Time to hand over the reins
It is with mixed feelings that I write this, my last Presidents letter. Sad, because I really enjoyed the privilege of leading such an esteemed organisation and helping it find a new identity, but excited, because we have young new blood taking over, who I am sure will take the organisation to even greater heights.
It has been a fantastic three years in the hot seat with many exciting and significant achievements. From the strategy session, to the new logo and then the exciting re-launch, 2013 was an historic year for the SAIMC. The team of councillors who bravely implemented these changes, when there was a lot of resistance from some quarters; need to be commended on that achievement! Then came the modern look and feel of the Gala Dinner at a fresh new venue which replaced the colonial feel of the Rand Club. The Gala Dinner has now become the premier event on the C&I calendar, if not the voluntary association calendar. Thereafter, a number of major achievements for the organisation followed in 2014 and 2015.
The opening of the University of Pretoria’s SAIMC Control Laboratory took place in February 2014 at an event with great pomp and ceremony that included the vice-chancellor of the university. The SAIMC supported the Tshwane University of Technology with starting up the First Technology Challenge for secondary school children, whilst continuing to support the First Lego League for primary schools. A UP final year student benefitted with equipment to the value of R100 000 through the intervention of the SAIMC and its generous Patron members. The SAIMC team has become a regular participant in the UNESCO Engineering Week which is organised by ECSA and held at universities around the country. For both years of the event (2014 & 15) the SAIMC has had the busiest stand.
In September 2014, the SAIMC was proudly present when the minister of higher education and training unveiled the skills development plan related to the strategic infrastructure projects (SIPs) called 'Skills for and through SIPs'. Many months of work were undertaken by the SAIMC team in collaboration with ECSA, DHET and SAIEE in developing the C&I portion of the Electronic Engineering section. Practical training for graduates was emphasised in this document for C&I, automation as well as for MES/MIS specialisation. C&I was identified as an area of formal specialisation in this document. Engagement with the Energy and Water SETA resulted in the development of the: Occupational Certificate for Instrument Mechanician, NQF Level 5 during 2014.
Then came a breakthrough achievement for the C&I industry: the SAIMC spearheaded the formation of the SABS TC 165: Industrial – Process Measurement, Control and Automation technical committee. Traditionally C&I specifications were handled by the Electrical Engineering TC, so this was a major step for the C&I industry as it came out from under the shadow of electrical engineering and took a further step towards having C&I recognised as the 10th engineering discipline by ECSA.
2015 was yet another hallmark year with the highly successful Africa Automation Fair being staged in May. The SAIMC was intimately involved with the rebranding and conceptualisation of this modern show of international standard. The remainder of 2015’s achievements were highlighted in last month’s letter, so I won’t elaborate on those.
I would like to thank the various councillors who supported me during my term from 2013, without them none of these achievements would be possible. They will continue to increase the value proposition of the SAIMC to its various member categories over the coming years. I would like to thank my wife Yashika for putting up with all my time commitments during this tenure, it was not easy for her but she made it easy for me!
Finally, I would like to wish Oratile Sematle, our incoming President, all the best for his tenure in 2016 and beyond. I am sure he will achieve those objectives that I was unable to with support from an ever-stronger council. MDs of companies are now joining council.
With these words, I bid you all adieu as President of the SAIMC, one last time.
As usual, please mail me your thoughts on firstname.lastname@example.org. I thank you all for taking the time to read this column over the past three years.
Working together, achieving more,
Vinesh Maharaj, President.
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