June News from KZNIA President

DATE: 20th June 2012

Nina Saunders


Regional institute members often query the value of the national body, the South African Institute for Architects.  As members are signed up with the regional institutes and most of the interface happens on a regional level, the value of SAIA needs to be better communicated.  

There is enormous value in national representation, particularly in dealing with government and with associated built environment fraternities or regulatory authorities.  Great strides, for example, have been made with the Department of Human Settlements through the Habitat and Heritage Portfolio and initiatives like the Tsela Tshweu (Faster, harder, smarter – towards a shared vision for humane settlements).

In the final quarter of this year, SAIA will be undertaking a national road show to discuss the revised Constitution and SAIA delivery.

Through SAIA, we also have representation on various international bodies, like the AUA (African Union of Architects), the UIA (International Union of Architects), the CAA (Commonwealth Association of Architects and ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites). 

More recently Fanuel Motsepe was recently included in the delegation which travelled to India to the BRICS meetings, in his capacity as the SAIA President. Below in an interview with myself to find out more about the trip and its implication for architects. 

Nina Saunders interviews Fanuel Motsepe, President South African Institute of Architects, on his trip to India to attend the BRICS Meeting in April 2012.

Nina Saunders: What was the main aim of SAIA attending the BRICS meeting in Dehli, India at the end of March 2012?

Fanuel Motsepe: SAIA has historically not accompanied a South African President on international collaboration visits of this nature. As such SAIA has historically not been proactive in broadening our fraternity’s socio-political and economic benefits at an international level other than engaging within the CAA, UIA and AUA for what amounts to administrative organizational matters of the profession.

The BRICS Business Summit in India seeks to consolidate stronger trade relations between and within the countries of the BRICS Grouping. It is in the interest of SAIA to be an international “mover and shaker” on as high profile a level as the Summits where Presidents, Ministers, Conglomerates etc develop and implement decisions that impact locally and globally on our professions role in society and towards our members. 


NS: Did you engage with architectural institutes from Brazil, Russia, India, China?

FM: Given that all the countries of the BRICS Grouping have prioritized industrialization and infrastructure development as economic drivers, all attending countries were encouraged to ensure attendance of all relevant representatives of built environment professions and industries. 

I briefly met a representative from CESA, but my attempts and efforts to meet with BRICS sister institutes and or BRICS BEP representatives were unsuccessful. The DTI has advised that SAIA needs to be more expedient in requesting the DTI to facilitate meetings between BRICS, BEP’s and Institutes well in advance. 

I was approached by contractors who are looking to broaden their foothold in Africa or to enter the continent. 

As mentioned above, sadly I did not manage to meet fellow institutes within the BRICS Grouping but the DTI has advised that SAIA make requests for such opportunities well in advance for the DTI to facilitate. 


NS: Where do you see the benefit to the Construction Industry in the BRICS alliance?

FM: The BRICS Grouping is pillaring their economic development on industrialization and infrastructure development. I foresee:

  • Inter – BRICS knowledge and skill exchange and transfer.
  • SAIA’s legacy initiative to increase the number of architects can benefit through Corporate Members (CM) collaborating with commensurate practice firms to allow their technologists and draughtspersons international office based-training which will also provide international exposure.
  • Inter – BRICS BEP agreements being entered into to develop mutually benefiting international policies for work opportunities, which will open freer but regulated systems of engagement.
  • Immediate opportunities are in the offering for BRAZIL’s 2014 FIFA World Cup and RIO’s 2016 Olympic events.

NS: What is required for the built-environment sector to be effectively represented at the BRICS summit? 

FM: RSA’s built environment industries and professions can be better represented at the BRICS Summit by caucusing well in advance prior to such summits. BRICS needs to be topical at the BEP and DPW forums where SAIA participates.

It would be most rewarding if these forums develop strategies and systems that can tap into the prospects within BRICS Grouping and also forecast what threats and weaknesses there are or may be and how to address these e.g. China’s entry into Africa bringing consultants and builders from China.


NS: How can SAIA position itself to take advantages offered by these economic alliances and of the opportunities that are being rolled out by the Expanded Public Works Programme outlined in the State of the Nation address?

FM: SAIA needs to draw closer ties with the likes of BBCBE and SABTACO over and above the BEP and DPW forums. SAIA needs to have collaborations with these HDI organizations to bolster SAIA’s Transformation initiatives and reputation. By this I mean SAIA needs one-on-one collaborations and or MoUs or MoAs with such organizations and not only through the RSA’s BEP and DPW facilitations.

Perhaps most important is that through engaging at this level SAIA also wins the confidence of our country’s government, which will see SAIA as a partner with government. 

NS: Thank you, Fanuel




Monday 25th June @ 5:30pm KZNIA Journal Editorial Board

This is an opportunity for the membership to contribute ideas for upcoming KZNIA Journal issues.  Please forward any recommendations to me via admin@kznia.org.za by Monday 12 noon on June 25th.


Tuesday 3rd July @ 4:00pm UIA 2014: Durban Organising Committee Meeting

In August  2014, the largest architectural gathering that has ever happened in sub-Saharan African takes place in Durban.  Since September 2011, after the official hand-over from the Japanese at the UIA 2011 event in Tokyo, the Durban 2014 event is swinging into action.  Come and find out how this event impacts on the profession, on the City and how you can be involved.



Wednesday 18th July @5:30pm Awards of Merit Review

After recommendations forwarded by the KZNIA and supported by other regions, SAIA is reviewing the Awards of Merit Programme.  The national body has requested that regional institutes forward recommendation to them for consideration or incorporation into a revised Awards of Merit and Award of Excellence Programme. All interested members are requested to attend.



Thank you.

Nina Saunders

KZNIA President