Implications for the architectural profession in DPW Minister Nxesi’s recent Budget Vote Speech

Reflecting on last week’s Budget Vote Speech of the Department of Public Works (DPW) made by Minister Nxesi, the Registrar and CEO for the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) Ms Marella O’Reilly says it is clear that the architecture profession is being protected as a scare skill and will be a beneficiary in the roll out of Government’s Expanded Works Programme (EWP).

EWP is one of government’s array of programmes aimed at providing poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed. Government has committed to ensuring 6 million public employment opportunities by 2019. This target is in line with the imperatives set out in the National Development Plan (NDP).

She points to Minister’s Nxesi’s statement that “The DPW Bursary Programme seeks to create a pool of skilled potential future employees in areas identified as critical and that it ensures that graduating bursary recipients are provided with practical work experience and opportunities to develop their careers.

“It is encouraging,” says the Registrar, “to hear that the internship programme aims to expose youth to real work situations and ultimately enable them to acquire skills and registration with relevant professional bodies. Like all professions, we need this.

SACAP receives its mandate from the Architectural Professionals Act No 44 of 2000 and falls under the purview of DPW. SACAP is one of DPW’s built environment councils and regulates the architecture professionals, as well as supports the broader built environment and its projects.

Furthermore Ms O’Reilly comments: “Its target is to increase to three hundred of them in the short term. The architectural profession plans to access its share of these learnerships. We hope that in its effort to address scarce skills, the Department will indeed intensify its recruitment of interns into DPW’s Architecture Unit as this will feed the profession in the long term.”

Meanwhile solid and exciting work opportunities have been created for professionals through “government’s infrastructure investment - a key priority of both the National Development Plan and the New Growth Path. “As many are aware,” she says “this is especially true in Kwa Zulu Natal currently. The Inkululeko Development Project (Ndumo) situated in the Jozini Municipality is a multi-year programme with a total budget of R1.6bn and provides work for the profession.

The Minister pegged this year’s total DPW’s budget at R1.43 billion, of which just over R 425 million will be spent on infrastructure programmes.

“SACAP’s strategic plans and objectives are aligned with the imperatives of the NDP. We consider our profession an enabler of realising its vision,” explains Ms O’Reilly.

“Architects ignite the design process of inspired projects such as those undertaken by DPW, and can be seen as the apex of the value chain hierarchy which sees their successful roll out,” she maintains of the profession she serves.

She pointed to the Minister’s statement that “The Department has actively marketed its bursary programme in tandem with the Office of the Premier.

“SACAP’s intention is to work with the office to carve out a share of these bursaries to resource its projects, such as the soon to be launched Women in Architecture (WiASA) programme.”

For more information on SACAP please visit: