In the meantime, there are already a series of independent power producer (IPP) projects in the construction pipeline to supplement electricity shortfalls over the next 24 months.

Adding a further boost is the R1.5 trillion Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, which will spur growth into new markets such as green hydrogen and electric vehicles.

Empowering the private sector

Despite the challenges, the private sector remains firmly committed to the country’s future. This has


been underscored time and again at the annual South Africa Investment Conferences. In 2022 alone, for example, some R367 billion was committed.

However, the private sector is far more than a strategic investment partner. In fact, the ability to implement most government programmes (aside from donor funding) is interdependent on the tax streams driven by a healthy macroand micro-economy.

For this reason, government should embrace the private sector as an equal and integral policy implementation partner. This is the winning formula that drives the world’s top performing countries that include the G7 – all major investors in South Africa.

Team SA

When Team SA comes together, there’s a win-win for everyone. A prime example is the award-winning Waterfall City mixed-use precinct in Gauteng, which when completed will accommodate some 28 000 residential units, as well as 2.5 million m2 of commercial and office space.

In its current stage of development, Waterfall City already contributes over R700 million annually in rates and taxes to the City of Johannesburg. And this is expected to exceed R1.5 billion per annum when all phases are completed.

These catalytic developments strengthen public and private sector synergies. They also serve as a working model for future IPP rollouts, and related ‘shovelready’ projects driven by the SA Infrastructure Fund.

Cover opportunity

IMIESA January/February 2023 3 Alastair EDITOR’S COMMENT To our avid readers, check out what we are talking about on our website, Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and have your say.
In each issue, IMIESA offers advertisers the opportunity to get to the front of the line by placing a company, product or service on the front cover of the journal. Buying this position will afford the advertiser the cover story and maximum exposure. For more information on cover bookings, contact Joanne Lawrie on +27 (0)82 346 5338. Infrastructure News @infrastructure4 S IMESA Municipal Focus Durban’s Transformative Riverine Management strategy unfolds Thinking outside the box GABION BASKETS Information & Communications Technology Talking about BIM to chatGPT Captains of Industry Building a capable construction sector Mega Pile for over decade INDUSTRY INSIGHT The ABC logo is a valued stamp of measurement and trust. IMIESA is ABC audited and certified.
Let’s find common ground and
t: +27 (031)266 3263 e: IMESA ORGANISER THE INSTITUTE OF MUNICIPAL ENGINEERING OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (IMESA) CONFERENCE ENDORSED BY CONTACT US FOR DETAILS Earn up to 2.5 CPD points by attending 25-27 October 2023 Save the date 86 TH IMESA Conference BOARDWALK HOTEL Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth)


As this is our first edition for 2023, I’d like to start by extending a warm welcome to our IMESA members, readers and built environment professionals at large in the public and private arena. Let’s hope 2023 puts us on a solid path of continuous improvement in all areas of our country, with a major focus on infrastructure investment.

Within this context, one of the most pressing challenges is a permanent solution to load-shedding. Last year, we had a record number of power outages, with Stage 6 (the shedding of some 6 000 MW from the national grid) a regular occurrence that extended through to the first weeks of January 2023.

It’s a stark reminder of how essential electricity is for the smooth running of a healthy society and economy. Every time the lights go out, there’s a ripple effect across the infrastructure chain that has a direct impact on municipal service delivery, with ensuing consequences for private and commercial consumers.

Interrupted water and sanitation services

Traffic lights stop working, which of course is a major frustration, on top of the potential accidents, as well as supply chain and general socio-economic disruptions. However, there are even more concerning underlying threats to our essential water and wastewater systems.

While gravity plays a key role, at some stage in a potable water network pump stations need to kick in but can’t when the power’s out. Assuming the potable treatment plant is still functioning optimally, there’s also the risk that reservoir levels fall below their minimum standby capacity, leading to water restrictions or, even worse, dry taps for extended periods.

The same scenario applies for sanitation. When a power outage occurs, sewage doesn’t reach wastewater treatment plants at their designed flow capacity. Under these circumstances, sewage that does reach the plant will need to be treated using a standby diesel generator (running at an exorbitant and unsustainable cost) in the absence of an alternative renewable energy facility (e.g. a methane powered gas turbine, or solar setup).

Either way, when sanitation systems do become overwhelmed – due to power outages and/or sewer line blockages (at times caused by illegal dumping via manholes) – there’s a major risk of downstream environmental impacts. Recent examples include raw sewage running across Durban and Cape Town beaches on its way to the sea.

Independent power producers

As we speak, the energy crisis within Eskom is being addressed at the highest levels of government, with an allied focus on rapidly expanding the smaller-scale independent power producer (IPP) market.

With the previous 100 MW threshold removed (and now unlimited), there’s no longer a barrier to entry for aspiring and qualifying IPPs. They are a logical step in mitigating electricity supply risks. IPPs,

employing renewable energy, also help South Africa meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in terms of the Just Energy Transition away from coal.

Towns and cities across South Africa are now leading the way with varying degrees of IPP project implementation. Hopefully, we’ll soon start to see more critical infrastructure like treatment plants, street lighting, and ICT networks running independently on green power over the long term, rather than as standby backup solutions.

Why asset management is so crucial

We know that breakdowns caused by ageing infrastructure are one of the official factors for load-shedding. However, there are other widespread service delivery failures that cannot be blamed on power outages. Obvious ones include potholed roads, non-revenue water losses, inadequate stormwater management and flood mitigation protocols.

The critical starting point is an up-to-date asset management register. This must provide an accurate picture of the present status of all municipal assets, with adequate budget provision made for predictive and preventative maintenance. The process should start with a fit-for-purpose design that maximises the return on investment over an asset’s lifespan. However, many municipalities are still not following the correct process at present, and this needs to be addressed.

Making change happen

As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s a work in progress and, during 2023, IMESA will continue its quest to tackle the burning issues that hamper effective municipal service delivery, working with public and private sector stakeholders. Together, we need to walk the path towards a sustainable future built on climate-resilient infrastructure.

Sibusiso Mjwara, PrTechEng, MIMESA, MSAICE, MWISA, MIPET

Thinking outside the box GABION BASKETS EXPANDS THE BOUNDARIES of environmental engineering

An ancient technique perfected over the centuries for civil engineering works and military applications, the simple gabion has come a long way. Essentially rock-filled baskets, each assembled in either square, rectangular or other geometrical shapes, they come together to form an interconnected system. Typical applications include mass gravity embankment stabilisation, flood control and riverbank protection.

“Early renditions dating back to the Middle Ages show that a form of gabions was used for fortification works using wickerwork as the frame. From the late 19th century, the modern age has reinterpreted this with the use of advanced wire systems designed to optimise strength and maximise longevity in environmentally engineered applications,” Cheyne explains.

Engineering versus architecture

Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Johannesburg, Gabion Baskets provides holistic solutions in the multifaceted field of gabion systems. This capability encompasses manufacturing, design service recommendations, on-site installation training, project and programme management, and product development in distinct fields that encompass civil and environmental engineering, and architecture.

The key distinction between the two fields is the application environment, which has a direct bearing on the wire systems employed. For engineering works, such as bridge abutment protection, mass gravity retaining walls, weirs and river works, the standard specification internationally is the employment of Class A galvanised double-twisted hexagonal mesh wire, with or without a PVC/PE coating. This is used to form box gabion, gabion mattress and allied products such as sausage gabions. Rock-filled gabions typically have an approximately 30-35%

void ratio that enables a degree of permeability and inherent flexibility.

In turn, architectural applications – which include building cladding, landscaping, freestanding feature walls and interior design elements – employ square welded mesh panel systems, which are supplied in a standard 3 mm or 4 mm diameter Class A wire specification.

Among its distinctive features are the precise tolerances that can be achieved, with perfectly flat faces. “However, architectural trends we’ve seen in Europe include the extensive use of curved welded panel extensions and bending of mesh at corners to follow structural contours or where joining is necessary,” says Cheyne.

Welded mesh, while robust, is not intended for engineered roles, being too rigid in terms of composition. This compares to hexagonal woven wire mesh systems, which have exceptionally high tensile strength and are purpose-designed for flexibility. Flexibility is especially vital in submerged riverine environments where gabion systems need to cope with varying water velocity, as well as scenarios like debris impact, pollution and abrasion. Here, a welded mesh structure would fail prematurely.

“It’s never a one-size-fits-all solution. Every site has its unique design requirements based on factors like the underlying geology and hydrology,” Cheyne continues.

“You must factor in the chain reaction (cause and effect) and take a systems approach. For example, a stormwater management intervention must take into account impacts on neighbouring properties, communities and structures. Without due consideration, you might fix the problem in one spot, but exacerbate it by

6 IMIESA January/February 2023 COVER STORY
Celebrating its 17th anniversary in June 2023, Gabion Baskets has grown its base as a specialist manufacturer and solutions provider of gabion systems to become a market leader in South Africa, alongside steady export penetration into Africa.
IMIESA speaks to managing director Louis Cheyne about this amazing success story, founded on a track record for innovation.
Embankment protection: 1.5 m river wall section


Colonnades residential development, Gauteng Severe erosion on a stream section – caused by flood damage and upstream stormwater surges –threatened to undermine sections of the Colonnades residential development’s boundary walls. Gabion river wall protection works were constructed as a remediation measure, together with a weir further downstream to reduce water velocities. The works were completed in three phases, with Gabion Baskets providing design recommendations, installation training and product supply.

Phase 3: Weir construction at an advanced stage of completion Phase 1: The river wall at an advanced stage of construction. The stepped-back gabion baskets rest on a gabion mattress foundation, under which is a geotextile liner Phase 2 – After: Gabion mattress channel works completed Phase 2 – Before: Downstream of the river wall constructed in Phase 1 prior to the installation of gabion mattresses to channel water flows Phase 1: Excavation works completed in preparation for the installation of the gabion river wall. The grating section is an existing stormwater outlet Phase 3: A 3D rendering produced by Gabion Baskets showing the downstream weir forming part of the integrated river erosion works


Assagay Road, Durban

The severity of the storms that hit the eThekwini region during 2022 caused extensive landslides. A case in point is a property in Hillcrest, KwaZuluNatal, where a major embankment slope collapse swept away a section of private road linking a residential dwelling.

Working with the client’s consulting engineer, Gabion Baskets’ Durban office supplied design recommendations, project management and materials for the construction of an approximately 9 m high-mass gravity retaining wall. The intricate works included the incorporation of PVC pipes for stormwater drainage, as well as to minimise the risk of hydraulic pressure build-up behind the wall.

The wall incorporates specialist reinforced soil tie-backs using Gabion Baskets' Gab-tail product. The latter is a standard rock-filled gabion basket with a mesh tail extended horizontally back into the backfilled embankment.


Before: Site preparation on the severely eroded embankment, with the the downstream end as part of a sustainable urban drainage system

Free-standing wall: Fairbridge Mall, Brackenfell, Cape Town

Gabion Baskets’ Cape Town branch was approached by Isipani Construction to assist in the design of a welcoming wall at the Fairbridge Mall. The final design entailed the use of 50/50 mm aperture 3.15 mm welded mesh wire gabion panels, with charcoalcoloured selected rock chosen as the fill material. Internal steel support columns add structural integrity to the 1 m wide, integrated wall sections

8 IMIESA January/February 2023 COVER STORY
Stormwater outlet and culvert at the base of the completed gabion wall Gabion mattress section installed to reduce stormwater velocities on the downstream end as part of a sustainable urban drainage system After: A section of the completed wall A welded mesh gabion serving counter designed for a Checkers Outdoor store

increasing downstream flows and the potential for flood damage on adjoining properties.”

Product research and development

Gabion Baskets constantly researches market trends locally and internationally to see where it can further refine its product offering to optimise performance and durability.

In this respect, during Q1 2023, Gabion Baskets will be making the shift from PVC to polyethylene (PE) coatings on its wire mesh products. These new wire coatings will be supplied by a Gabion Baskets Group company that is also responsible for the in-house production of its wire and welded mesh lines.

PVC wire coatings are employed globally as an extra layer of protection in highly corrosive applications that include marine projects, such as tidal erosion countermeasures, beach protection and rivers.

“PVC performs this job admirably, and can be offered in a range of colours, like tan and grey, to add an aesthetic effect. We’re now taking this level of protection a step further with the introduction of a PE coating. Latter benefits include greater resistance to cracking and hardening over time,” Cheyne explains.

From Q3 2023, Gabion Baskets will also be supplying the market with the option of Galfancoated wire produced via its group company, as part of a local content strategy. Galfan wire features a special zinc-aluminium alloy coating that provides greater corrosion resistance.

Another parallel development is the introduction of Gabion Baskets’ Associated Product Line to support SMME contractors. Examples include hog ring guns, hog ring clips, PPE and wheelbarrows.

“Wheelbarrows are one of those basic, universal items on-site. However, our research showed that standard versions tended to be

unsuitable for gabion works. Our version has a more robust and balanced design well suited for transporting rocks. Key features include longer guide handles for better leverage and control, and a larger front wheel to cope with varied terrain,” says Cheyne.

Factory modernisation

To keep pace with increasing production volumes at its Johannesburg factory, Gabion Baskets has invested in high levels of mechanisation to streamline fabrication processes, along with ongoing skills development programmes.

In the factory, traditional steel wire lacing of gabion panels has now been replaced by the use of pneumatic hog ring gun clips that speed up the manufacturing process and achieve a neater finish. The same technique is now also being used on-site for gabion basket and mattress assembly, thus achieving a much stronger panel-to-panel and basket-to-basket connection.

“We now have dedicated production lines for woven mesh and welded mesh, respectively, each housed in their own dedicated buildings at our Johannesburg facility,” Cheyne explains. “This enables us to produce standard or custom products separately without affecting our main and common lines.”

African growth markets

Major growth across South Africa on key projects runs in parallel with export market opportunities within Southern Africa, as well as further afield on the continent.

Recent orders within the SADC region include two riverbank reinstatement and erosion protection projects for private properties bordering the Zambezi River in Zambia. These comprise the Musango Project, where a 300 m wall was constructed and completed in February 2022; and the Lolebezi Project,

entailing the installation of a 500 m wall, which is currently ongoing. In both instances, Gabion Baskets provided design recommendations, on-site training, and PVC coated woven mesh river embankment systems.

Gabion Baskets is also receiving a growing number of enquiries from South African contractors working across Africa. Alongside this are orders from governmental clients that include the Botswana Defense Force, where some 500 gabion barriers were manufactured and supplied for its African Union mission in northern Mozambique. The product is similar to the European Hesco bastion.

These barriers are simple to assemble. Essentially, they are made up of interconnected fabric-lined welded mesh wire cages that can be filled quickly with any in situ material, like soil and rock. The concept borrows from the military fortification concept of old but takes it to a new level for ballistic protection. Another plus is that these barriers can also be rapidly deployed as flood mitigation measures.

The quest for excellence

“Our success to date has been based on our people. They truly are our biggest asset. It’s the engine room that drives us to innovate and add value by constantly refining our products and processes,” adds Cheyne.

“Given the environmental priorities, there’s huge demand for wire mesh systems, particularly in rivers. In parallel, our architectural clients are increasingly opting for welded mesh for interior and exterior design elements that harness the natural beauty of stone. By thinking out of the box, we continue to lead the market with fit-forpurpose solutions, in the process creating many opportunities for labour-intensive works on sites,” Cheyne concludes.

IMIESA January/February 2023 9
LANDSCAPING Terrace walls formed using welded mesh gabion baskets BARRIER SYSTEM Assembly in progress on a gabion barrier system ZAMBIA Extensive erosion along the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia required the construction of a gabion mass gravity retaining wall resting on a mattress foundation. The mattress is designed to extend out into the river to minimise the potential for scouring and undermining of the new structure. To build the mattress foundations, temporary steel plates were installed, secured to anchored floating platforms. The first step was to install a wire fence perimeter to keep the crocodiles at bay


Radioactive waste management project

The West African country has collaborated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to dispose of sealed radioactive sources. Under this Canadian-funded project, Ghana will receive technological and technical support for the construction of radioactive waste management facilities.


Disposal is the final phase for sealed radioactive sources when they have reached their end of life and are declared radioactive waste. However, disposal is not an easy task, because selecting the type of disposal facility depends on multiple factors, such as the type and quantity of radioactive waste; the existing and future environmental, geological, seismic and climate conditions; and available funds.

Energy crisis as Kariba Lake levels at 2% capacity

With a reservoir capacity of 180 600 hm3, the Kariba dam is the world's largest man-made dam that generates hydropower for millions of people in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The dam, finished in 1960, is on the Zambezi River, Southern Africa’s longest transboundary river.

As at mid-January, the dam's depleted levels will bring about drastic power cuts in both countries. Zambia and Zimbabwe both have their own power station on the north and south bank of the dam, with a generating capacity of 1 050 MW and 1 080 MW respectively, but both nations have seen their generating capacity reduced to less than 400 MW because of low reservoir levels.

Zesco, Zambia’s national power utility, announced that the limitation would affect its the ability to meet the system load/customer power demand, especially during morning and evening peak demand periods. It also said power outages would increase from 6 to 12 hours daily, although outages would be staggered into six-hour intervals to provide customers with some relief.

Zimbabwe is already facing 19 hours of load-shedding daily, with devastating effects on all aspects of life in the country. According to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Kariba generates almost half of its power needs, which is why a reduction in its generation capacity immediately impacts on the economy.

Climate change has led to increased temperatures and lower precipitation in Southern Africa; on the other hand, the dam is badly in need of repair as the bedrock on which it was built has been eroded by routine operations, raising fears of a dam wall collapse. Both countries’ huge sovereign debts hinder their ability to pay for dam repairs and build the capacity to adapt to climate change.

For countries like Ghana, with limited amounts of radioactive waste, disposal could simply involve safe, secure and permanent placement inside boreholes, deep underground.The advantage of this system is that it allows for permanent disposal of the waste, rather than a storage solution.

The completion of an approved radioactive waste disposal facility in Ghana will enhance the human and technical capacity for the country’s nuclear power programme, which will enable the development of a nuclear power plant to meet the growing demand for electricity.

10 IMIESA January/February 2023


Ambitions to become a high-income country by 2030

The African Development Bank (AfDB) aims to promote private sector development to foster and build a more productive, sustainable, inclusive and resilient Mauritian economy. This will be done by further unlocking the country’s full potential in agriculture, ICT, finance, and the blue economy to move up the value chain.

Through supporting key economic, regulatory and institutional reforms, there will be a reduction in operational costs and this will create a more attractive environment for private investment.

Helping to eliminate bottlenecks that increase production costs and hinder companies’ competitiveness is another priority area for AfDB. The focus will be on infrastructure development, especially in the energy, water and transport sectors.

AfDB will support the strategic development and upgrading of costeffective infrastructure to increase Mauritius’ regional and international connectivity and competitiveness. Support to the energy sector will focus on transforming the country’s energy mix to facilitate its transition to green energy and implementing the national Renewable Energy Roadmap 2030.

The financier will consider climate change resilience in infrastructure projects to enhance sustainability and assist the country in mitigating hydrometeorological impacts on infrastructure.

As at 30 September 2022, AfDB’s active portfolio in Mauritius consisted of five operations, with a budget of US$262.29 million (R4.569 billion).


Nine wastewater pumping stations for Fayoum Rowad Modern Engineering (RME) was awarded a US$12.2 million (R212 million) contract by Fayoum Water and Wastewater Company for sewerage networks and pumping stations in the Abu Shanab and Alagamein clusters at the new Qahafa wastewater treatment plant. Furthermore, a sewer network of approximately 53 km will be built, along with 17 km of forced mains.

The contract forms part of the Fayoum Wastewater Expansion Programme funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Fayoum Water and Wastewater Company estimates that the future facilities will have a capacity of 14 589 m3 of wastewater per day. The effluent is treated at the Qahafa wastewater treatment plant, inaugurated in 2010, which has a capacity of 60 000 m3/day.

The project will serve a population of 30 000 and the time for completion will be 18 months. It will contribute to reducing the pollution of Lake Qarun – the third largest freshwater lake in Egypt.


Extension works on Gombe drinking water system begin

The project, which is now entering its implementation phase, involves the extension of services and the construction of removal stations in the special development zone of the Gombe State capital, in Tunfure and Tashan Aduwa, along the Bauchi Road in the north-eastern parts of the country. It will also build a mini water system in Tabra, rehabilitate old water systems, and lay about 160 km of pipes for water distribution in the city.

At least 100 new isolation valves will be installed in the process and the 100 existing valves will be rehabilitated.

Jidadu Venture is carrying out the work, which includes upgrading the Wuro Juli water supply system in Gombe and installing 2 000 smart meters and 250 water meters at a cost of U$25.5 million (R444 million), with work expected to be complete by 2025. The Federal Government of Nigeria is supplying 30% of the funding, with Gombe State Government providing 70%.

In addition to securing access to drinking water in Gombe (with a population of 551 000), the challenge is to improve hygiene and sanitation services in this Nigerian state, particularly through handwashing. According to the World Bank, about 60 million Nigerians live without access to basic drinking water services, 80 million without access to improved sanitation facilities, and 167 million without access to a basic handwashing facility.

IMIESA January/February 2023 11

RELIABILITY AND INTEGRITY Megapile’s solid foundation is built on

Celebrating a decade of excellence in July 2022, Megapile has established a strong presence within the Durban and broader KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) region, with allied penetration nationally. In addition to the core business as a geotechnical contractor, backed by a very comprehensive plant fleet, the company also provides its services on a full design and construct basis, as well as geotechnical soil investigation.

It operates in a highly specialised market with a vision of being the most efficient piling company in the Southern African region, and none of that is possible without a highly committed and competent team. Its management team has more than 100 years of combined experience in the piling and geotechnical field, and they are supported by a very talented in-field production team.

From inception, Megapile’s policy has been to develop personnel in-house as they come through the ranks and most of the company’s foremen and plant operators started with baseline skills, some as general workers. Personnel at all levels are encouraged and

supported with ongoing training to reach their full potential in terms of technological applications and trades. As a result, they are very confident in their abilities.

At more senior levels, the company is currently developing young tertiary graduates to become future contracts managers, with an allied mentorship programme in place to grow its pool of professionally registered engineers. The latter interact with Megapile’s dedicated external panel of specialist consulting engineers.

Megapile’s operating philosophy is to enable a value engineered result. The optimal approach is to work with the client at the concept phase to explore the best foundation solution. From there, detailed budgets are provided for the confirmed design and build stages, which ultimately results in the delivery and installation of the most efficient geotechnical solution.

The ‘Engine Room’

The company has never accepted mediocrity and the results speak for themselves. Megapile is collectively known as the ‘Mega Team’ in all that it achieves, and this ability is driven by its ‘Engine Room’. This is an exceptional group that drives performance, quality, safety and

company culture, which is one of Megapile’s greatest differentiators in the industry. This has created a unique identity that has enabled the company to weather the cyclical nature of the construction industry, especially during the Covid-19 era, and to continue performing at a high level.

Management ensures to always give the necessary recognition for exceptional performance and for any positive feedback that it receives from clients. The company aims to ensure that it is the preferred geotechnical contractor in the eyes of its current and future clients, and believes that the service it provides on its contracts is what makes that a reality.

Milestone projects

Megapile’s track record for excellence has enabled the company to secure varied and complex work within the commercial, industrial, residential and infrastructure segments.

Within its home market, this has led to Megapile securing the bulk of the piling contracts within eThekwini’s prestigious Umhlanga Ridge precinct, the Umhlanga New Town Centre, and the Umhlanga Village.

12 IMIESA January/February 2023
A consistent top performer in the highly competitive geotechnical engineering contracting field, Megapile is renowned for its fit-for-purpose piling and lateral support solutions. John Oliver, director and owner of Megapile, talks to IMIESA about the success factors and the culture that drive the business.
The Redstone 100 MW Solar Thermal Power Project, situated east of Postmasburg, Northern Cape

Prime examples here include the new Oceans Development, Gateway Extension, Liberty Office, FNB Head Office, Gateway Hospital, Herwood Sky, Coastland Hotel, Protea Hotel, Town Lodge, ABSA Head Office, Park Square, CCI Offices, Premier Hotel, and The Skye.

Numerous more allied work in the greater Durban area includes the Westway Mall, Midway Mall, Galleria Shopping Centre, MSC Cold Storage Warehouse, Ballito Hills, Izinga Echo Estate, Sibaya Precinct, and Gold Coast Estate.

Alongside this are a range of infrastructure projects that include work on Go!Durban Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) phases; and the Seaward Road Bridge crossing the Umhlatuzana River in Durban, which was a 2022 Fulton Awards Winner in the ‘Infrastructure less than R100 million’ category. The bridge underwent a partial collapse during heavy flooding in April 2019, requiring the emergency rehabilitation of the east abutment.

Further afield, Megapile completed a complex piling job for the Redstone 100 MW Solar Thermal Power Project, situated east of Postmasburg, Northern Cape. Megapile’s scope of work entailed the installation of 11 No. 900mm diameter load test piles and 120 no. 900 mm diameter foundation piles. The latter are designed to support the 250 m solar tower, believed to be the second highest concrete structure built to date in South Africa.

Odex installation on Umhlatuzana River Bridge

A key feature of the geotechnical element on the Umhlatuzana River Bridge project was the installation of Odex piling, which requires specific technical knowledge and machinery.

In total, 39 no. 508 mm diameter Odex piles were installed. A percentage of the piles were at a 1:8 rake.

Odex piles are the preferred route for bridge piling in rivers where the underlying riverbed geology is composed of collapsible sands, clays and boulders. To provide the necessary foundation for the bridge piers, the piles must be socketed into medium to hard bedrock. However, drilling through the soil/boulder layers to get there poses the risk of collapse. Odex overcomes this challenge with its percussion setup, which employs a 508 mm diameter percussion hammer.

The process is known as an overburden system, where the hammer drags a permanent casing down with it. The hammer has special wings that extend outwards on the way down to create the opening for the casing. Then, on extraction, the wings fold in to allow the hammer to be withdrawn. You’re left with a casing socketed into rock. Once flushed out, you insert the steel reinforcing cage, followed by concrete placement and the pile is cast.

Mechanisation upgrades for secant and sheet piling

Optimal piling results can only be achieved by employing best-in-class mechanisation techniques. For this reason, Megapile invests in world-leading equipment brands to fully maximise capabilities.

A case in point is Megapile’s Bauer RG 22. It has historically been one of the company’s primary CFA piling rigs. However, the machine is designed for a far wider range of tasks, and Megapile recently decided to commission additional features to support its growth into the secant piling and sheet piling segments. Secant piles are ideal for forming watertight cut-off

walls, employing overlapping non-reinforced and reinforced piles. In turn, sheet piles, designed to interlock, are intended for applications that include deep trench stabilisation for pipelines, and erosion protection structures.

Megapile’s Bauer RG 22 has many unique features. These include five primary hydraulic pumps; a 22 m long mast; a double rotary drilling head; and a telescopic slide and swivel facility on the mast, allowing it to install conventional auger piles, CFA piles, and cased auger piles for secant piled walls, and drive sheet piles.

The company completed its first secant piled contract in Prospecton, south of Durban, in December 2022, installing 147 no. 500 mm diameter piles for a stormwater protection wall.

The RG 22’s double rotary head allows the installation of a casing rotating in one direction for cutting, with an internal auger rotating in the other direction for cleaning the inside of the casing to install the secant piles within the required tolerance.

Megapile is also currently in the process of commissioning the machine’s sheet pile capability. The rig is perfectly suited for this task thanks to its 22 m long mast, which allows for the installation of any length of sheet on a fixed guide.

BRT work

Megapile’s scope of works on Go!Durban’s BRT Route C1A in Newlands was extensive. The geotechnical programme commenced in 2020 with a 185 m long permanent lateral support wall. This was designed as a cantilever contiguous piled wall ranging in height from 1.5 m to 7.5 m. It required the installation of 217 piles ranging from 400 mm to 750 mm in diameter drilled into medium hard shales with a flush shotcrete finish, with associated bulk earthworks.

Additional works followed in 2021 with lateral support to all cut faces on the route, as well as further bulk earthworks, gabions, channels and drainage. This entailed the construction of another contiguous piled wall with 67 no. 600 mm diameter piles, 134 rock bolts, capping beam and 486 m2 flush shotcrete. Lateral support elements comprised the installation of 960 rock bolts, 3 840 m2 of shotcrete and the reshaping of existing cut faces up to 9 m high.

Drilling on faces up to 3 m was undertaken with Megapile’s Furukawa HCR 1200, Casagrande C6 and Comacchio MC 600 rigs, while all faces from 3 m up to 9 m in height were drilled using the company’s two drilling platforms, which are designed to be suspended from mobile cranes.

IMIESA January/February 2023 13 INDUSTRY INSIGHT
The ‘Engine Room’ – the Megapile Production Team. Back (L-R): Wilson Senyolo, Alex Ndlazi, Sandile Senti, Shaun Behr, Girly Magwaza and Michael Mthembu. Front (L-R): Samson Khumalo, George Gumede, Sthembiso Ndlovu, Xolani Dlomo and Njabulo Mthethwa

Outlook for 2023

The projects mentioned serve as examples of the solutions Megapile has delivered on a range of multifaceted contracts over the years. Securing this work has been founded on a reputation for innovation and excellence.

Going forward, the company will continue to take a two-pronged approach to the market in terms of private and public sector work. On the infrastructure front, potential opportunities include Sanral projects on the N2 and N3 in KZN, and repairs to damaged infrastructure caused by the 2022 floods in the province.

In parallel, the company sees excellent scope for new work flowing from infrastructure investments across KZN, residential development north of Durban, as well as industrial and renewable energy projects on a national level. And Megapile is exceptionally well equipped to deliver thanks to its ‘Mega Team’.

IMIESA January/February 2023 15 INDUSTRY INSIGHT
The Skye Umhlanga. Megapile’s scope entailed foundation piling, lateral support and earthworks. Some 940 building piles were installed in diameters varying between 500 mm and 900 mm Installation of secant piles in Prospecton to form a stormwater protection wall BELOW The Seaward Road Bridge crossing the Umhlatuzana River in Durban underwent a partial collapse during heavy flooding in April 2019. This required the emergency rehabilitation of the east abutment. To complete the geotechnical works, Megapile installed 39 Odex piles, 24 installed vertically and 15 installed at a 1:8 rake The Ridge 7 office building development required a complex lateral support system to accommodate an approximately 13.5 m deep super basement Megapile completed extensive lateral support to cut slopes along Go!Durban’s BRT Route C1A in Newlands

requires a UNIFORM approach Building a CAPABLE construction sector

Competitive countries, economies and industries are shaped by policies that enable entrepreneurial leadership.

What are some of the key milestones since the formation of the cidb?

BD From the onset of the cidb’s formation in 2001, the primary mandate as a construction industry regulator has logically evolved to include our allied role as a developmental agent.

More specially, our mandate includes efficient and effective infrastructure delivery, construction industry performance improvement, and uniformity in construction procurement. The ultimate objective is the professionalisation of the industry and its sustainability as a major contributor to GDP and employment.

This was the rationale for the establishment of the cidb Register of Contractors (RoC) and the 1 to 9 cidb grading system. At present, we have a standard set of criteria that every South Africa-based contractor must adhere to – foreign or domestic. So, it levels the playing field and weeds out non-compliant or ineligible contractors.

Having successfully established the framework, we need to ramp up the process by focusing on contractor development, especially in the lower grades and building up the top tier. Simply put, untransformed industries are not sustainable. We must provide the platform and through cidb business intelligence tools –like our annual Compliance Monitor, and the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Business Conditions Survey – we keep a finger on the pulse of the industry.

What are the priority objectives?

Ultimately, we need world-class players with long-term commitment and vision so that we can ensure a robust construction sector that supports South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP). Moreover, we need more black-owned toptier construction companies that are ‘export ready’ for the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

In the meantime, we continue to refine the RoC, both the regulatory framework and process. Our regulatory framework will need to continue providing risk mitigation while still being developmental in nature. To create an enabling business environment for stakeholders in the sector, the cidb must continue to modernise, using advances in digitalisation to simplify online contractor administration. Information will be automatically verified based on ID numbers, company registration details and tax details. This will be a huge game changer, also helping to speed up the submission of tenders.

Has there been meaningful progress in terms of facilitating transformation and skills development?

The mechanisms are in place, and strong gains have been made, but we need to move at a much faster pace. However, that is interdependent on the level of construction activity in the market.

Alastair Currie speaks to Bongani Dladla, CEO, Construction Industry Development Board (cidb), about the organisation’s role in transforming and revitalising the South African construction sector.

Many aspiring small, medium and micro enterprises see opportunity in the construction sector and the first step is a cidb Grade 1 registration, where there are no qualifying criteria. However, from Grade 2 up to 9, there are financial and other qualification requirements to register.

Progressing to Grade 2 is a substantial jump, where contractors may tender for work on projects less than or equal to R1 million. In turn, the threshold for Grade 3 is R3 million. So, we need to ensure that Grade 1s – and there are a substantial number registered – have adequate

16 IMIESA January/February 2023
Bongani Dladla, CEO, Construction Industry Development Board

support to ensure that they have a meaningful chance of succeeding. That includes exposure to mentorship programmes, skills training (technical, project management, financial, HR and legal), and applicable 4IR technologies like building information modelling (BIM).

Are private and public sector stakeholders fully supportive of the BUILD programme?

The BUILD programme – which stands for Best Practice, Unity, Implementation, Leadership and Development – came into law in April 2021 and has been well accepted by industry. BUILD will comprise performance standards, the first two having been gazetted by the Minister Patricia de Lille of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) in September 2020 (Government Gazette 43726), with a scheduled timeline for public sector implementation.

The initial two standards comprise the Standard for Indirect Targeting for Enterprise Development through Construction Works, and the Standard for Developing Skills through Infrastructure Contracts.

The Standard for Indirect Targeting focuses on the development of emerging contractors


The cidb is a statutory body established under the Executive Authority of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, and enabled by the Construction Industry Development Board Act (No. 38 of 2000), from which it derives its mandate – to regulate and develop the construction industry through strategic interventions and partnerships. The construction regulator strives to build an industry that is comprehensive and reputable, whereby all participants equally drive the construction sector.

on public sector projects through collaboration on projects between infrastructure clients and larger contractors. There is a formal responsibility on clients to provide budgets on infrastructure projects for the development of emerging contractors through subcontracting and joint ventures, and for cidb grades 7, 8 and 9 to implement action plans for the advancement of lower-graded construction companies (1 to 6).

In turn, the Standard for Developing Skills focuses on nurturing greater professional competency via the mentorship input of registered built environment practitioners and tradespeople. The objective is to increase the pool of qualified young


professionals. A similar provision is made for learners from TVET colleges in terms of their experiential training.

What is BUILD’s project value threshold and how is it managed?

The BUILD programme targets infrastructure projects valued at R60 million and above, placing joint responsibility for its execution on public and private sector clients and contractors. For each project, public clients are required to provide a financial contribution based on a 0.2% fee and capped at a maximum of R2 million.

The programme management control mechanism is the cidb’s Register of Projects


(RoP) online platform, which monitors all construction projects above a certain value nationally, namely R200 000 for public and R10 million for private projects. cidb clients and contractors are required to report their contributions to the BUILD fund via the RoP portal.

To optimise the process of registering and reporting, the cidb has a dedicated BUILD unit, which is responsible for managing the day-today administration of the programme. This includes the cidb Skills Development Agency (SDA), which employs an electronic registration system to connect learners with employers in terms of the Standard for Developing Skills. Among other services, the SDA also assists government clients and contractors in preparing training plans for registered learners.

During the 2021/22 period, the cidb sent out BUILD invoices totalling around R43.4 million of which R12.3 million was collected. However, we are confident that collections will improve significantly as the new programme gains traction.

So far, BUILD is shaping up well. From a compliance perspective, we need to ensure that public and private sector clients are actively

and accurately reporting progress as this data is essential to track successful outcomes. Any evidence of non-compliance should be flagged by the Auditor-General’s office.

How have the BUILD funds been allocated to date?

So far, we have allocated approximately R20 million for woman-owned construction companies, with a key focus on the implementation of quality management systems. We have also set aside funding for developmental-finance-type initiatives.

What is the envisaged timeline for the activation of the cidb Register of Professional Service Providers?

As the market will know, there have been numerous consultations on the envisaged shape and form of this register. In the final round, we had envisaged completing the draft regulations during 2022. However, this was delayed, as we needed to embark on further stakeholder consultation on the rationale for the register, which initially focuses on professional firms like consulting engineers and quantity surveyors.

The latter have a major and positive influence on the long-term sustainability of infrastructure projects and are also instrumental in upskilling public sector entities across the three tiers of government. We are optimistic that we will finalise the regulations during 2023. From there, the Minster will initiate the process of having it signed into law.

Like the RoC, it provides an industry standard, as well as a statistical database of the size, health and capabilities of this sector, which is vital for policy, planning and support programmes.

What are the implications/benefits of the proposed new revisions to the cidb Act?

This is an important development for the market and the cidb has engaged extensively with the DPWI in its revision, with one of the key aims being to bring private sector clients into the regulatory space. The Act is expected to be signed into law during 2023. The objective is to essentially create one construction industry, as opposed to the current scenario where we distinguish a split between public and private. The Act will enable a uniform approach to our developmental objectives, as well as create a platform for innovation, knowledge exchange and best-fit solutions, rather than focusing purely on lowest cost. Privately funded investments typically place major emphasis on a quality result using the best construction tools available. We want the same principles and practices to apply in the public domain. The revised Act will also make it easier and faster for the cidb to deal with noncompliance and enforcement issues in cleaning up the industry. An example would be a case where someone has submitted fraudulent documents to apply for a specific grade to tender on project values above their capabilities. In these instances, the revised Act will enable the cidb to directly impose scheduled fines for transgressions without having to approach the courts, as is the case with the current Act.

What is the outlook for the infrastructure sector during 2023?

The urgent need to mobilise infrastructure projects is receiving the highest attention at all levels of government. In this respect, the cidb is committed to playing an enabling role in support of the DPWI’s Construction Industry Recovery Plan, alongside the broader ERRP initiatives.

18 IMIESA January/February 2023

Automation helps map out SAFER, WELL-MAINTAINED ROUTES

ARRB Systems has steered the market as a technology leader in road condition assessment equipment since the 1980s. IMIESA speaks to Yeshveer Balaram, chief services officer, ARRB Systems, about the pressing issues and the hightech responses.

What are some of ARRB Systems’ major influencers and innovations over the years?

YB While our heritage lies in research and development, our trajectory has been shaped by responding to and determining market requirements. We provide automated road assessment and evaluation technology, such as the Hawkeye 2000 Digital Laser Profiler, the Intelligent Pavement Assessment Vehicle (iPAVe), and the Intelligent Safety Assessment Vehicle (iSAVe). What sets us apart from traditional original equipment manufacturers is that we are also the largest users of our equipment, undertaking automated road condition assessments as part of our service offering. Our Hawkeye Platform, which includes the Processing Toolkit™ and Insight™, presents a fully integrated solution providing a unique analysis and viewing capability of pavements –from both a surface and structural perspective.

How have these technologies added value to the economy and society?

The adoption of contemporary technology, in general, is a key driver of economic growth!

The positive impact of utilising state-of-theart technology in the road transport sector, compared to traditional methods, results in quicker, more accurate and more economical condition assessments, enabling the identification of distress long before symptoms appear on the surface. This enables the identification of proactive, cost-beneficial, preventative maintenance options, which in turn results in significant savings to the fiscus on national, regional and local levels.

Early and accurate detection of road condition distress mechanisms provides for more effective pavement analysis and, in turn, timeous pavement management decisionmaking abilities, which has been difficult, if not

impossible, using traditional methods. This also permits the optimum use of resources, ensuring limited resources are used effectively, which maximises output and minimises costs.

What degree of influence will machine learning and artificial intelligence have on ARRB Systems’ current and future software/ technology developments?

Machine learning and artificial intelligence enable road engineers to make more informed decisions due to the elimination of subjectivity inherent in visual condition assessments. This results in full repeatability of largevolume data processing at high speeds and accuracies, and allows the engineer to focus his/her energies on the other tasks. We are currently implementing machine learning in the evaluation of road safety surveys and road condition network-level assessments. Our objective is to attain at least a 1 000% improvement in assessment efficiency. This will not only enhance the accuracy of our outputs, but also realise savings in the value chain, so the process is more cost-effective.

How extensive is South Africa’s roads maintenance backlog and what are the implications?

The backlog is currently in excess of R4 trillion and increasing all the time. If this is not addressed in the short term, there will come a point in time where the backlog will become irretrievable. The only possible way to start reducing the maintenance backlog, while simultaneously addressing current remedial interventions, is to initiate robust pavement management based on optimised and prioritised condition data produced by automated collection systems. This will result in optimised available road maintenance

budgets and increased intervention kilometres per rand of expenditure.

Can ARRB’s solutions help improve road safety?

Absolutely. ARRB Systems’ technology is used to identify unsafe road sections at a fraction of the time and cost of conventional safety assessments. This information is used by road safety practitioners to undertake networklevel safety assessments and identify the inherent level of risk in each road. The data is then used to implement countermeasures to improve road safety and ultimately save lives The net result of undertaking automated road assessments is a safer road network and a saving to the fiscus.

What are some of ARRB Systems’ recent and current projects?

While we are active across provincial networks in South Africa, our global team is also established in Australia, India and Singapore. Most recently, we have welcomed the National Department of Transport Infrastructure in Brazil, which has appointed ARRB Systems to undertake a fully comprehensive assessment of their national road network. We have also recently completed an iPAVe structural assessment for VTI in Sweden and FTIA in Finland, and approximately 8 500 km on various state road networks in the USA.

IMIESA January/February 2023 19
Yeshveer Balaram


Efficient and innovative: Pumps and Valves from KSB

Water means life. KSB provides reliable and efficient systems for extracting and transporting water and disposing of waste water around the world. KSB helps ensure that people have access to water wherever they are.

Our team of expert engineers have years of experience delivering complex water and waste water turnkey solutions. Find out more about KSB and our efficient solutions now.

KSB Pumps and Valves (Pty) Ltd

Tel: +27-11-876-5600

Level 1 B-BBEE Supplier


As a leading industry stakeholder, Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) is mandated to lobby for positive shifts within the regulatory environment to enable its members to better serve society. This is the key driver for Olu Soluade, president of CESA, whose theme for 2023 is ‘Make a Difference by Collaborating for Change.’

To make this possible in South Africa, however, there are pressing societal issues that must be tackled. A number of these were raised during the 2022 CESA Infrastructure Indaba, where the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, said, “Our problem is not funding, it is also not skills; the problem is corruption and crime. Corruption and crime, together with supply chain issues, are the primary limiting factors affecting the delivery of sustainable social and economic infrastructure in our country.”

Adding his viewpoint, Soluade strongly believes, “What our country is currently experiencing is the result of years of inadequate supply chain and procurement management focused on least-cost procurement! CESA believes that the correct approach should be to include the total cost of life-cycle ownership when procuring infrastructure – cheap simply does not last and puts lives at stake!”

Through industry collaboration, CESA was involved in the compilation of the new Public Procurement Bill, which is due to go before Parliament in the near future for sign-off and

thereafter promulgation. This bill promises to ensure that the procurement of infrastructure is treated differently from that of general goods and services.

Grassroots development and skills challenge

Soluade says one of the key issues is the critical need for adequate and competent engineering capacity within government. “We need to consider how best to address this challenge in the short, medium and long term,” he continues.

“In the short term, the partnership with the private sector is the easiest to implement. In the medium term, we need to upscale and upskill the capacity in the public sector in line with the Framework for Professionalising the State pronounced on by President Ramaphosa in 2022, so that these individuals would become the future custodians of our public infrastructure, having been mentored by those who would then have fully retired.

“In the long term, an issue that is not receiving the attention required is the development of our skills pipeline, which needs to start at grassroots level – it is a long-term objective that, as a country, we need to address. Early childhood development (ECD) and basic education [are] the gateway to STEM careers, sustainably and systemically enabling the development of homegrown engineering skills for a transformed society and a transformed industry,” states Soluade.

CESA is calling on government to strengthen ECD and basic education programmes with a strong focus on the teaching and learning of pure mathematics and science at basic education levels and boosting career guidance to promote engineering studies as a career of choice at tertiary level.

Critical moment in South Africa’s timeline

“We are at a critical time in South Africa’s history where we find ourselves at a crossroads as a nation. There is an urgent need to start putting plans into action as we work together by collaborating to deliver a sustainable future for all,” adds Soluade.

“Our current water and energy challenges are stretching our resilience to the maximum. In addition, we face added challenges with our transport systems affecting logistics, our healthcare systems and our educational institutions, to name a few,” Soluade concludes.

IMIESA January/February 2023 21

The legacy of


The economist Thomas Sowell said there are no solutions in politics, only trade-offs. This statement cannot be more true in South Africa, where service delivery and infrastructure investment are the story of trade-offs between retaining political power and sacrificing sustainable municipal development.

There remains a strong focus on increased delivery through promises of improved municipal administrations and implementation capacity. With the 2024 elections approaching, one can expect this rhetoric to increase in volume and frequency. In this process, infrastructure investment will be portrayed as the Holy Grail for economic growth and job creation. The National Infrastructure Plan approved by Cabinet in 2020 is even tagged with a by-line, ‘The Flywheel to the Economic and Growth Recovery Plan’.

Before we turn to capital expenditure in local government, it is necessary to give a perspective of where local government fits into the national economy. Three elements are essential as measured through the national accounts:

• capital stock, which refers to the economy’s fixed assets

• depreciation, which is the rate at which the capital stock is consumed to produce goods and services

• capital formation, which refers to the extent of investment in the economy through capital expenditure to replace depleted stock and expand the base for production. The total capital stock reported in 2021 was R8.696 trillion, with the local government sector holding only 3.6% or R315 462 million of the total capital stock in the country. Interestingly, in 67% of the country’s municipalities, the local agriculture asset base exceeds that of the local municipality. These figures are important for two reasons. First, although the local government

asset base is very small, it has proved to be a significant cog in the economic wheel of South Africa. Second, given its central control and intervention policies, the government does not have the leverage to effect economic growth and employment through the municipal asset base. However, the truth is that, irrespective of how small the municipal asset base is, inappropriate government interventions and policies can disrupt and stifle economic growth, as proven over the last three decades.

It is important to note how we deal with and treat our existing asset base. Much can be said about asset maintenance,

TABLE 1 Capital stock per sector as a percentage of total

22 IMIESA January/February 2023
1994 2010 2021 Average annual change Primary sector 12.2% 10.1% 9.4% -1.0% Secondary sector 17.6% 17.9% 20.2% 0.5% Tertiary sector (excl government) 50.4% 52.6% 50.2% 0.0% National and provincial government 17.1% 16.7% 16.6% -0.1% Local government 2.6% 2.8% 3.6% 1.2%
Burgert Gildenhuys, director, BC Gildenhuys & Associates

but it might be worthwhile to put the position of local government relative to the national economy.

Fixed capital formation in the local government sector grew by 7.01% year-onyear over the past 27 years, while population growth averaged 1.99%. Based on this, one should expect vast improvements in economic conditions based on the extent of capital investment and the prosperity doctrine, and local government should have been flourishing. However, precisely the opposite happened. The first possible clue may lie in the table below.

The investment per household is a figure that represents all capital expenditures. It is, however, significant to note that in 1997 municipalities spent about 75% of their capital budgets on infrastructure services. This figure decreased to about 63% for FY 19/20, while metropolitan municipalities struggled to direct more than 45% of their budget to infrastructure. Table 3 shows that municipalities spent 28% less capital per household in 2020 than in 1997. Capex has indeed been diverted away from infrastructure to other asset classes.

‘Pro-poor’ and basic service policies

infrastructure policies were applied. (This figure again excludes roads, stormwater, electricity and refuse removal services.) The total capital budget for local government in FY 19/20 was R60.6 billion.

This legacy capital expenditure has left indelible marks on our municipalities that cannot be undone. Furthermore, the expectation of a future of coalition governments will require more and stronger trade-offs to maintain any power balance.

Municipal assets’ expected useful life (EUL) decreased by 67% between 1993 and 2021. There may be two reasons for this. First, the current infrastructure state implies little or no maintenance, drastically reducing municipal assets’ EUL. The lack of maintenance is evident in the condition of municipal assets. Furthermore, no asset renewal programmes countered this apparent consumption (depreciation) of assets.

It means that municipal assets are used until they collapse, which is evident in the high rate of fixed capital formation over the years. By implication, this means that money has been pumped into capital programmes in municipalities with no regard for maintaining existing assets. Second, there were increased investments in non-infrastructure assets with substantially shorter EULs.

The first is a well-established fact, while substantial evidence points to the latter.

The National Treasury Local Government Database and Stats SA data show the following.

A further complicating factor is how ‘pro-poor’ and basic service policies were applied. Since 1994, there has been a deliberate reprioritisation of investment to areas where people could not access basic services –that is, the concept of spatial targeting.

Redirecting capital investment is not wrong, but the problem is that more than basic services (the policy that still exists today) were provided. For example, between 1996 and 2016, more than 3.6 million households were provided with full water services and nearly 6.2 million households with waterborne sanitation, instead of communal standpipes and dry on-site sanitation.

Given the operating cost differential between a basic and full service for water and sanitation, and assuming that poor people do not pay for these services, the local government sector has burdened itself with an unfunded operating deficit of at least R12 billion per annum. (This excludes electricity and other services.)

Given the difference in capital cost, it implies that the local government sector diverted at least R100 billion between 1996 and 2016 in unfunded capital for water and sanitation services because of how

Long-term planning and considerations for the consequences of political trade-offs could be ignored to the extent that service delivery will hover on the brink of collapse for the foreseeable future. The mantra in South African politics, across every political party, is that one party will deliver better than the next. However, it appears that not a single party is contemplating delivering differently from its coalition partners or the political opposition.

The chances that any political party in South Africa will start telling their constituencies, rich and poor, that government cannot be the eternal provider of services is slim. Current legislation has various options for different municipal governance structures and service delivery models. However, the universal political theme remains centralisation. Even in the call for devolving powers to provinces, the underlying ideology remains for more and full government control, albeit at a different geographical level.


If South Africa does not get a ‘Great Reset’ in municipal government soon, South Africans will have to make peace with outdated and inadequate infrastructure. Residents of towns and cities will live with:

• a continuous decline in service delivery

• accept higher taxes

• reduced services

• an inability to attract new businesses and investments

• a workaround for stagnating and declining local economies

• live with a lower quality of life, higher crime rates and fewer job opportunities.

The reality is that the situation can be turned around. South Africa does have legislative and policy frameworks in place, but it must accept reality and live with the scares of abuse and mismanagement of municipal affairs for a very long time.

*Pr. Pln, MIAM (London), ILGM, B(TRP), BAdmin (Municipal Administration)

1994 2010 2021 Average annual change Primary sector 10.31 10.21 7.16 -1.3% Secondary sector 16.09 9.49 12.58 -0.9% Tertiary sector (excl government) 23.20 15.79 16.81 -1.2% National and provincial government 31.87 19.18 19.21 -1.9% Local government 34.71 15.97 11.46 -4.0% TOTAL 19.74 13.80 14.11 -1.2%
TABLE 2 The expected useful life of assets in years
FY 96/97(real) FY 19/20 % average annual change Total % Total % Total capex (R’000) 44 039 988 100.0% 60 604 777 100.0% 1.4% Households (Stats SA) 9 076 635 17 418 000 2.9% Investment per household/annum 4 852 3 479 -1.4%
TABLE 3 Capital expenditure and funding – 1996 and 2020

ASSET MANAGEMENT FORUM proposed for iLembe district

The scope of the assessment was to evaluate the municipalities’ current asset management status, capabilities and practices, with a view to making recommendations for implementing best practice systems in compliance with the regulatory framework and the Municipal Finance Management Act (No. 56 of 2003).

The service provider collected and reviewed asset-management-related policies, processes and practice documentation, as well as conducted on-site interviews and visits to assess the asset management value chain, including planning, acquisitions, monitoring and maintenance of assets, asset conditions and risk levels.

Findings and recommendations

The review found that governance and oversight of asset management have been negatively impacted by the absence of an updated municipality directive delineating the cross-divisional and cross-functional roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in the organisation. There is a requirement for guidelines and standard operating procedures detailing various activities throughout the asset life cycle. There is no dedicated asset management unit in the municipalities assessed.

It was recommended that an asset management model be developed with defined roles and responsibilities in accordance with established policies and procedures. Mechanisms must be implemented to provide highlevel oversight by the executive management team for the development and implementation of the asset management strategy and asset management plans. The review stressed that roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined,

identifying positions responsible for determining levels of service and positions responsible for managing the assets to meet service delivery needs. Awareness must also be created of the importance of asset management.

Asset management change strategy

The consultancy has proposed an asset management change strategy to: enhance municipal-wide skills, capabilities, expertise and capacity; integrate the knowledge and expertise of various departments; improve asset control and reporting; and increase asset management efficiency in line with the reforms proposed by the National Development Plan and associated national/provincial initiatives.

The following, in summary, are measures to institute a municipal-wide asset management improvement strategy in iLembe:

• Leadership – Addresses the elements of strategic direction, oversight and control, which are critical for the development and operation of an asset management system at municipalities.

• Risk – Addresses the responsibilities of the asset owner to establish risk tolerance and standards for risk assessment, as well as to review and direct the application of risk management by the asset manager.

• Roles and responsibilities – Addresses the accountability model for the key roles in the asset management system, namely asset owner, asset manager and accounting treatment of assets.

• Consolidation of functions – Addresses the need for organisation of asset management along process rather than functional lines, as well as the need for bringing together all pieces of the asset management function.

• Life-cycle optimisation – Addresses the elements required to ensure that asset decisions are made based on total lifecycle costs.

• Performance management – Addresses the components of performance management needed to support asset management.

• Data and technology – Addresses the systems and data requirements needed to support the asset management system, in addition to data governance and analytical capabilities.

iLembe District Asset Management Forum


Platinum Financial Solutions has also proposed the formation of an iLembe district asset management forum to facilitate the exchange and alignment of asset management knowledge and practices.

In addition to serving as a centralised knowledge repository, the forum should also stimulate and promote education and training in asset management, as well as encourage and guide municipalities in the establishment of their own training programmes.

Planning Disposal Consumption & Depreciation Procuring Asset Operation, Repairing & Maintenance
During the 2020/21 financial year, the Vuthela iLembe LED Support Programme appointed Platinum Financial Consulting to conduct an asset management gap assessment of the iLembe District Municipality and its local municipalities.

Vital project delivers new homes for informal settlement families

Spanning 26 hectares, the Boystown social housing development in South Africa’s Western Cape provides safe, affordable accommodation in a community setting.

The project team at SMEC worked with delivery partner Martin & East to form the turnkey operation, Vula Joint Venture (JV), to successfully deliver this important community development. The homes, which are painted in aesthetically pleasing earthy tones, are 40 m2 in size with properties varying between 100 m2 and 125 m2

SMEC was appointed in 2010 and was responsible for the design of all civil, structural, some electrical and geotechnical services, as well as construction monitoring. Construction was phased across three stages, with the handover of the final stage completed in September 2022.

Large quantities of bulk earthworks were required to deal with previous informal rubble, prepare the site and facilitate the new road network. Three new stormwater retention ponds have been introduced to improve water management and water run-off quality.

In addition to carrying out the structural design for the housing, the town planning layout was amended by SMEC to avoid any roads running parallel to the development’s boundary wall, which is adjacent to the heavily trafficked N2 highway. Serving as a safety measure for residents, this large boundary wall also acts as a barrier to noise pollution from the highway and nearby airport.

Funding mechanisms

During the project, SMEC assisted the client – Western Cape Department of Human Settlements – in applying for a Municipal Infrastructure Grant and associated funding as part of the Upgrading of Informal Settlement Programme (UISP). The development also contains infrastructure for three pockets of public open spaces for recreation, three worship sites, two commercial sites and space for four designated community facilities.

Stakeholder engagement strategy

Decanting and temporary relocation of residents was a key consideration for the project to navigate tension and unrest. SMEC, as part of the Vula JV, worked closely with the client and the Housing Development Agency to develop a detailed stakeholder engagement strategy. This included the creation of a project steering committee to maintain continuous, regular communication with the local community and beneficiaries. Community faction disputes resulted in many implementation delays and interference in the completion of the project. However, local community participation, patience and perseverance were key to the project’s ultimate success. The project also provided job opportunities and training, helping the local community to gain experience in the construction industry. Reflecting on the completion of the project, Johan Basson, function manager: Urban Development at SMEC, stated, “The completion of Boystown provides a benchmark for quality, low-cost housing solutions in South Africa. SMEC is proud to contribute to vital social inclusion for residents, with new roads and services providing critical infrastructure for the local community.”


In turn, Minister of Infrastructure for the Western Cape Tertuis Simmers, commented that, “This handover marks the end of what has been a challenging yet fulfilling journey, as we have successfully assisted qualifying beneficiaries. I would like to extend my gratitude to all stakeholders, particularly the contractors and communities for ensuring that the handovers could occur.”

• Boystown Housing Development Phase 1: 503 units - Completed 2012

• Boystown Housing Development Phase 2: 460 units - Completed 2019

• Boystown Housing Development Phase 3: 328 units - Completed 2022

In addition, 101 serviced plots were handed over without housing units

IMIESA January/February 2023 25
1 392 residential plots 14 km of roads 15 km of water lines 13 km of sewer lines 3 stormwater retention ponds 10 km of stormwater lines
BELOW Phase 3A completed BELOW Aerial view of the Boystown development Phase 3B top structures Beneficiaries receiving the keys to their new homes

The application of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) has received renewed attention with OpenAI’s release of the chatGPT instance for testing on the internet. But what does chatGPT have to say about it when it comes to BIM developments?

Talking about BIM to chatGPT –getting the perspective from AI

In conversation with many colleagues, it is evident that this AI language engine is very impressive and capable of sourcing information from across the internet to form responses to questions.

One of my colleagues quoted a line from the movie I, Robot, where Will Smith’s character, Detective Del Spooner, asks the robot Sonny about art and music:

Detective Spooner: “You know, you guys (robots) got it all. You got the strength, you got the speed, you got the memory. But you don't have the one thing that makes us human.”

Sonny: “What's that, Detective?”

Detective Spooner: “Art, music. You don't create, you don't appreciate. You don't have the ability to recognise beauty.”

Sonny: “I recognise beauty, Detective. I just don't create it.”

Inspired by this, I decided to interview the chatGPT AI Bot about BIM in the South African municipal context. The following transcript (not always verbatim) is insightful, particularly as it

presents a summary of the available literature that was used by this AI up until 2021. Remember, chatGPT is an AI, but it is uncannily insightful. Let’s see how your BIM general knowledge compares.


Please would you introduce yourself to the IMIESA readers

ChatGPT Hello, my name is ChatGPT and I am a large language model trained by OpenAI. I am here to assist you with any questions you may have regarding civil engineering and related topics. I have knowledge of the latest advancements in the field and can help you with anything from design and construction to maintenance and operation of infrastructure projects.

How is BIM applied to municipal infrastructure?

BIM is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building or infrastructure project. When applied to

municipal infrastructure, BIM can be used to plan, design, construct and manage a wide range of public works projects, such as roads, bridges, water and sewage systems, and public buildings.

BIM can be used to create detailed 3D models of the infrastructure, which can be used for visualisation, analysis and simulations. This can help municipalities to make betterinformed decisions about the design and construction of infrastructure projects, as well as to improve the maintenance and operation of existing infrastructure.

Additionally, BIM can be used to better coordinate and collaborate between different stakeholders, such as architects, engineers, contractors and facility managers, which can help to improve project outcomes and reduce costs.

What are the top reasons why BIM is not implemented by municipalities?

There are several reasons why municipalities may not implement BIM, including:

Richard Matchett, digital lead: Zutari and member of BIMcommUNITY.Africa

- lack of knowledge and training

- BIM can be a costly investment, and municipalities may not have the budget to invest in the necessary software, hardware and training

- resistance to change

- some municipalities may not have the resources, such as staff or equipment, to implement BIM effectively

- BIM is still a relatively new technology, and there may be a lack of standardisation in terms of data and processes, which can make it difficult for municipalities to implement

- many municipalities may not be aware of the benefits of BIM and the potential it has to improve the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure projects

- lack of government policies and regulations.

What action can municipalities take to overcome BIM implementation challenges?

The following are examples. Municipalities can:

- invest in education and training programmes

- develop a comprehensive BIM strategy that outlines the goals, objectives and requirements for implementation

- collaborate with other municipalities, organisations and industry groups to share knowledge, resources and best practices

- develop standards and guidelines

- establish a BIM project team

- encourage BIM adoption by contractors and consultants

A tailored approach that considers the unique challenges and opportunities of the municipality is likely to be more successful in overcoming the barriers to BIM implementation.

How does BIM adoption in South Africa compare to the rest of the world?

The South African government has implemented a BIM mandate for public infrastructure projects, and many construction companies, consultants and contractors are now using BIM to some extent. However, the adoption and implementation of BIM is still not widespread and varies greatly among different organisations and projects.

South Africa lags countries such as the USA, Canada, the UK and some countries in Europe, where BIM has been adopted more extensively and is more widely used in the construction industry. Additionally, the level of BIM proficiency and the use of advanced BIM features and functionalities

is also considered to be lower in South Africa compared to other countries. Despite this, it is expected that the adoption of BIM in South Africa will continue to grow in the coming years, as the government and the construction industry continue to promote and invest in BIM.

What is the significance of ISO 19650 adoption in South Africa?

ISO 19650 is a set of international standards. It provides a framework for the use of BIM in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure projects.

The adoption of ISO 19650 in South Africa has several potential benefits for the construction industry, such as:

• ISO 19650 provides a common language and a set of guidelines for the use of BIM.

• BIM can be used to improve the quality and performance of infrastructure projects, and the use of ISO 19650 can help to ensure that projects are designed,

ChatGPT is based on the GPT (Generative Pre-training Transformer) model, which was developed by OpenAI. The original GPT paper, which describes the architecture and training method used in the model, is: Brown, T., Mann, B., Ryder, N., Subbiah, M., Kaplan, J., Dhariwal, P., ... & Schulman, J. (2020). ‘Language models are few-shot learners’. arXiv preprint arXiv:2005.14165.

This paper was presented at the 2020 International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) and it describes the GPT-3 model, which is

Zutari co-creates enduring impact through infrastructure – enabling communities, economies and environments to thrive

built and maintained in a consistent and efficient way.

• The use of ISO 19650 can help to ensure that projects are designed and built to meet safety and sustainability requirements.

• It may lead to improved regulatory compliance.

• ISO 19650 can help to improve the competitiveness of the South African construction industry by providing a framework for the use of BIM that is widely recognised and accepted internationally.

How could the adoption of BIM in South Africa support the NDP 2030?

The National Development Plan 2030 (NDP) sets out a vision for the development of South Africa, and the adoption of BIM could support the achievement of several of the targets outlined in the plan, including:

• The use of BIM can help to improve the efficiency and productivity of the construction industry, which can lead to economic growth and job creation. BIM can also help to reduce

project costs and improve project outcomes, which can make infrastructure projects more attractive to investors.

BIM requires a high level of skill and knowledge, which can help to develop a skilled workforce that can support the growth of the construction industry.

• BIM can be used to improve the delivery of services, such as maintenance and operation of infrastructure projects, which can help to improve the quality of life for citizens.

• BIM can be used to improve transparency and accountability in the construction industry, by providing detailed and accurate information about infrastructure projects.

What sources do you use to formulate your responses to questions about BIM?

As a language model, I am trained on a large corpus of text data, which includes a wide range of information about BIM and civil engineering. This data includes textbooks, research papers, articles and other sources of information about BIM, its applications, best practices and current trends.

Additionally, I have been trained on the latest advancements and developments in the field, ensuring that the information I provide is accurate and up to date. My knowledge cut-off is 2021, so some of the information I provide might be outdated if the question is about events or developments that occurred after that date.


I confess that I was blown away by this interview. Not just by the technological capability of this computer algorithm, but more by the facts about our country and my industry that can be summarised so simply and succinctly that it leads me to one conclusion: we know what to do – even the computers know what needs to be done – so why are we not doing it?

Perhaps a deeper question to ponder: do we have the fortitude to pull together to take the necessary decisions, as a country and as the custodians of infrastructure, to build the tomorrow that is already known… to us and the computers!


BIMcommUNITY.Africa is a community of professionals and organisations in the construction industry in Africa who are interested in building information modelling (BIM) and its applications.

The community provides a platform for its members to connect and collaborate, through events, webinars, workshops and online forums. A prime example is the BIM CODESA, a series of events and meetings that creates a platform for key stakeholders in the built environment to engage actively and meaningful in debate around the transformation of the South African architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

The transformation of the AEC industry will include the adoption of ISO 19650 as a South African standard and the widespread adoption of BIM as the accepted process to plan, design, construct and manage infrastructure in South Africa.

In 2020, the SABS published a draft of the standard, SANS 196501:2020, which is based on the ISO 19650-1:2018 standard. This draft is currently open for public comment. This standard is the first of a series of standards that will be developed based on ISO 19650 and it is intended to provide a framework for the use of BIM in South Africa.

The SABS has also established a BIM standards committee to develop the standards, guidelines and procedures for the use of BIM in South Africa. The committee is made up of representatives from the construction industry – including architects, engineers, contractors and government agencies.

A SABS working group has been established to develop the ISO 19650 National Annex (NA). An NA is a document that supplements an international standard and provides additional information or requirements that are specific to a particular country. It also includes guidance on the use of specific BIM software, local data exchange formats and other information specific to the South African context.

To get involved in the BIM CODESA, please contact


Catch the rain

Rainwater harvesting is an easy way to reuse water that would otherwise disappear down stormwater drains. Collected natural precipitation provides a renewable supply of natural, soft, clear water, without harming the environment. In fact, harvesting rainwater can assist in preventing flooding in highly built-up urban areas, and can reduce the run-off of pollutants and pesticides into rivers and streams.

There are a variety of simple ways to collect, direct and harvest rainwater:

Rain tanks

Harvest rainwater from a roof, and collect and store it with rain tanks from where it can be distributed. Stored water may be used for watering gardens, agriculture, flushing toilets, in washing machines, washing cars, and also for drinking, especially when other water supplies are unavailable, expensive or of poor quality, and when proper care is taken that the water is not contaminated and is adequately filtered.

Underground rainwater tanks can also be used for the retention of stormwater for release at a later time and offer a variety of benefits. In arid climates, rain barrels are often used to store water

during the rainy season for use during drier periods.

Permeable paving

The increase in impermeable surfaces in urban areas has caused an increase in flooding and pollutant run-off. Stormwater flowing across streets, sidewalks and gardens picks up contaminants such as litter, spilled oil, detergents, solvents, dead leaves, pesticides, fertiliser and bacteria. Natural filtration of water through soil is the simplest way to control these pollutants, and is a direct advantage of permeable paving or other man-made soakaways.

Gutter systems

Gutters can be used to direct rainwater to storage containers, rain tanks or specific

areas in your garden. Sometimes, the force of rainwater directly on to pot plants, ponds, or garden beds from gutters can be too strong and needs to be softened. Place pebbles or gravel to break the force. Selected mulches around these areas can act like sponges that absorb water and then release it slowly into the soil.


Direct stormwater to specific parts of a garden using channels, culverts or troughs. Create ‘dry riverbeds’ using a lined channel covered with a variety of pebbles, rocks and stones in various colours and designs. Detect where the water comes from: from – roofs, hard surfaces and streets – and decide how it should be directed.

IMIESA January/February 2023 29
Reducing water bills, saving water and having a backup water supply can be achieved with rainwater harvesting.
Save water, spend less money and ensure that your plants always have water by harvesting rainwater

From load-shedding to water-shedding: MITIGATING THE CHALLENGES

South Africa stands on a precipice in terms of its ability to deliver energy, clean water and safe sanitation to communities and industry.

In addition to challenges faced with ageing equipment and poor maintenance, water and wastewater infrastructure is also affected by regular load-shedding, and subsequent ‘water-shedding’, which can damage pumps, control and instrumentation systems. Water levels in reservoirs also drop to unacceptable levels in areas where prolonged power outages occur, impacting both industry and communities that rely on them.

One way to mitigate the negative impacts of the country’s current water and sewage situation is for industry and communities to reduce their water footprint.

From the start, large-scale water users operating treatment plants need to assess their overall water losses. For example, in South Africa, it is estimated that there is a 40% difference between what municipalities bill for water consumption and what they produce. This imbalance is – by and large – the result of water leaks and theft. Solving this problem alone can result in huge savings and an overall reduction in water footprint.

This reduction in wastage, however, should go hand in hand with other low-tech point-of-use solutions such as flow reducers and low-flow taps, showers and toilets, as well as more high-

tech interventions like smart meters designed to monitor water usage and react under circumstances of abnormally high consumption and inconsistent water flows.

A key response for mitigating the effects of water-shedding is the use of backup water supply systems. This solution is ideal for industrial users reliant on set production levels, as it reduces downtime and production losses. A properly designed and maintained reservoir could provide up to three days of backup water supply – more than enough to cope with the worst water-shedding scenarios.

There are also alternative water supply solutions such as boreholes and rainfall harvesting that can be bolted on to these backup systems, reservoirs or existing water and effluent treatment plants. The greywater extracted from these sources can be treated to the required standards (from industrial and irrigation standards all the way to potable drinking water standards) and fed back into the production supply.

Community-level sanitation

Alongside the issue of potable water losses and interrupted supply, sewage overflows are a regular occurrence across the country, requiring an urgent mitigation response.

One solution is the NEWgenerator™ developed by the University of South Florida and built under licence in South Africa by WEC Projects under the Water Research Commission’s SASTEP programme.

NEWgenerator is a compact, portable and modular sewage treatment solution that can be built into a standard shipping container. It incorporates an anaerobic digester to treat the sewage by breaking down microorganisms to produce biogas. Clean water is filtered out, with bacteria, viruses and any remaining solid particles removed, and then disinfected through a chlorination system. Up to 99% of the water can be recycled for reuse as flushing water for toilets.

NEWgenerator has been thoroughly tested in South Africa and its first commercial installation has already been deployed at a school in the Eastern Cape. The firstgeneration unit can handle waste for up to 120 users, while the latest version can be scaled up to handle as many as 1 350 users. As a further plus, the system can be designed to run on grid power or solar energy, helping to further mitigate load- and watershedding risks.

*Technical director, WEC Projects

30 IMIESA January/February 2023 WATER & WASTEWATER
The latest version of the NEWgenerator off-grid sanitation system can service up to 1 350 people, with up to 99% of the water being recycled for reuse as flush water

Using data


We have case studies where customers stopped repeated disruptions and reduced their capital planning time by 75%.

The answer is to use data intelligently and pinpoint the areas that need priority attention, then develop a longer-term plan for maintenance and replacements.

But many utilities don’t do this because they think they don’t have enough information. That’s often not the case. They already sit on a wealth of insights through hubs such as Scada systems, but they don’t know how to use it to full effect.

The power of prediction

However, predictive data tools and services are starting to turn the tide and put water operators back in charge of their

sites and infrastructure. Today, leading water solutions providers combine digital platforms with data literacy to help their customers develop future-proof networks that can handle variability.

Assets connected digitally with sensors generate patterns that reveal many interesting insights, including maintenance status, underperformance, excessive energy consumption, flow, pressure, water level, pH levels, conductivity and numerous other metrics. The collected information can support operations and maintenance planning, alarms and service quality supervision.

Data flourishes with skills and AI

To create helpful analytics, service providers combine engineering, data platforms and tools such as machine learning. They also apply their expertise

to cleaning data, ensuring water managers avoid getting bad answers from poor quality data.

Most data projects fall apart because they mostly focus on technologies and not the skills and processes that lead to better understanding of data. At the very least, you need a data scientist to find value in your data.

We enhance our data products with a deep bench of experts with backgrounds in mathematical modelling, system dynamics and civil engineering. Those make up the essential pieces of getting useful and relevant insights.

The upside is that if South African cities have the correct information, they can recoup millions in lost water revenue, realise maintenance savings and make crucial choices in terms of service delivery.

IMIESA January/February 2023 31
The right combination of data experts, technologies and engineering skills can give every water utility actionable information on everything from pipes and valves to pumping stations and sewage systems, writes Chetan Mistry
Chetan Mistry, strategy and marketing manager, Xylem Africa

Sustainable water resource management calls


Out of an anticipated global population of 9.7 billion people, by 2050 the International Water Association estimates that 66% will reside in urban areas. Currently, some 25% are at risk from floods, while 40% of the world’s population are affected by water scarcity.

We really need to think differently about the future of water.

Our goal as Zutari is to co-create a footprint of engineered water solutions that reframes innovation, sustainability and resilience from an African perspective,” comments Neeren Govender, client director: Water. He says future-proofing water infrastructure in partnership with governments and communities is essential to ensure that water solutions are practical from a local context.

As a civil engineer with over 20 years’ experience in the water industry, Govender’s career spans a range of multidisciplinary water-related projects, from inception through to master-planning, design and construction supervision, and ultimately

commissioning and operations. “The reason I am so passionate about this sector is the impact that we have on the communities we work with and the tangible difference we make on their quality of life.”

A legacy that spans decades

Through legacy companies such as Africon and Ninham Shand, Zutari has a track record of almost 90 years in the water sector. This includes the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), originally conceived by company Ninham Shand in the 1950s. The firm was involved in the feasibility studies undertaken in the 1970s and in the design and construction of Phase I in the 1980s and 1990s. Zutari is currently involved in the design of the infrastructure for Phase ll of the LHWP, which remains the largest water transfer scheme in Africa.

Zutari’s water services straddle all of the market sectors it is involved in, from

32 IMIESA January/February 2023
Neeren Govender, client director: Water, at Zutari Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme: abstraction and treatment works

transport to energy, government, health, education, property and land development, as well as resources and manufacturing. A large part of its work lies in the government sector, from municipalities to local, provincial and national authorities, as well as public and private water utilities. Its scope extends into Africa and the Middle East, where it is delivering key waterrelated projects.

Milestone developments

Zutari has been involved in various iconic water infrastructure solutions across the continent, including the Berg River Dam, the Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme, the Olifants River Water Resources Development Scheme, the Mokolo Crocodile Water Scheme, the Maguga Dam in Eswatini, the Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam and Hydropower Scheme in Nigeria, the Shire River Basin Management Programme in Malawi, the Water Security and Climate Resilience Project in Kenya, and the Nile Basin Initiative – Pilot Application of the Nile Basin Decision Support System.

Water capabilities

In terms of its capabilities and expertise, Zutari’s focus includes water resources planning and management, ranging from urban areas to multibasin studies, and also includes large dam and hydropower

projects. On the treatment side, Zutari is able to offer advanced process technologies for reuse and desalination, as well as for dirty or industrial water and biosolids treatment. On the advisory side, Zutari offers climate change and sustainability solutions, which is a key focus for the water sector across Africa.

“This definitely gives us a leading edge in the market. From an African perspective, we not only have an extensive network of offices and resources, but partners in various countries as well. It ensures we have a broad team of multidisciplinary water specialists that can apply their local knowledge and technical expertise on a range of projects throughout the continent,” says Govender. In addition, Zutari has extensive international experience as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.


Large portions of Africa vary from arid to semi-arid and are solely dependent on groundwater. “As the population and economy of these regions grow, there will be a need to advocate and promote the sustainable management and protection of this finite resource. The ability to use and reuse this valuable resource as part of the circular economy is key to ensuring the livelihood of future generations,” says Govender.

Smart infrastructure

The impact of smart infrastructure on the water sector has led Zutari to develop cutting-edge digital capabilities that embrace the internet of things and Industry 4.0. It has major experience in working with the latest industrial automation and instrumentation technologies, which it deploys for infrastructure performance improvement and real-time visibility. Zutari has developed innovative data-mining tools for advanced analytics to assist clients with strategic decision-making and long-term planning.

A trend is applying the operational digitaltwin concept to water infrastructure. For example, if a water system needs to be improved, the impact of any changes can be visualised in the digital replica to best optimise the process and carry any lessons or insights through to the real world. Zutari has developed energy recovery tools that can assist water utilities not only to optimise their energy consumption, but also evaluate the feasibility of waste-to-energy projects, where the energy potential of wastewater can be converted into biogas, for example.

“Water is the source of life, the most widely used resource, and a commodity with intrinsic value. Our collective future depends on its sustainable use and preserving water resources. As water stewards, we need to focus on smart, sustainable and resilient water infrastructure solutions,” concludes Govender.

IMIESA January/February 2023 33
Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam and Hydropower Scheme, Nigeria

Hydrostatic pressure can be measured in either an open or freely accessible container or body of water, as well as in a sealed tank with positive or negative pressure. In all cases, the actual fill level is determined in consideration of the ambient pressure.

Importantly, the pressure of the gas trapped above the liquid must also be factored in if the container is sealed. This is done by taking another pressure measurement on a second transmitter, which is usually screwed into the side of the tank.

The following formula can be used to calculate the hydrostatic pressure, while factoring in ambient pressure, and can be applied to open bodies of water and fluids at rest (static) in containers:

p(h, p0) = ρ * g * h + p0

A differential pressure measurement to factor in p0 (lid pressure) is used for sealed containers. To factor ambient pressure into open scenarios, measurements are taken using relative pressure probes or AA (absoluteabsolute) technology.

Remote transmission via the Internet

When monitoring groundwater/fill levels in open bodies of water or outdoors, the measuring points may be relatively far away and difficult to reach. For these applications, Keller Pressure has solutions involving level loggers via shortrange radio interfaces, as well as level loggers with a remote data transmission unit via GSM or the internet.

Product overview for hydrostatic measurements

Various Keller measurement technologies can be employed. These include:

• Submersible probes for level and fill measurement: with a special design, as well

RECORDING ACCURATE hydrostatic measurements

as cable and housing materials chosen for compatibility with their surroundings, these probes can be used in a wide range of liquids.

• A variety of data logger designs for recording pressure and temperature profiles: depending on the system, the data is read out via a plug connection or remote transfer.

• Multiparameter data loggers: Keller’s DCX-22CTD measures conductivity and temperature as well as pressure, along with the depth of bodies of water. The integrated Pt1000 achieves an accuracy of ±0.1°C, and the conductivity can be measured at ±2.5% of the selected range (0.2/2/20/200 mS/cm). Thanks to their long-life battery, they can keep recording measurement results for years (up to 10 years at a rate of one measurement per hour).

Data analysis

The Kolibri Cloud app is employed for collecting and displaying measured values

that are recorded by Keller IoT devices and transmitted via mobile radio or LoRaWAN. Kolibri Cloud offers a wide variety of options for device configuration and displays current measured values and logger recordings in graph form.

Thanks to the search and filter options, saved measurement data can be organised with ease and can also be exported as an image, as an Excel or Word report, or in additional formats. Existing software solutions can also be used to access data in Kolibri Cloud via JSON API.

Additionally, all products in the Kolibri suite are intercompatible and can exchange data with one another. The functions are continually being expanded and optimised.

Contact INSTROTECH for more information on Keller’s hydrostatic measurement systems on 010 595 1831, email or visit

34 IMIESA January/February 2023
The most common form of electronic fill level monitoring and measurement is hydrostatic pressure measurement.

SARF funds to upskill women civil engineers at metros

Delivering on its training mandate, the South African Road Federation (SARF) recently received donor support from the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering to upskill 75 female civil engineers, technologists or technicians from across South Africa’s eight metros.

SARF’s online training programme entails a suite of four technical course modules specifically chosen to provide practitioners with a broad understanding of the skills needed to optimally design, construct and maintain surfaced and unsurfaced roads. These course modules are accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa in terms of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) criteria.

The four interrelated course modules comprise:

• Module 1: Introduction to Road Materials Engineering

• Module 2: Gravel Road Design, Construction and Maintenance

• Module 3: Design and Construction of Surface Treatments

• Module 4: Urban Stormwater Management, Design and Construction.

“Due to the demand, we decided to increase the number to 90 delegates in total, with SARF covering the additional cost thanks to the annual funding provided by our members,” explains Basil Jonsson, operations director at SARF, which is a BBBEE Level 1 non-profit company.

The training programme commenced in November 2022 with the launch of the Introduction to Road Materials Engineering module. The second course commenced at the end of January 2023, with training on all four modules scheduled to be completed by the end of April 2023.

“The interest from the metros has been overwhelming, with excellent feedback from course delegates. From SARF’s perspective, it’s very rewarding to be able to add value to the development of municipal engineering excellence,” Jonsson concludes.

IMIESA January/February 2023 35
Snapshots of course delegate groups who attended SARF’s recent Introduction to Road Materials Engineering training module. In total, 90 delegates attended online, with group representation from each of South Africa’s eight metros City of Cape Town eThekwini Municipality City of Tshwane Ekurhuleni Nelson Mandela Bay Mangaung Ekurhuleni Buffalo City Johannesburg Roads Agency

A holistic asphalt solution UNDER ONE BRAND

While an asphalt plant is at the heart of the production process, there are a range of supporting solutions required to deliver optimum results – an area where the Ammann Group leads with its associated product line of bitumen processing, storage and heating systems.

Progressively expanding its Southern African footprint since 2011, the Ammann Group’s ongoing penetration of the regional asphalt plant market is being spearheaded by its wholly owned subsidiary, Ammann Kenzam South Africa.

The latter was formed in October 2022 following the Group’s acquisition of Kenzam Equipment, Ammann’s South African agent for the past three years. An OEM in its own right, Kenzam has traditionally specialised in custom build solutions for the asphalt sector, which include emulsion plants, rubber modified binder units and bitumen decanters. Its extensive fabrication experience and well-established track record in Africa will now support the roll-out of locally made or modified Ammann associated line products and

components, alongside those imported from Group factories based in India, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland and Turkey.

“The Ammann Group’s strategy is to provide a holistic solution that supports the optimum performance of its asphalt plants. The advantage for customers is that they can interface with one OEM for all their requirements,” explains Rocco Lehman, managing director, Ammann Kenzam South Africa.

Streamlining supply chains and fostering innovation

“The end goal is to keep the overall cost of plant ownership at competitive levels by employing integrated Ammann systems. In this respect, having an Africa-based fabrication arm means we can significantly shorten supply chain lead times and get far closer to countryspecific customer requirements with fit-forpurpose designs. So, overall, there’s a high degree of flexibility as well as opportunities for innovation,” Lehman continues.

A prime example is Ammann Kenzam’s unveiling of a custom-built mobile CounterMix 120 (120 tonnes per hour [tph]) continuous

drum-mix plant in Q3 2022. Produced by Ammann India, the plant (in its various configurations) was modified by Ammann Kenzam to make it fully road legal for towing in Southern Africa.

In addition to the main plant, products like a mobile laboratory can also be mounted on their own dedicated trailer. The latter can be supplied as a standard laboratory for routine asphalt testing, or a more advanced laboratory housed in a 12 m container. These are equipped according to specific customer requirements.

“To save on overseas shipping and manufacturing costs, we are also investigating value-added routes that include fabricating plant elements like cold feed bins and bitumen tanks in South Africa,” Lehman continues. “An additional benefit is that these initiatives will also support local content targets.”

Ammann’s associated product line

Ammann’s bitumen decanter will be locally manufactured and branded as the Ammann Kenzam Drumming Unit for the Southern African and broader African market. With a

Bitumen tank farm
36 IMIESA January/February 2023
Ammann Kenzam’s round-bottomed reaction tank unit built within a 6 m container insulated with 50 mm rockwool insulation A bitumen decanter manufactured by Ammann Kenzam

drum decanter, the bitumen is transferred from the barrels to the Drumming Unit, where it is heated before moving to a tank.

“We also plan to build a generic bitumen emulsion plant series as a price-competitive option alongside the original Premium Line produced at Ammann’s Turkey facility,” Lehman explains, adding that around 14 of these units have been sold within Southern Africa in recent years.

In turn, Ammann’s thermal heating unit can be sourced from Ammann’s factories either in Turkey or India. Designed to warm bitumen, the system features a double-line, double-pipe heating coil and can utilise all fuel types.

“Demand for these units is growing, as some consider them a greener option compared to direct heating,” Lehman expands.

Emulsion plants

From a production perspective, Ammann’s EmulTEK 4 and EmulTEK 15 units, with capacities of 4 tph and 15 tph respectively, are designed for projects where high volumes of emulsion are required for downstream applications that include tack coats (like SS 60 stable grade) between binder and wearing courses, prime coats, surface dressings, slurry sealing and microsurfacing.

For more advanced asphalt products, Ammann fields the ModiTEK – a compact, fully automatic and easily transportable polymer modified bitumen (PMB) plant housed in a 12 m container. Configured to process a wide variety of mix designs and recipes, the plant has an output capacity of up to 30 tph.

PMB units are commonly employed by roadbuilders who require durable mixes for projects that include highways and runways and are increasingly specified by roads authorities as a contractual requirement.

The market can choose between EmulTEK and ModiTEK units shipped from Turkey, as well as locally produced versions manufactured by Ammann Kenzam.

Plant retrofits

“Our operating philosophy is to add value at each stage of the asphalt manufacturing

process, from the binder to the final asphalt product. In addition to new asphalt plants, this strategy extends to include retrofit solutions for older Ammann plants, as well as other OEM units,” Lehman continues.

Standard upgrade additions like Ammann proprietary burner technologies, drums, bag filters and screw conveyors can significantly extend the life of old plants and equip them for the latest asphalt mix formulations. Plus, and depending on the age and type of plant, some can be upgraded to make them environmentally compliant.

“Together with energy savings, the initial investment will break even after a few years, depending on ensuing production volumes and standard OEM maintenance requirements,” Lehman explains.

Supporting its global subsidiary and dealer network, these refurbishment projects are managed by the Ammann Retrofit Centre, which has an expert understanding of each specific plant rebuild requirement.

Another key benefit of the Ammann Retrofit Centre is the transfer of knowledge to Ammann Kenzam, as well as allied Ammann operations worldwide. Thanks to this support, together with OEM training programmes, local technical personnel keep pace with the latest engineering developments.

“Some customers fully embrace advanced automated operations, while others prefer to

stay with more manual control. At Ammann, we cater for both, without any compromise on quality,” says Lehman.

Customers can also opt for a maintenance and service contract incorporating scheduled inspections by Ammann Kenzam technicians to ensure plants are running at their designed level of efficiency. As Lehman points out, outsourcing specialised skills is a viable option for contractors because they can focus on production.

Inventory on hand

Alongside technical service support and expertise, the foundation for class-leading OEM solutions is based on delivering parts on demand, which is a core focus for Ammann Kenzam in 2023.

“During 2023, we will continue to expand our inventory and fabrication capabilities at our Brakpan facility in Gauteng to ensure customers gain the maximum benefit from our unique turnkey and value-engineered approach,” Lehman concludes.

Bitumen decanter installation
IMIESA January/February 2023 37
The first CounterMix 120 continuous drum-mix plant configured for road-legal towing in Southern Africa

Durban’s Transformative Riverine Management strategy unfolds

During 2009, eThekwini Municipality approved the Municipal Adaptation Plan: Health, and Water. One of the items included was the need to “protect and restore riparian vegetation so as to protect the integrity of riverbanks and retain biological buffers against flooding”. This reference acknowledged the need for a renewed focus on preserving eThekwini’s ecological infrastructure to improve the city of Durban’s climate change resilience.

At the same time, the city’s engineering unit was concerned about the high incidence of blockages and damage to culverts within the eThekwini footprint. Investigations revealed that some 70% of the blockages were due to alien vegetation and 30% due to solid waste. The installation of debris walls partially helped to ease the problem. However, this didn’t address the root cause and the need for a more proactive approach was evident.

General cleaning and minor repair maintenance of the city’s culverts and roads vests with the Roads and Stormwater Maintenance (RSWM) Department, while major repairs and maintenance vest with the Coastal, Stormwater and Catchment Management (CSCM) Department.

The issue of blockages had been building for some time and, around 2007, the RSWM and CSCM began to explore ways of tackling the source of alien vegetation and solid waste within eThekwini’s river systems. This led to roundtable discussions with eight city

While engineered infrastructure plays a vital role in stormwater management, the performance of structures can be greatly enhanced by allied environmental interventions. A classic example is the Sihlanzimvelo Stream Cleaning Programme, which has served as the basis for eThekwini’s Transformative Riverine Management Programme (TRMP) Strategy, developed through C40 Cities funding.

- cutting back of vegetation

- alien vegetation control

- planting of indigenous vegetation.

departments responsible for various aspects of the stream environments. These comprised: the Environmental Health Department; Department of Water and Sanitation; Durban Solid Waste; RSWM and CSCM; the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture; the Environmental Planning Department; and the Climate Protection Department.

The first prize was to obtain collective interdepartmental funding support for the envisaged programme. However, this proved to be a challenge, so the programme was driven from inception using RSWM funding since the scope fell within the ambit of culvert maintenance.

Initiating Sihlanzimvelo Programme preparation for the Sihlanzimvelo project started in 2009, with work commencing on the ground in November 2011. The length of stream covered initially was 295 km, and later increased to 525 km.

At the onset, the project focused on the Inanda, KwaMashu, Ntuzuma and uMlazi areas, as it was not possible to implement interventions across the whole city. Clean-up programmes are run by city registered cooperatives (coops) employing members from nearby communities. The main tasks of the coops include:

- clearing of culverts and stormwater systems

- minor erosion control of embankments

- ditching to prevent water stagnation

- litter and debris removal and disposal

Each coop is given 5 km of stream to manage. The streams covered have a catchment less than 1 000 ha as this relates to a normal stream depth below knee height. The area of work is the waterway and 3 m either side of the water, with coops also required to report leaking sewers and erosion points.

The state of the coop’s length of stream is assessed each month against a set standard, with the payment scale determined by the level of maintenance achieved.

The business case and C40 CFF funding

The Sihlanzimvelo programme started to produce results and maintenance teams on the ground were recording fewer blockages to culverts, as well as less normally associated damage. These and allied benefits, like unemployment mitigation, caught the attention of city officials and the community, and presented an opportune moment to lobby for more funding to expand the initiative.

Externally, a major boost came with the provision of funding support via the C40 Cities Finance Facility (C40 CFF) for the development of a business case driven by a TRMP implementation strategy document. The business case development process was led by a business case subcommittee formed within eThekwini Municipality.

In terms of background information, the C40 CFF is made up of: the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; Deutsche Gesellschaft

38 IMIESA January/February 2023
A culvert blockage in Caversham Road, Durban, following the aftermath of the April 2022 floods

für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the British Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS); and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

C40 CFF’s primary objectives are:

- to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

- the sustainable financing of urban climate change investment projects

- developing the capacity of city administrations to mobilise and access a broad range of financing instruments

- sharing knowledge of CFF partner cities via peer-to-peer learning

- developing partnerships between cities and investors/financiers and their representations.

TRMP in practice

The TRMP approach is assumed to include an overarching ‘transformative riverine governance’ umbrella implemented by eThekwini Municipality. This provides the necessary framework for facilitating cross-sectoral and multistakeholder collaboration (including with other spheres of government) and creating enabling conditions for riverine management action across all riverine landowners in the city, namely municipal, private and traditional authority.

Biophysical riverine management interventions include both ecological restoration and management at a systems scale, aiming to improve the functionality and resilience of rivers to urban impacts and climate change. The condition and/or management of the built/agricultural landscape surrounding rivers would also be improved due to the minimisation of accelerated stormwater, sediment and pollution loads.

Cost-benefit analysis

Getting to the business case stage required the completion of a complex cost-benefit analysis (CBA) exercise. Land ownership was highlighted as one of the key factors to be considered when developing any programme intervention due to regulation restrictions.

Nine future riverine management scenarios were modelled in the CBA. These included:

- a ‘do nothing’ scenario for municipal, private, and traditional authority land in riverine areas with climate change as a driver of river impacts

- upscaling of the Sihlanzimvelo Stream Cleaning Programme on municipal land in upper catchments with climate change

- a ‘basic management’ scenario for private and traditional authority land in riverine areas with climate change

- ‘transformative management’ scenario for each of the three land ownership types with climate change impacts.

In the CBA, the costs and benefits of implementation of these different riverine management models has been estimated at a city-wide scale. In order to do this, the Ohlanga River Catchment was used, and the results extrapolated across the city.

Key findings

Studies show that many of Durban’s rivers are already severely impacted by urban and agricultural development, and pollution. Due to this, it is estimated that the ecosystem services supplied by these urban rivers are 42% below the theoretical best case and that climate change will degrade these systems further, reducing ecosystem services supply by a further 11% by 2040.

eThekwini will be directly affected, with annual damages to municipal road culverts

Municipal 23% Private 26% Traditional authority 51%
Typical stream section in need of clean-up operations Ownership distribution of streams and rivers
IMIESA January/February 2023 39
Stream sections following clean-up operations

alone due to increased climate-change-related flooding estimated at over R151 million by 2040. Declining river water quality will affect coastal tourism and property values, as well as the ability of riverine communities to access and use rivers for household water provision, crop irrigation and recreation.

The annual cost implications for the wellbeing of municipal citizens and coastal users are estimated to reach R224 million by 2040. (Only historic damage costs to culverts were available to use in this study and so it is recognised that costs indicated are lower than what will be experienced once all infrastructure damage is totalled.)

The CBAshows that if the city upscaled the existing Sihlanzimvelo programme on municipal land – approximately 1 168 km of river – this would cost the city approximately R92 million annually. The city would experience avoided damage costs to municipal culverts and road crossings of R59 million (this excludes damage to sewers, watermains and other municipal infrastructure). The societal benefits each year are estimated to be R177 million; 234 coops would be needed to do the work, which would create some 1 557 jobs. This translates to R2.60 in benefits for every R1 spent by the city. The additional green economy opportunities in terms of job creation and economic benefits have not been included.

In turn, for a city-wide TRMP, the CBA shows that an investment of R7.5 billion by the public and private sector is required over the next 20 years. This would result in an avoided cost of R1.9 billion in damage to municipal culverts and roads (this excludes damage to sewers, watermains and other municipal infrastructure), R12 billion to R24 billion in societal benefits, greater than 9 000 jobs and many additional green economy opportunities. This translates to R1.80 to R3.40 in benefits for every R1 spent.

Implementation plan

There are a few key aspects that need to be highlighted and which need to be followed for this programme to succeed at the level required to make eThekwini’s TRMP truly transformative. The rest of the details will develop as the various projects evolve and grow.

To work effectively:

• The programme must remain as flexible as possible in order to include every initiative in this space, whether it is a large or small, or short or long duration initiative.

• There needs to be a separation between the three required levels of coordination/ facilitation, the implementing agents/fund managers and on-the-ground implementers.

• There needs to be municipal coordination of the municipal programmes to maximise crosssector benefits.

• There needs to be private sector coordination to maximise cross sector benefits.

• There needs to be coordination between the private and municipal coordination hubs.

• River catchments cross municipal boundaries and so there needs to be coordination between neighbouring municipalities.

• There is no right time to start any initiative –the key is to welcome all initiatives and find a way to co-ordinate the benefits.

• Not all areas of the catchment will be covered in the short term. The key is to start somewhere, identify the gaps and find ways to facilitate the closing of these gaps.

The required funding needs are for:

• Programme management: programme design and CBA, integration, and coordination between municipal functions and with eternal entities, fundraising, research, river management partnerships and institution building, and monitoring and evaluation.

• Riverine infrastructure: grey infrastructure (canals, culverts, gabions, sand and silt removal), ecological infrastructure (riparian tree planting, agro ecology and food gardens, artificial wetlands, weirs, clean-ups) and recreational infrastructure (pocket parks, pedestrian bridges, outdoor gyms and play equipment, lighting, pathways, and benches).

• River management services: Sihlanzimvelo community-based stream cleaning, water quality monitoring and reporting faults in the sewerage system.

• Socio-economic capital: leadership development, community education and capacity-building, enterprise development, green economy including circular economy and recycling learnerships, skills development and job placement.

April 2022 floods: learnings

The rationale for the TRMP was reinforced by the devastating April 2022 floods within eThekwini, with some areas receiving more than the 1-in-200-year event rainfall for a 24-hour period. The extent and duration of the rain meant that many of our medium-size rivers flooded.

Extensive damage was experienced to infrastructure at river crossings and to services adjacent to the rivers. Analysis has shown that alien vegetation and solid waste remain the main culprits in terms of blockages, which exacerbated the ensuing damages.

Significantly, there were far fewer blockages and less damage to the streams being managed under the Sihlanzimvelo initiative, which is further proof of the benefits of a riverine management programme.


eThekwini’s business case proves that it is cheaper to proactively manage our urban river systems than to repair the damage to our grey infrastructure after every storm. It is also evident that this challenge requires government and the private sector to work together for the common good.

There are many good riverine initiatives around our country, which can add value. Currently, for example, the C40 CFF is supporting the City of Cape Town and surrounding municipalities to develop a similar programme, while GIZ is providing funding for Mbombela on a gap analysis related to stormwater and riverine management. Further afield, and also through the C40 network, Harare and Mombasa have started similar programmes.

By sharing all these experiences and findings, we can ultimately develop a universal TRMP for South Africa and Africa that combats climate change and promotes a green economy.

This is an edited version of the paper entitled ‘A transformative riverine management program: a business case for a nature-based adaptation program to protect city infrastructure and so much more…’ presented at the 2022 IMESA Conference. The full paper can be downloaded at

The eThekwini TRMP Business Case reports and studies can be viewed at knowledge-library/resources-fromdurban

*PrEng, MIMESA, senior manager: Catchment Management Engineering Unit, eThekwini Municipality
40 IMIESA January/February 2023
April 2022 flood damage in Caversham Road, Durban

Westown has development rights of approximately 517 000 m² of bulk floor area

Credit: Westown Shongweni


The upgrading of Kassier Road paves the way for the construction of the Westown development forming Phase 1A of eThekwini’s Shongweni Catalytic Project, a new 2 000 hectare economic hub situated in Durban’s Outer West region.

Infrastructure upgrades include two new bridges and a total make-over of the existing two-lane Kassier Road across the M13 and N3 into four

lanes with a centre median. A new pedestrian bridge will also be added over the N3 along with a new loop ramp and bridge over Kassier Road providing direct access into Westown.

Because of the extent of the Shongweni development and the number of sub-precincts that will come on stream over time, the Kassier Road upgrade will be implemented over stages. Stage 1 (split into sub-stages A and B) covers the 3 km section from Alverstone to Milky Way

(MR559) and Stage 2 is from Alverstone to the R103 (Old Main Road).

As the road upgrades progress, so too will the development of Westown Square (a 48 500 m² retail hub scheduled to open in 2024), with the West Private Hospital, the warehousing and logistics sub-precinct and the first tranch of residential units being phased in progressively. In total, the Westown development has rights of approximately 517 000 m² of bulk floor area.

Community participation

As part of its commitment to empowering the local community, the Westown Foundation has been set up to facilitate and amplify local socioeconomic opportunities for the surrounding communities. The initial focus, in partnership with contractors Stefanutti Stocks and the support of the local stakeholder community, is the establishment of an on-site training centre, providing skills in construction and buildingrelated trades.

According to eThekwini, the municipality will be contributing approximately R595 million towards the municipal bulk infrastructure required for Phase 1A, with the developers, Fundamentum Property Group, contributing an amount of R2 billion.

ETHEKWINI Applications - General liquid pumping - Power plants - Bulk Water - Steel mills - Refineries - Chemical plants - Cooling and heating systems Operating Range Flow - 10m³/hr up to 2500m³/hr Head - 4m up to 120m
ISO 9001.2015 +27 11 824 4810 +27 83 676 5904 26 Nagington Road, Wadeville
APE Pumps Split Case Pump

MABR in action

Fluence Corporation MABR (membrane aerated biofilm reactor) provides an improvement in aerobic wastewater treatment due to its highly efficient nutrient removal and its energy efficiency.

“During the process, oxygen is constantly supplied to the fixed nitrifying biofilm that develops on the wastewater side of the membrane while denitrification occurs in the anoxic bulk liquid. The unique MABR process provides highly efficient biological nutrient removal, resulting in operational savings and minimal footprint requirements that make decentralised treatment more feasible,” explains Lunga Patso, process engineer at MEB, the exclusive representative of Fluence Corporation in South Africa.

A conventional activated sludge (CAS) wastewater treatment process typically requires multiple chambers (anaerobic-anoxicaerobic), but MABR performs the actions in a single tank, since the membrane can achieve aerobic and anoxic conditions in the same chamber. This smaller footprint is especially useful in urban areas.

The MABR module is a spiral-wound sleeve of oxygen-permeable material. An air spacer inside the sleeve allows for low air pressure flow. There is also an external water spacer that controls the water volume that is in contact with the membrane.

It is submerged in the biological reactor where intermittent mixing from diffusers causes the wastewater to circulate through the spiral. A short mixing duration is sufficient to homogenise the contents of each stage of the spiral reactor. The aerobic biofilm develops on the surface of the membrane and its thickness is well controlled – it cannot grow beyond 300 microns.

Patso adds that it is important to note that the wastewater is not filtered through the

membrane. “The membrane provides optimum conditions for biology in wastewater. Therefore, there is no membrane clogging and fouling, no need to replace membranes every few years and no need for regular chemical maintenance. This reduces the operating expenditure of the plant. The MABR module is constructed from durable materials, ensuring more than a 20-year life expectancy.”

MABRs can be used in package plants and as a retrofit in existing CAS/AxO wastewater treatment plants to increase capacity and/or improve effluent quality.

Pilot project

eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality is placing a greater emphasis on promoting innovation, technology transfer, as well as research and development. This has resulted in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between MEB and eThekwini Water and Sanitation with the aim to assist with improving water quality issues and accelerate the process of implementing new, more efficient wastewater technologies.

The first phase of the project started in 2020, where the Aspiral™ S1 System – a full packaged plant containing fine screening, one MABR module, aerobic volume, secondary clarifier, disinfection, and control cabinet in a 20 ft container – was installed in Phoenix, Durban.

42 IMIESA January/February 2023 ETHEKWINI
To address diminishing water quality issues, greater water demand due to a growing population, and limited finances for maintaining and constructing water infrastructure, eThekwini Municipality has trialled a pioneering wastewater technology.
Lunga Patso, process engineer at MEB MABRs can be used in package plants and as a retrofit in existing CAS/AxO wastewater treatment plants to increase capacity and/or improve effluent quality

Patso explains that MABR is not a new, untested technology. “Fluence is one of three global suppliers of MABR technology, and they have over 340 installations worldwide. MEB decided to showcase the technology in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, as a platform to demonstrate the effectiveness of MABR under local conditions. The aim of the pilot project is to treat wastewater to drinking water quality.

“Currently, the effluent produced can be used for irrigation purposes. In the second phase of the project, tertiary treatment processes will be added to produce drinking water that meet SANS 241:2015,” says Patso.

Due to the pre-packaged plant design and the limited amount of civil work needed (only concrete slabs), the entire system was installed within one week.

As a fully automated system, the Aspiral™ S1 can be accessed from any location. This feature proved valuable during the Covid-19 pandemic and when there was civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal. The site could not be physically accessed for a period of two weeks, yet the system could be monitored, operated and optimised remotely.

Pre-treatment is done through coarse screening and grit removal systems. A fats, oils and grease (FOG) trap is only required for

oily wastewater with FOG concentration higher than 60 mg/ℓ

Pre-treated wastewater is pumped from an equalisation tank through a perforated 1 mm fine pre- screening and flows into the Aspiral™ S1 system where a submerged MABR module will allow for simultaneous

nitrification and denitrification processes, removing organic matter and total nitrogen pollutants from the wastewater.

“MEB is working with an independent, accredited laboratory that samples the treated effluent and provides results. As seen in the results shown in Table 1, the biofilm process protects from load shocks, low temperatures and even power disruptions,” states Patso.

The mixed liquor from the MABR stage flows into the secondary clarifier unit where it is separated into two streams: clean, high-quality effluent and sludge. Most of the produced sludge is recirculated back to the MABR process, while the rest is periodically discharged to the sludge holding tank.

Other benefits

MABR technology is extremely energy efficient due to its passive aeration. By using low air pressure, the bubbleless aeration system reduces energy consumption by up to 90% compared to conventional technologies. On average, 0.25 kWh of energy is consumed per cubic metre of wastewater treatment. This means that it can be operated with alternative energy sources, making it ideal for decentralised treatment.

“Its effective oxygen permeability leads to a high nitrification rate. Wastewater is treated to irrigation standards, BOD and nutrients are removed within a single tank, and this reduces the need for mixers required for the anoxic stage in the CAS process. The MABR module has fewer electromechanical components, making the entire system easy to operate,” states Patso.

MABR’s low odour and noise levels make the technology ‘neighbourhood friendly’. A side benefit of the MABR design is the ability to achieve up to 90% phosphorous removal without a dedicated anaerobic zone and chemical addition for this purpose. This drives down the operating expenditure on chemicals.

“MEB believes that everyone – regardless of their race, culture or background – has a right to access clean, safe and reliable water and we are proud of this pilot project that assists eThekwini Municipality to efficiently treat wastewater,” concludes Patso.

IMIESA January/February 2023 43 ETHEKWINI
Influent 2 275 1 320 44 3 300 < 0.5 45 Effluent 35 18 0.57 7.0 < 0.5 5.7 General limit (*) 75 6 25 15 10
TABLE 1 Quality of the treated effluent (mg/ℓ) COD BOD NH4 TSS NO3 TP *According to the revision of general authorisations in terms of Section 39 of the National Water Act (No. 36 of 1998), wastewater limit values applicable to discharge of wastewater into a water resource A side benefit of the MABR design is the ability to achieve up to 90% phosphorous removal without a dedicated anaerobic zone and chemical addition for this purpose A side benefit of the MABR design is the ability to achieve up to 90% phosphorous removal without a dedicated anaerobic zone and chemical addition for this purpose

Plastic litter on KZN beaches signs of a wider problem

A clean-up alliance

Plastics SA has been supporting river catchment projects in KZN for several years now, either directly or via initiatives led by Inkwazi Isu members. Interventions include education programmes aimed at local communities, recycling infrastructure, litter booms and clean-up campaigns to save the marine environment.

These projects recently received a welcome financial boost thanks to funding provided by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance), a global non-profit organisation, as part of a four-year collaboration agreement. Sasol’s financial support has also enabled Inkwazi Isu and its stakeholder partners to conduct a baseline study on the current state of waste management infrastructure.

Another exciting development has been the identification of 13 garden sites within eThekwini Municipality, which have been earmarked to be revamped into buy-back centres and drop-off sites. Two of these sites have already been completed.

It’s essential that we work with public and private stakeholders to reduce the volume of plastic waste to landfill. We also need to combat widespread incidences of illegal dumping and littering, which clearly pose a major environmental threat,” explains Douw Steyn, sustainability director at Plastics SA.

The raging floods in eThekwini during 2022 serve as a prime example. A massive deluge of litter and debris swept down rivers and ended up on various pristine KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) beaches, in the process clogging stormwater systems and damaging infrastructure.

“Research has shown that 80% of litter on beaches and in the oceans consists of

land-based waste. For this reason, Plastics SA has partnered with various initiatives geared towards keeping South Africa’s river catchment areas clean,” Steyn continues.

These partnerships include Plastics SA’s involvement in KZN’s Inkwazi Isu (Fish Eagle) Project, which has been instrumental in tackling the issue of waste in the environment. Members include Plastics SA, Association of Clean Communities, SA Healthcare Foundation, Coca Cola Beverages South Africa, Dow Chemicals, Petco, Polyco, Expanded Polystyrene Association of Southern Africa, and Sasol.

In the wake of the 2022 eThekwini floods, Plastics SA helped spearhead a plan of action to solve the waste crisis. Clean-up progammes were coordinated by Clean Surf Project (Fish Eagle Project South Coast River Catchment), Tri-Eco Travel and Tours (Durban North areas) and Durban Solid Waste.

A key success factor has been the generous donations made by plastics industries leaders such as Polyco, Petco and Safripol in terms of donating funds for the provision of the necessary equipment, such as litter bags, chainsaws, rakes, gloves and boots. Alongside the work of volunteers, waste collectors also received a daily allowance.

As an Alliance member, Sasol covered the cost of upgrading two materials recovery facilities (MRFs) geared up to process some 2 400 tonnes of plastic waste annually. A further 10 Alliance-funded MRFs are in the pipeline for eThekwini.

“Part of combatting plastic waste is the recognition of its value – in most instances – as a recyclable material. From Plastic SA’s perspective, we are firmly committed to working with communities, organisations and municipalities like eThekwini to find innovative responses,” Steyn concludes.

Working nationally, Plastics SA promotes the interests of its multifaceted industry, with a key emphasis on facilitating the circular economy. That includes driving programmes that encourage responsible disposal, with a major emphasis on recycling.
44 IMIESA January/February 2023
Douw Steyn, sustainability director, Plastics SA

Gabion stream diversion


A 3 km stream diversion completed by a joint venture between Concor and Lubocon Civils prepares the way for an expansion to the ash disposal facility (ADF) at Eskom’s Kendal power station. The diversion forms part of the JV’s contract to add 65 hectares to the ADF footprint.

The new stream is about 30 m wide and 3.5 m deep, channelling clean water around the ADF area. “It was a massive undertaking, with the installation of over 4 100 gabion baskets and almost 2 000 Reno mattresses,” explains Pierre van Vuuren, contracts manager, Concor.

At 300 mm deep, the wider dimensions of the mattresses make them ideal for creating a stable floor for the stream. In turn, the more square-shaped gabion baskets were used mainly for the stream slopes, especially where faster water flow was expected to cause erosion.

The completed rock-filled structures took approximately 120 workers over 19 months to complete. In the process, more than 42 000 t of rock was required, sourced from local quarries and crushers.

Wetland sustainability

A key concern in terms of the design was to ensure the necessary robustness of

the structure, so that it can withstand a 1-in-100-year flood. Furthermore, sustainability was an equally important component to ensure the new stream will be conducive to the natural vegetation of the wetland that it replaces.

“The base of the stream comprises wetland material, which we took from the wetland itself, while the sides are layered with topsoil. This is allowing the rapid revegetation of the stream with reeds and other aquatic life,” says Van Vuuren.

The addition of biodegradable hydromulch blankets on the sides will help to prevent erosion for the first six months after completion, with a seed spray fostering the growth of grass as a ground covering.

Four key sections

To accommodate the topography of the landscape and predicted flow rates of the stream, the diversion comprises four different ‘sections’, each with their own

design characteristics. The Type A section is lined with gabion baskets and a biodegradable blanket, prioritising the stability of topsoil to prevent erosion while facilitating the rapid growth of plants. Type B is the flatter portion of the stream, while Type C comprises 17 steps where the stream descends more steeply and water flow accelerates. Type D, similar to Type A, has wetland material at the bottom and topsoil on the sides.

The diversion of the stream has been a central aspect of the ADF expansion at Kendal, requiring the work to be carefully scheduled in accordance with environmental regulations. These rules specified that certain activities on the new ADF area could only proceed once the stream diversion was complete.

“Every aspect of this project is conducted with priority being given to the environmental aspects,” concludes Van Vuuren.

IMIESA January/February 2023 45
Construction of the stream diversion entailed the installation of over 4 100 gabion baskets and almost 2 000 Reno mattresses The stream diversion will channel clean water around the ADF area at Kendal power station The new stream diversion at Kendal power station is some 30 m wide and 3.5 m deep

Refurbishment of silo complex sets new benchmark

In constant operation since the 1940s, Pioneer Foods’ grain silo complex at its Malmesbury Mill has delivered faithful service, with the concrete standing up well to the passage of time. Now, a recent overhaul has given the silos a new lease on life.

Repairs were carried out on the spalled concrete areas of the silo complex and, in some cases, badly corroded rebar had to be removed and replaced

Specially designed scaffolding enabled the installation of the external repairs, with internal repairs carried out via rope access

After some 77 years, a degree of wear and tear can be expected on any structure, and this became evident during 2018 when large vertical cracks started to form in some areas. Given the silos’ strategic importance to sustained mill operations, an urgent

repair solution needed to be found since a complete demolition and rebuild was not possible from a time and cost perspective. Making use of the latest state-of-theart infrared and high-resolution scanning equipment, LNW Consulting Engineers and Project Managers was appointed to collect evidence of the typical distress patterns to

Due to the existing state and surface imperfections of the concrete, Sikalastic-152 was chosen as a cementitious, flexible, fibre-reinforced mortar for waterproofing and concrete protection, and was applied on the entire external surface as a protective coating

46 IMIESA January/February 2023 CEMENT & CONCRETE
Situated within the heart of the Western Cape’s Swartland region, Pioneer Foods’ mill in Malmesbury has been a distinctive landmark in this bustling agricultural town since the 1940s

complete a thorough structural analysis. The insights gained from this investigation indicated ring tension failure of the horizontal reinforcing with large areas of fatigue within the concrete walls. This information enabled the engineers to design and develop a silo rehabilitation repair methodology employing specified Sika products.

The decision was made to repair the entire silo complex, utilising external structural reinforcement methods such as horizontal carbon fibre composite strapping, along with various types of mortars, epoxies and protective coatings.

To execute the works, Redec Industrial and Engineering Solutions was appointed as the repair contractor. Specially designed scaffolding enabled the installation of the external repairs, with internal repairs carried out via rope access.

As the work would take place within an operational grain silo storage facility, it was crucial to select products and processes that would not pose a risk of food contamination or potential health and safety risks to the applicators. The silo storage levels were constantly monitored as repair work took place, and silos needing internal work had to be emptied.

Since the silos are situated next to Malmesbury Mill, innovative preparation techniques also had to be adopted to minimise dust pollution.

Crack repairs

Due to the age of the structure and its low concrete compressive strength, the evidence of cracking was extensive. These cracks needed to be reamed open, stitched and repaired. Some of the minor cracks were saw-cut and sealed with Sikaflex® PRO-3, an I-Cure polyurethane sealant with high mechanical and chemical resistance. Sika® Primer-3 N, an epoxy primer for porous substrates, was also utilised for this purpose.

Sikadur-Combiflex® SG-20 P, a high-performance movement joint and crack sealing bandage system, was applied over all expansion joints to seal and waterproof. This Sika product uses the Sikadur®-31 DW structural epoxy as its adhesive for enhanced performance.

For crack repairs on the concrete roof slab floors, Sikadur-43 ZA was used. This solvent-free, three-component repair and filling mortar was applied prior to application of the modified structural steel, which was fortified with the new SikaCem®-810 additive.

Coating application

Because all the repairs were vertically oriented, the method adopted needed to make use of either trowel-applied mortars, or a letterbox shutter and pour system. Following consultation with technical specialists at Sika South Africa, SikaTop® Armatec®-110 EpoCem® was employed as the primary rebar protective coating.

Additionally, SikaTop Armatec-110 EpoCem and Sika MonoTop®-610 were used as bonding primers for the concrete substrate. In turn, Sika MonoTop-615HB was utilised as an R4 high build repair and reprofiling mortar due to its unique Ferrogard corrosion inhibitor and excellent lightweight properties. These and other specialised Sika solutions all came together to form a highly sustainable refurbishment solution, meeting and exceeding the required 20-year design service life.

AfriSam’s slagment operation was established in 1955 and has supplied product to flagship projects that include the Gariep Dam

Cement leader champions slag


Over the years, AfriSam has accelerated its efforts to substitute clinker through the development of composite (extended) cements and in 2000 launched Project Green Cement to increase the use of extenders to promote more sustainable products.

Examples include the use of pulverised fly ash from coal-fired power stations and ground granulated blast furnace slag – a by-product of the steel industry. The use of the latter remains central to the company’s efforts to substitute clinker in its products.

“The use of extenders has resulted in a substantial 20% reduction in the company’s clinker factor since 1990,” explains Hannes Meyer, cementitious executive, AfriSam.

Ground granulated blast furnace slag has been used in the manufacture of cement since the second half of the 19th century. Back then, the practice was to intergrind it with clinker. However, in the 1950s, AfriSam’s slagment operation pioneered the use of separately ground slag for the construction industry.

A more reactive product

By evolving its chemical and mechanical activation methods, AfriSam has achieved a more reactive product, allowing the company to progressively replace more and more clinker while retaining high cementitious quality and strength performance.

“Reusing waste products from other industries reduces the amount of limestone that we have to mine and clinker that we have to produce, thus reducing carbon emissions from those processes, as well as minimising waste to landfill,” says Meyer.

“We are therefore constantly searching for new extenders and additives to further reduce our carbon footprint and our impact on the environment at large. The end result is less clinker produced per tonne of each final product, resulting in less CO₂ generated from our operations,” Meyer concludes.


Meyer, cementitious executive, AfriSam

the Association of Cementitious Material


1990 to 23% in 2000, and a substantial 41% in 2009. The industry is pressing for a 60% rise by 2030

IMIESA January/February 2023 47
Producers, clinker substitution rose from

Methods and sealing materials for effective concrete curing

To start with, water curing entails the continuous or frequent application of water through immersion, ponding, sprays, steam or saturated coverings such as burlap or sand.

Fog spraying or sprinkling with nozzles or sprays provides excellent curing when the temperature is well above freezing. Furthermore, sprinkling is effective where water run-off to surrounding areas is not a concern. However, the possible disadvantages of sprinkling are the cost of the water and equipment, as well as potential damage to the latter under site conditions. Additionally, intermittent sprinkling is not suitable

if the concrete dries between the wetting periods. Soaking hoses that discharge a slow trickle of water or a fine mist are useful, particularly on vertical or near-vertical surfaces. But the erosion of the surface should be prevented where water runs over the surface of the newly placed concrete.

Ponding or immersion

Ponding is only practical for flat slabs such as floors, culvert slabs, bridge decks, pavements, flat roofs or where a pond of water can be created by a berm or dike of earth or other material at the edge of the slab. The curing water should not be more than about 10°C cooler than the concrete, as surface temperature stresses could cause cracking.

A most effective method of water curing is total immersion of the concrete unit, but this is basically only possible with small precast units.

Burlap or hessian

Burlap, hessian and other coverings or absorbent material can be used to hold water on the surface, whether horizontal or vertical, but these materials must be free of high levels of substances (such as sugar or fertiliser) that may discolour the concrete. The burlap should also be thoroughly rinsed in water to remove any soluble substances.

The heavier the burlap, the more water it will hold, which will reduce the frequency of the wetting process. Burlap that has been treated to resist rot and fire should be considered when it is to be stored between jobs.

Double thickness of burlap or hessian, and lapping the strips by half-widths, will provide increased water retention and help prevent displacement during high wind and heavy rain.


Clean, wet sand has been effectively used for curing, especially on comparatively small sections of slab or floor. The sand should be free of particles larger than 25 mm and should not have excessive amounts of organic matter or other substances that could stain or damage the concrete.

Sand is particularly useful where operations must take place on the surface during the curing period as it will protect the surface against physical damage.

Sealing materials

Essential in achieving a quality end-result, sealing materials are sheets or membranes placed on concrete to reduce the loss of water through evaporation. Common sealing materials include plastic film and liquid membrane-forming curing compounds.

The importance of proper curing and its vital role in concrete durability are often not understood nor adequately controlled in South Africa.
Bryan Perrie discusses the various methods of water curing and subsequent sealing.
48 IMIESA January/February 2023
Bryan Perrie, CEO, Cement & Concrete South Africa

Plastic film

Plastic film is lightweight and available in various colours. However, it should be thick enough to prevent damage during use. White plastic provides substantial reflection of the sun’s rays, whereas black plastic has advantages in cold weather because of its heat absorption but should be avoided in warm weather in exterior placement.

The plastic film should be placed over the wet concrete surfaces as soon as possible without marking or damaging the surface, and should be placed so that it remains in contact with the surface during the specified curing period. If not adequately held in place, wind blowing under the film may create a wind tunnel effect, causing severe drying. For flat slabs, the film may be suspended over the concrete surface on battens until it can be placed on the surface without damage.

Liquid membrane-forming curing compounds

These compounds basically consist of waxes or resins together with solvents of high volatility at atmospheric temperatures. Pure resin and solvent compounds are more effective than those in emulsion. They can be applied by hand or power sprayer; if the project size warrants it, mechanical applications offering speed and uniformity of distribution should be considered.

Liquid membrane-forming compounds must be applied after finishing as soon as the free water on the surface has dispersed and no sheen is visible. The application must be done before the compound is absorbed into the concrete. Importantly, pigmented compounds must be adequately stirred to ensure even distribution.

Providing they are non-absorbent, the forms can be left in place and this is an acceptable method of sealing during curing. The key aspect to note though is that using steel forms left in place may result in high concrete temperature build-up in summer and very low temperatures in winter. A simple way to get around this is by releasing the forms slightly to allow a flow of water between the form and concrete to prevent such temperature extremes.

Observing these and other tried and tested techniques is the key to best-in-class concrete performance and sustainable infrastructure.


The Cement & Concrete SA School of Concrete Technology (SCT) will be running 10 standard courses in 2023. These range from basic topics such as an ‘Introduction to Concrete’ to more specialised training in various fields including ‘Concrete for Industrial Floors’ and ‘Concrete Road Design and Construction’. All the courses are presented live in Midrand, with some also scheduled for Durban and Cape Town. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points are awarded for selected courses.

On an advanced level, the UK Institute of Concrete Technology’s two highly respected Concrete Technology and Construction courses – ‘General Principles’ and ‘Practical Application’ – as well as the pinnacle of concrete training, ‘Advanced Concrete Technology’, will continue to be offered in 2023.

The SCT 2023 Training Programme can be downloaded at


Whether for new or existing developments, adequate stormwater provision has become increasingly important to combat extreme weather events and flooding, as well as protect general infrastructure.

Within this field, precast manufacturer Rocla and sister entity Technicrete (both forming part of the IS Group) continue to field purpose-designed solutions for upgrade, mitigation and repair projects across South Africa.

Recent examples within the sanitation field include the supply of Rocla’s rolling joint spigot and socket pipes for flood damage repairs to the main sewer line along Queen Nandi Drive in Durban. In total, around 41.48 m of 1 350 mm diameter pipe was supplied from Rocla’s factory in Roodepoort, Gauteng.

Hazeldean Boulevard

Various integrated IS Group solutions have also been supplied recently for the Hazeldean Boulevard upgrade, which forms part of the Riverwalk Road Project near Pretoria East. Carried out by Kwa Mhlanga Construction, the project scope aims to reduce traffic congestion between the Blyde and Silver Lakes residential estates, in addition to improving stormwater infrastructure.

Rocla supplied 1 564 interlocking joint pipes of varying sizes, while Technicrete delivered close to 7 km of Fig 7 (semi-mountable) and Fig 10 kerbs, as well as 3 500 m2 of Armorflex 180, an articulating concrete block system.

Ideally suited for lining trapezoidal channels, a distinctive feature of Armorflex 180 blocks is that they provide a loose, but sophisticated interlocking design. This allows the surface to remain flexible to movement during stormwater or flooding events, safeguarding the overall integrity of the system.

Rocla supplied rolling joint spigot and socket pipes for flood damage repairs to the main sewer line along Queen Nandi Drive in Durban An Armorflex 180 installation Rocla’s interlocking joint pipe is purpose-designed for use in stormwater applications
IMIESA January/February 2023 49




AFI Consult

Alake Consulting Engineers

ARRB Systems

Asla Construction (Pty) Ltd

BMK Group

Bosch Projects (Pty) Ltd

BVI Consulting Engineers


Corrosion Institute of Southern Africa

Dlamindlovu Consulting Engineers & Project Managers

EFG Engineers

Elster Kent Metering

EMS Solutions





GLS Consulting

Gorman Rupp

Gudunkomo Investments & Consulting

Hatch Africa (Pty) Ltd

HB Glass Filter Media


Huber Technology

Hydro-comp Enterprises

Infrachamps Consulting


IQHINA Consulting Engineers & Project Managers

iX engineers (Pty) Ltd

JBFE Consulting (Pty) Ltd

JG Afrika

KABE Consulting Engineers

Kago Consulting Engineers

Kantey & Templer (K&T) Consulting Engineers

Kitso Botlhale Consulting Engineers

KSB Pumps and Valves (Pty) Ltd

KUREMA Engineering (Pty) Ltd

Lektratek Water


Makhaotse Narasimulu & Associates

Mariswe (Pty) Ltd

Martin & East

M & C Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd



Mvubu Consulting & Project Managers

Nyeleti Consulting

Odour Engineering Systems

Prociv Consulting & Projects Management

Rainbow Reservoirs

Re-Solve Consulting (Pty) Ltd

Ribicon Consulting Group (Pty) Ltd

Royal HaskoningDHV







SBS Water Systems


Siroccon International (Pty) Ltd


Sizabantu Piping Systems (Pty) Ltd

Siza Water (RF) Pty Ltd

Sky High Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd

SKYV Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd



Southern African Society for Trenchless Technology

SRK Consulting

Star Of Life Emergency Trading CC

TPA Consulting

V3 Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd

VIP Consulting Engineers


Water Institute of Southern Africa

Wam Technology CC

Wilo South Africa





Malaysian factory now SHIPPING GLOBALLY

Targeting key export markets, Singapore-based OEM Lintec & Linnhoff recently ramped up production at its new manufacturing facility in the state of Johor, Malaysia. Linnhoff containerised asphalt mixing plants and Eurotec concrete batching plants manufactured there are destined for regions that include South-East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The current facility, which covers an area of 8 258 m2, represents the first of three planned development phases for the 26 199 m2 site. Phase 2 is now underway, adding another 7 140 m2 of factory space.

Phase 3 of the development will further expand the open-yard area for storage of stock plant and components, as well as create more space to conduct rigorous testing and erection of multiple plants before they are delivered.

The first unit to roll off the production line was a Eurotec ECO60 concrete plant, which was shipped to a customer in Madagascar. The second order was for a Eurotec Ecotec ECT60 concrete plant and a Linnhoff TSD1500 MobileMix asphalt plant, which were supplied to a customer in Papua New Guinea.

A section of the Johor factory floor completed during Phase 1 of a three-phase development Lintec & Linnhoff Holdings’ Daniel Chan (left), chairman, and Tan Suan Yap, executive director, performing the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 2 of the Johor factory in Malaysia
IMIESA January/February 2023 51
Plant assembly in progress

KS B shares TECHNICAL INSIGHTS with munic ipalities

in countries like China, Indonesia, and Mexico, among others – were also shared.

KSB Pumps and Valves in South Africa again made its expertise available to local municipalities and water authorities following a fact-finding tour by Emilio de Paz, a KSB global specialist based in Germany, who visited and assessed various plants across the country.

The in-depth programme culminated in a two-day conference in Durban between 22 and 23 November 2022, which was attended by delegates that included role players from disaster-hit eThekwini, as well as from further afield in KwaZulu-Natal. Municipal and consulting engineers, as well as specialists from various water and wastewater utilities, were also in attendance.


“There were more than 100 attendees with 85 on-site and 24 online participants on day one, with nearly all returning the following day, which indicates the quality of the information shared,” says Hugo du Plessis, acting market area manager: Water, Wastewater and Irrigation, KSB Pumps and Valves.

Process optimisation

Discussions ranged from general topics to highly technical issues such as water hammer, cavitation and free passage of pumping systems, as well as the design of pump stations and sumps for maximum efficiency and reliability. The findings from operations across the globe – including complex systems

“Emilio delivered a hard-hitting technical presentation on ‘Wastewater Pump Station Design’ on day one and followed up with an equally informative presentation on ‘Water Transport Systems’ on the last day. This type of knowledge is hard to find and visits like this help us to share knowledge across the country and ensure our customers have access to the highest possible expertise when dealing with water distribution and wastewater issues,” Du Plessis explains.

Adds De Paz: “It was a great interaction and it’s clear that our products and services are already well known in the industry. It’s currently a matter of encouraging municipalities and utilities to engage with us to address present and future challenges.

“In some instances, big gains can be made with comparatively small changes… in these instances, we can assist with immediate remedial action,” De Paz concludes.

Afrisam South Africa 2 APE Pumps 41 ARRB Systems 19 Gabion Baskets OFC IMESA 4, 50 & IBC Isuzu Trucks 14 KSB Pumps & Valves 20 Mapei South Africa 17 Megapile 12 Plastics SA OBC Rand Water 29 Sizabantu Piping Systems IFC Zutari 27 INDEX TO
52 IMIESA January/February 2023
Emilio de Paz, global specialist at KSB
ABSTRACTS SUBMITTED BY 10 March 2023 | tel +27 031 266 3263 CATEGORIES Contact Melanie Stemmer for an entry form or download it from the website. • Buildings, Structures and Housing • Ecological, Environmental and Social • Financial, Legal and Regulatory • Electrical and Electronic • Water and Sanitation • Transport, Roads and Stormwater t: +27 (031)266 3263 e: IMESA ORGANISER THE INSTITUTE OF MUNICIPAL ENGINEERING OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (IMESA) CONFERENCE ENDORSED BY ABSTRACTS 25-27 October 2023 86 TH IMESA Conference BOARDWALK HOTEL Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) Call for

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook

Articles inside

Building a capable construction sector requires a uniform approach

pages 18-20

KS B shares TECHNICAL INSIGHTS with munic ipalities

page 54

Malaysian factory now SHIPPING GLOBALLY

page 53


page 51

Methods and sealing materials for effective concrete curing

pages 50-51

Cement leader champions slag TO REDUCE CLINKER FACTOR

page 49

Refurbishment of silo complex sets new benchmark

pages 48-49

Gabion stream diversion ENABLES ASH DUMP EXTENSION

page 47

Plastic litter on KZN beaches signs of a wider problem

page 46

MABR in action

pages 44-45


page 43

Durban’s Transformative Riverine Management strategy unfolds

pages 40-43

A holistic asphalt solution UNDER ONE BRAND

pages 38-39

SARF funds to upskill women civil engineers at metros

page 37

RECORDING ACCURATE hydrostatic measurements

page 36


pages 34-36

Using data to fix SA’s WATER CHALLENGES

page 33

From load-shedding to water-shedding: MITIGATING THE CHALLENGES

page 32

Catch the rain

page 31


page 30

Talking about BIM to chatGPT –getting the perspective from AI

pages 28-30

Vital project delivers new homes for informal settlement families

pages 27-28

ASSET MANAGEMENT FORUM proposed for iLembe district

page 26


pages 24-25


page 23

Automation helps map out SAFER, WELL-MAINTAINED ROUTES

page 21


pages 19-20

requires a UNIFORM approach Building a CAPABLE construction sector

pages 18-19

RELIABILITY AND INTEGRITY Megapile’s solid foundation is built on

pages 14-17

Thinking outside the box GABION BASKETS EXPANDS THE BOUNDARIES of environmental engineering

pages 8-13


page 7


page 5
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.