School of Engineering


Lecture Series Builds Knowledge on Engineering Infrastructure

UKZN’s Discipline of Civil Engineering teamed up with the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and SANLAM Life to present a series of lectures on engineering infrastructure that featured a line-up of top speakers who covered a range of topics over 10 weeks.

Developed by UKZN’s Dr Justin Pringle and Dr Christina McLeod, it was the first time the lecture series had been presented. There was an average attendance of 250 participants over the 10 weeks, who included UKZN staff, students and industry experts. With attendance compulsory for final year Civil Engineering students, the series also offered Continued Professional Development (CPD) points for participants to contribute to advancing their engineering careers.

Focusing on all aspects of civil engineering, from water to transportation, several experienced civil engineers from various organisations provided insight into their careers and fields of expertise to educate students about what to expect in their chosen career path, with staff from UKZN moderating the sessions and discussion. Of the 12 presenters, 10 were UKZN alumni.

Mr Christopher Maine of GIBB Engineering and Architecture began the series by delivering a project review on the Lower Umkomaas Water Extraction project, followed in the second week by SAICE Fellow and independent consultant Mr Carlos Esteves; who spoke about the Go! Durban project and his almost four decades of experience working on projects that included World Cup 2010 transportation and the Durban Port expansion.

SANRAL Regional Manager Mr Dumisani Nkabinde spoke in the third week about the N2/N3 Freeway Management System, followed by eThekwini Municipality’s Ms Kemira Naidoo, who spoke on modelling the Agulhas Current. Mr Gert van Schalkwyk of SMEC SA spoke on the Msikaba River Bridge, followed by Mr Neil Oliver of Lifecycle Green, who delivered a technical presentation on facilitating sustainable development by modelling the benefits.

Mr Mishlin Pillay and Ms Suvarna Maharaj, structural engineers from Arup, shared a project review on Umhlanga Arch and the Baha’i House of Worship.

The following week Mr Geoff Tooley of eThekwini Municipality gave a technical talk on sustainable urban drainage systems in South Africa. The penultimate presentation was by Bosch Projects’ Mr Peter Tooley and Ms Jeshika Ramchund, who gave a project review on Fumba Town, Zanzibar, highlighting that the future of living is resilient and self-sufficient.

The final presentation was by Professor Jeff Smithers, Umgeni Water Chair of Water Resources Research and Innovation and Director of UKZN’s Centre for Water Resources Research who delivered a project review on the current state of the Flood Studies Programme.

Academic Leader of Civil Engineering at UKZN Professor Mohamed Mostafa said the Discipline plans to repeat the lecture series this year with new speakers and projects. This is part of a plan to expand the UKZN civil engineering footprint in KwaZulu-Natal and beyond.

Words:Christine Cuénod

Images: Supplied