ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION IN CRISIS-MEDIA STATEMENT

10 August 2018

MEDIA STATEMENT:

ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION IN CRISIS

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF THE PRESIDENT OF SACAP COUNCIL AND THE APPOINTMENT OF THE NEW ACTING REGISTRAR

The South African Institute of Building Design is a recognized Voluntary Association (VA) in Terms of Section 25(3) of the Architectural Professions Act No. 44 / 2000 by the South African Council of the Architectural Profession and in line with its constitutional governance express concerns over the recent announcement by Ms Letsabisa R Shongwe that Dr Yashaen Luckan was removed as the President of SACAP and Mrs. Marella O’Reilly was suspended as the Registrar pending a full investigation.

The Ministers appointment of the five interim councillors was to create stability, accountability and a relentless focus on transparency by promoting a culture of openness, through dialogue, and consensus.

It is worthy to note that the fourth term Council took the Minister to court in order for him to fulfil his duties as per the Architectural Professional Act No 44 / 2000, in the filling of vacant Council positions. There were 18 communications, from as early as 20th October 2015, to the Ministry requesting Council vacancies to be filled. The Minister however disregarded the nominations procedure as defined in the Act, by ‘hand picking’ the five new interim Council Members. The ‘hand-picked’ Council Members also request that the court action against the Minister be withdrawn.

 SAIBD requests, from the Ministry, reasons why the prescribed nominations procedure was ignored in favour of covert methods of appointing the ‘hand-picked’ Council Members?

The proposed withdrawal of the court action by the ‘hand-picked’ Council Members points to a blatant attempt by the NDPW to evade an adverse legal outcome via the pending court action.

The latest actions by the ‘hand-picked’ Council Members that removed Dr Yashaen Luckan as the President of SACAP and Mrs. Marella O’Reilly’s suspension as Registrar also lacks transparency, dialogue and consensus.

SAIBD’s appeal is made to the SACAP Council to take into confidence the registered Architectural Professional by disclosing;

  1. The urgency to withdraw the court action.
  2. Reasons for the vote of no confidence in Dr Yashaen Luckan.
  3. Reasons for the suspension of Mrs Marella O’Reilly.

 It’s noteworthy to mention the counter-productive action of Architects for Change (A4C), a group of Architects that formed in the first half of 2017, of which the leadership has been kept secret, until recently. Presumably their purpose was the dissolution of SACAP council. Their 20 allegations where unsubstantiated and in some instance blatantly misleading. Take special note of their requests which include the dissolution of the SACAP Council, a forensic investigation of both the Council and the Registrar and the appointment of an interim Council by the Minister of Public works. SAIBD (& others) have in the past publically requested A4C to substantiate their allegations, and for their presence at negotiation tables. It is now apparent from communications that a high ranking employee of the Ministry and an ex-SACAP council member is the leader / head of this covert action group

The Institute is deeply concerned to learn that “Architects for Change” had briefed the new “hand-picked” interim council members prior to their first official meeting at SACAP. In the absence of an agenda and minutes of the said meeting, the objectivity and possible collusion to influence the outcomes on 27 July 2018 is of concern. Herewith, a quote from a letter date 31July 2018 by A4C “Pursuant to the process A4C convened a meeting with 6 new council members with the purpose of appraising them about the state of affairs within SACAP, that required their immediate intervention.”

SACAP Council is to act independently of the Ministry; this is reinforced by the fact that the NDPW is the largest single client of the Profession. The actions by A4C to date show undue influence by the Ministry over the affairs of SACAP via an employee and A4C leadership.

The concern here is that the allegations by A4C of maladministration have to date not been substantiated. Herewith quote from letter date 31 July 2018 by A4C “The Minister after having studied evidence (submitted to himself by A4C) relating to possible impropriety by SACAP, informed Council of his intention to appoint a forensic auditor.” The Institute is aware that Sizwe Ntsuluba Gobodo was appointed to investigate the alleged maladministration of SACAP. The instruction by ‘hand-picked’ Council Members to terminate the services of Sizwe Ntsuluba Gobodo is suspicious and the associated wasteful expenditure is of concern. The ‘hand-picked’ Council Members request to initiate a new forensic investigation by the Ministry, the terms of reference of this new investigation remains a secret.

SAIBD’s appeal to the interim Council is to provide the merits of this proposed second investigation on SACAP itself, provide the terms of reference, show the independence of this investigation and substantiate this wasteful expenditure of public funds.

SAIBD demands of the Ministry and SACAP, to explain the lack of independence of SACAP and the Ministry, and to hold the executive accountable.

The SACAP Council governance procedure, that relies on a majority vote to reach consensus, has proven to have had an adverse impact on the majority of Registered Architectural Professionals. This will adversely affect the ordinary Architectural Professional who has limited access and opportunity to the mainstream economy. It should be noted that the current composition of Council is contrary to the provisions of Architectural Professions Act No. 44 / 2000, by not being representative of all categories of registration.

Twenty-five years into the South African Constitutional Democracy, the Architectural Profession and the Architectural Learning Sites remain least transformed. The failure to hold key stakeholders in the Built Environment such as the Architectural Learning Sites accountable will have a direct negative impact on the Government’s NDP 2030 including land reform.

The President, Cyril Ramaphosa has gazette a proclamation on 13 July 2018, which mandates the Special Investigations Unit to perform a forensic audit on the Department of Public Works to prevent fraud and corruption. The Institute supports Minister Nxesi calling for lifestyle audits on himself and senior managers of the DPW. How could this ever be possible given the disregard for the principles of good legislative governance, implementation, monitoring and evaluation?

The signed Proclamation by President Ramaphosa that was gazetted on 13 July 2018, which will allow for further investigations into the affairs of the Department; The recovery and savings of Billions of Rands through the forensic investigations of the Department and SIU interventions. The cutting edge measures that the DPW and SIU have implemented to ensure the prevention of fraud and corruption. Minister Nxesi calling for lifestyle audits on himself and senior managers of the NDPW.

Dhanashwar Basdew

Architectural Activist Built Environment & Human Settlements

SAIBD Vice President

                          Videsh Boodu

SAIBD President

Supported by the Executive of SAIBD National Board

Mr Paul Mkhonza (Chairperson Eastern Cape),  Mr. Siyabonga Moloi (Transformation committee), Mr. Thabiso Joyisa (Student committee), Ms. N. Khan (Registrations), Miss E. Robinson (Registrations), Mr. S. Reddy (Vice President), Mr. M. Pillay (Treasurer), Mr. M. Douglas (Education Committee), Mr. K. Nel (Executive), Mr. R. Nanan (Chairperson Northern Natal), Mr E. Bezuidenhout (Chairperson Southern Natal), Mr. N. Long (Chairperson Western Cape)

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