Tuesday 13 April 2021
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New engineering society coming

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-1-14-41-pm screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-1-14-56-pmA new engineering association, christened the society of Namibian technical professionals, is in the offing.
The association will also have a social responsibility arm called Engineers Without Borders Namibia (EWB-NA) which will be mandated to rally Namibian engineers in adopting a spirit of volunteerism and attend to the socio-economic needs of Namibia.
The Society of Namibian Technical Professionals (SONATEP), an association of Namibian technical professionals (engineers, technicians and artisans) was founded on 13 September 2014 as a non-profit organization, whose main purpose is to attend to collective grievances in the engineering and other technical professions in Namibia.
Its highest decision making body will be known as the executive committee which will comprise of all founding Members, chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary general, treasurer, liaison Officers, secretary for the eradication of discrimination.
Its secretary general Rachel Kakololo said: “One of the challenges faced by engineering graduates is not only finding placement in a competent company but getting the relevant engineering experience to enable them to register in full.
There are no comprehensive practical training modalities in place, resulting in superficial training. SONATEP will look at countering these challenges in order to bring about drastic improvements. Knowledge transfer between registered and junior engineers is almost non-existent.”
She stressed that the infusion of young engineers into the industry is an urgent matter as most of the incumbent engineers will retire within the next 10 years according to Engineering Council of Namibia registry database.
She noted that the lack of black representation in top management positions in major engineering firms is also a cause for concern.
The National Equity Report for the 2014/2015 review period indicates that although blacks occupied by far the majority of employees in the construction industry, with very few of them holding top level positions.
According to Kakololo, the national infrastructure development budget of Namibia illustrates that the engineering sector is at least at this point entering into a growth phase and thus more engineers are needed to meet the growing demand.
“In order to achieve this, stakeholders need to invest in training and make the profession accessible to the broader demographic profile of the country,” she said.
“Through EWB-NA, the society will provide a platform that will allow both technical field students and graduates the opportunity and atmosphere to develop their skills and design projects that address real world problems in their communities.
Levelling the playground as well as challenging reckless policies for the greater good of technical professionals in Namibia is at the heart of the founding of SONATEP,” she said.
SONATEP chairperson Charles Mukwaso said the association intends to apply all necessary and available resources into flashing out all stumbling blocks to clear the way for local professionals to prosper and give back to their country.
“We call upon the young people of Namibia to join SONATEP, including white Namibians who believe in their country, and the few black engineers who are now well established – unfortunately it doesn’t end there. Let us all abandon the unconstructive mindset of misinterpreted “intellectual property” regarding the knowledge freely left for us by the selfless founding fathers of science and technology such as,” said Mukwaso.
He said the society will also attend to collective grievances in the engineering and other technical professions in Namibia.
“The society has postponed its launch numerous times since 2014 due to work commitments of its officers. However, since the recent media revelations of a certain Mr. Strauss’ unfortunate, unprofessional, racist and sexist views, a cancer whose cure is at the core of SONATEP’s foundation, it was deemed necessary to finally put the society on the launching pad without delay so that it can get to work right away,” Mukwaso said.
He added:
“We would like to encourage Mr. Strauss to apologise to the nation for promoting racism through his unprofessional conduct towards Ms. Ankita Ndakukamo, whom I have spoken to. Unfortunately, these are the realities facing many young Namibian professionals every day and we would like to persuade the government to investigate possible non-compliance with the Affirmative Action legal framework by Mr. Strauss. Anyone who complies with the AA would never utter such ignorance as he did.”

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