From the President’s Desk
Message from SAIA’s President: Q2/2017
Supporting our Members & Promoting Architecture within our Communities
Dear Fellow Architects
It’s hard to believe that we are already into the 2nd Quarter of 2017 and perhaps the time has flown due to us having been very busy over the past months dealing with many issues of concern to our membership related to the promotion of Architecture.
Without doubt the issue taking up most of our energy has been relations between our Members and SACAP. Over the years there have been the usual grumblings about registrations and de-registrations, CPD points, and difficulty in receiving responses to queries. However things have come to a head more recently, and in particular brought to my attention, when in late November I took over the SAIA presidency. I was requested to sign an MOU to enable SAIA to continue working with SACAP as a Voluntary Association (VA). There had been resistance to the MOU from a number of Regions for a variety of reasons, with some taking legal opinion on the matter. After consultation, I signed the MOU covered by a codicil stating that various contested clauses within the MOU would default to the Architectural Professions Act 44 of 2000 (The Act).
It must be remembered that this MOU was not the first one to be signed between SACAP and the VAs. The previous one, largely consistent in wording, was signed by SAIA and all of its regions in 2010.
SAIA had arranged earlier in the year to meet with SACAP to discuss the MOU and other relationship issues. This meeting (10 March attended by Kevin Bingham, Maryke Cronje, Jan Ras and Obert Chakarisa) happened to coincide with the posting a week earlier of a petition against SACAP and its Council, by a group called “Architects 4 Change”. Many of the signatories in support of this petition are our members.
Your Management Committee resolved to first pursue a consultative approach with SACAP, as required under The Act, as many of the complaints levied against SACAP related to their non-compliance under the very same Act. The meeting was productive and included the raising of a number of issues listed by SAIA’s Practice Committee. As SACAP had rejected our afore mentioned codicil and produced a new version of the MOU, we were informed at the end of this meeting that, should we not sign the new MOU, we would not be permitted to attend VA Forum scheduled for 11 April 2017.
In the interests of good governance, we referred the MOU matter to SAIA’s Lawyers for an impartial review of The Act, SACAP and SAIA’s mandates, and some of the points raised by SAIA’s Practice Committee, represented at the meeting with the Lawyers by Simmy Peerutin, Chair of Practice. The recommended legal opinion received was that we should not sign the MOU as it placed the VAs in a position beyond that intended by the Act and gave SACAP additional leverage over the VAs. This advice received was conveyed to SACAP and was followed by the postponing of the planned VA Forum.
Your SAIA Regional Representatives requested that SAIA address these problems to the Minister of Public Works, and acknowledge selected allegations raised by the afore-mentioned petition. A letter was drafted by the Regional Reps at a meeting in Johannesburg on 11 April 2017 and submitted to the Minister of Public Works, after legal review, on 18 April.
We have also been made aware that a number of our members have received legal challenges from SACAP in regard comments attributed to the petition. While I have not seen these ‘charges’, they remain a concern. These seem likely to be the product of the current conflict and need urgent attention. SAIA have previously stated on a number of occasions that we uphold freedom of speech. However, we caution our Members to be mindful of possible slanderous accusations and to ensure that allegations are well founded. All allegations must be backed with proof, and while I understand the frustrations of some, your Institute’s focus and ability in supporting you will largely be on the basis of principle.
So what has the petition achieved? While such action can create major discomfort for both sides of the argument, with attack and defence levelled from all quarters, I feel that in this case it has brought a long-standing niggle to the fore, and will result in an improved situation going forwards. After all, it is the Architect that should best know what is required in good practice and be able to offer advice to a well-structured regulatory body.
We will continue to seek a path forwards to achieve a working solution with SACAP – we have to, as we are currently regulated in this manner. I have offered our services for achieving success in the areas that have to date failed, viz. IDoW and Fees. Remember SAIA’s Vision Statement: “…Authoritative Leaders in the Built Environment.”
I hope to keep you informed with some positive ramifications. I remain optimistic for the future in this regard.
In light of SAIA’s commitment at UIA2014 to pursuing accessibility for all, I have met with the CEO of the Quadriplegic Association of SA (QASA) [http://www.qasa.co.za/index.php], Ari Seirlis, to brief him on steps made in introducing Universal Design into Schools of Architecture and Interior Design in KZN, largely through the efforts of Architect Iqbal Naroth.
Iqbal has also presented design information talks to practicing Architects in the province, and our wish is to role these out to the Regions. Architects (and regions) interested in learning more in this regard may contact me for a contact number for Iqbal.
We are also fortunate to have the knowledge of Cape Town based Architect, Phillip Thompson, who represents SAIA on the SABS steering committee on Part S of the building regulations.
SAIA-COROBRIK REGIONAL AWARDS
The call for submissions for the regional entries of the SAIA-Corobrik Awards is currently under way, and all are encouraged to consider entering their projects. I had the honour of being the convenor of the 2016 national round of these awards and was astounded at the quality of the work on show. In a mad-rush environment, driven most often by economics, there are gems of Architecture being crafted by our Members. We can be suitably proud!
WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION (ARCHITECTURE) AWARD
Nominations for these awards closed last week. While there are varying opinions on these awards, it is first pertinent to consider the value that women, often quietly so, have brought to our profession over the years, perhaps with little acknowledgement. It is also important to factor into our thoughts that it was women in the construction industry who initiated this programme some years ago, and for the first time have invited nominations from and for women Architects.
It is the recognition through an award that is important here – not some of the prizes on offer.
I wish all of the nominees the very best of luck and thank you all for your worthy contributions.
SAIA BOARD & STAKEHOLDER MEETINGS IN THE REGIONS
In keeping with our commitment to visit the Regions, their Members, and local Stakeholders, we had a successful SAIA Board meeting in Cape Town on 23 February. We thank Regional President, Kevin Gadd, for his hospitality, and are encouraged and appreciative of the major role that the Cape Architects play in guiding of our Institute.
Our forthcoming Regional visit is to the Eastern Cape, scheduled for 24/25 May. I encourage all members and friends in the Eastern Cape to await the formal invitation, and hope to see you there in May.
As before, I welcome input from all of our Membership. Please feel free to email at: email@example.com should you have any constructive criticism or feedback. I will do my best to respond to all correspondence as soon as possible.