SAIMC


SAIMC: Durban branch

February 2023 SAIMC

The Durban branch of the SAIMC held their AGM on Wednesday 25 January at the Premier Splendid Inn in Pinetown. The turnout was good and the branch committee was impressed by how few ‘no-shows’ there were. Branch General Manager, Mark Calvert was unfortunately ill so Branch Secretary John Owen-Ellis ran the meeting and presented Mark’s annual report on his behalf. Finance guru Kevin McElroy presented the annual accounts, which reflected a healthy trading position despite much of the branch’s income having been affected by the years of COVID.

After John and Kevin presented their respective reports, SAIMC CEO Johan Maartens took to the floor and gave a very comprehensive overview of the ECSA registration progress, and an update on further discussions with them about the creation of a recognised Automation qualification. Johan followed up by reminding the meeting that, with last year’s change in legislation mandating compliance with the Identification of Engineering Work, it is extremely important for us all to be aware of the new requirements and to register with ECSA if we are doing specified engineering work. He also offered to visit the branch if members need assistance with applying for ECSA registration. This discussion was well received and led to a lively debate about who would be liable in the case of engineering work going wrong. Johan pointed out that the onus now falls on the individual, who may suffer severe penalties, with the possibility that the employer might be largely absolved from accountability. The debate served to highlight many uncertainties, but it was clear that having work done by ECSA-registered people, whose actual capabilities had been approved after scrutiny by a group of experienced peers, is intended to reduce the risk of someone doing work exceeding their capability.

The debate continued long after both the meeting had concluded and the meal was enjoyed, and will take place again in future.

The Durban branch once again set the standard by using a fully digital nomination and election process for the 2023 management team. The very static constitution of the Durban branch management team over the last few years remains a concern but it was pleasing to see some new names being put forward this time around.

On behalf of Mark, John thanked the 2022 management team for their dedication and enthusiasm in running the branch, especially as things recover from the setbacks of the past two years.

The new committee was announced as follows: Donald Hlubi, Howard Lister, John Owen-Ellis, Jane van der Spuy, Kevin McElroy, Mark Calvert, and Siyabonga Mbamali.

Office bearers will be elected at the next branch committee meeting, and as part of the succession planning of the branch, the tradition of using four additional mentees to be co-opted to the committee will continue.

These mentees will be: Prof Askshay Saha,Marthel Mhlanga, Anil Lonappan, and Lee Naidoo.

Johan highlighted the need for greater involvement of end users in SAIMC activities. He urged branches to seek more presentations from end users at technology evenings, where they could share their experience of automation projects and maintenance work at their plants. More talks at technology evenings need to be evaluated for CPD points. He also emphasised the need for branches to get category C representatives from end users in their region to serve on an SAIMC Advisory Council.


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