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Welcome to IStructE Southern Africa!

19 May 2020

Welcome to IStructE Southern Africa!

19 May 2020

You might have noticed or heard via the grapevine that the IStructE Southern African International Regional
Group (IStructE SA) officially started up in January 2020, and that the Joint Structural Division (JSD) has
disbanded in October 2019 closing down in December 2020. Allow me to explain the reasoning and thoughts
behind the decision made with some background on how the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE)
developed in Africa to where it is today.

The IStructE established a South African Division in 1937. This was the first division outside of the UK and in
Africa. The South African Institution of Civil Engineers (SAICE) was established in 1903 along similar lines of
the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). SAICE established a structural division to serve its members who had
an interest in structural engineering. These two divisions worked closely together as they had common

The SAICE and IStructE committees in South Africa merged following the signing of MoU and operated as a
single entity i.e. as the Joint Structural Division (JSD) in 1992. Following the agreement, a number of SAICE
members became IStructE members through Associate membership. The number of IStructE members in
South Africa have subsequently dropped to less than a third of what they were 20 years ago. And in many
years other countries also established their local IStructE divisions in their countries, all over the world.

The Institution’s strength lies in its focus on structural engineering which deals with one of the high-risk areas
of engineering. What is lacking in South Africa as well as in most African countries is access to practical and
useful information on structural engineering practice. Structural engineering is but one of the specialisations
within civil engineering which is turn is but one of the branches of engineering. As a result, structural
engineering is invariably rolled up into civil engineering which in turn is frequently rolled up into engineering
as a whole. What it fails to do is to break down civil engineering down into branches such as structural
engineering, geotechnical engineering etc., despite the fact that nearly 50% of all registered engineers fall
into the civil engineering discipline; a common practice encountered in Africa.

The objectives of the IStructE SA regional group of the Institution are to “promote for the public benefit the
general advancement of the science and art of Structural Engineering in any or all of its regional groups and
to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas relating to Structural Engineering amongst members of
the Institution and otherwise.”

The time was right to rethink the Institution’s regional group and expand in to a broader international regional
Group – Southern Africa, including existing countries with IStructE membership, and gradually expanding to
new countries having a need for an increased or improved Structural Engineering networking opportunity.

  • IStructE Affiliate Scheme The opportunity within the IStructE SA exists to expand the reach of the
    Institution through the Affiliate Scheme into Southern Africa. The Affiliate scheme has no entry
    requirements and provides individuals with greater access to the structural engineering profession,
    industry news, networking opportunities and a range of technical events and publications. (**See the
    IStructE SA website “ABOUT US – MEMBERSHIPS” for affiliate scheme leaflet with information).

It is with great enthusiasm that we expand, develop and grow together as one!

Marelize Visser
IStructE SA – Chairman 2020