Editorial : The AA Collective rejects participation in "Construction Mafia"

..."as well as the voluntary business organisations (sic) for quantity surveyors and architects could participate..."

Here's news for some of you that may have read this piece in Creamer Media's Engineering News.

Architects do not belong to the "Construction Sector"(1) and there is no such thing as a voluntary business organisation for architects. Architects belong only to the Architectural Profession and it is their responsibility, role, function and duty in society to oversee, control and manage the Building Sector - not to hold hands with it.

Architecture is, has always been, and will always be an Art and a Science - not a technical skill or a business as the less informed appear to think. Let that be clear to those who have no notion of the role South African architects play in our society.

For this reason alone joining hands with a politically (or otherwise) motivated organisation is not a viable option for Architects (and Quantity Surveyors - bearing in mind that in our system architects and QS's are "brothers in arms").

The president of Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa), Felix Fongoqa, should tread carefully on his mission to "build up numbers" to fight off ill advised and ill conceived moves by the South African government to rupture and control the built environment professions.

The built environment professions' organisations are fully able to represent themselves at all levels through their own established organisational structures. The fact that many such professional organisations may have felt the negative impact of recent years does not preclude them from re-structuring and reforming. This is already under way - it is certainly the case in the Architectural Profession, which is fully able to exercise its Collective Will(2) without joining hands with people that make security fencing and weld pipes together.

Architecture has no place in Power politics - Architecture is a high ground ethical profession way above the corrupt battlefield of politics and construction economics. Whilst we live with the everyday reality that most politicians the world over are crooks there can be no such thing as a corrupt architect: the price to society and the economy would be unbearable.

Our independence must be preserved - always, and at any cost. It is this very independence that preserves and protects the single most valuable asset we offer society: our ethics.

Pedro Buccellato
Architect Africa Collective

(1) This is akin to saying that lawyers belong to the "Criminal Sector".
(2) If the architects of South Africa went on a month long strike (which is their constitutional right) the country's economy would collapse simply because no Certificates would be issued. No other profession has that power - or that responsibility. But, of course, you would have to be an architect to understand this concept as few seem to grasp the contractual function associated with the role of the South African architect.