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Decolonising engineering in South Africa — Experience to date and some emerging challenges. S Afr J Sci. Here, the implications of the decolonisation discourse for engineering are considered, using the lens of water — an archetypal focus of public policy and management.

The lecture was given on three university campuses, and was tailored to local issues to promote discussion. This discussion provided useful insights into the meaning and relevance of decolonisation in the engineering domain. Two propositions informed the approach. First, was that engineering and the applied sciences are about translating knowledge into action to achieve practical goals.

The second proposition distinguishes between retrospective approaches which deconstruct colonial norms and values to understand their impact on the present and prospective approaches which consider what to do next.

Should the priority be to break down the old or simply to recognise the flawed foundation and build a durable new future, perhaps through a developmental state tasked to achieve a new national vision? The question in Port Elizabeth was whether a decolonised future will be characterised by new elites simply capturing the privileges of their predecessors?

The colonial history To start, it was acknowledged that engineering was part of the colonial project. The British Institution of Civil Engineers was established as: A Society for the general advancement of Mechanical Science, and more particularly for promoting the acquisition of that species of knowledge which constitutes the profession of a Civil Engineer; being the art of directing the great sources of power in Nature for the use and convenience of man ….

It was the engineers who built the harbours and the roads along which the occupying forces advanced and who laid the tracks of the railways that enabled the metropoles to enlarge their wealth by extracting the raw materials of colonised countries. The first civil engineering contract in South Africa was for a canal in Cape Town to supply fresh water to passing ships of the Dutch East India Company.

Even water and sanitation was provided mainly for the colonisers, leaving a legacy of separate standards for white and black, rural and urban. Meanwhile, because black people were excluded, some stigma remains: can the profession be trusted to serve the interests of the majority? Colonised engineering: The experience of Arthur Lewis Colonialism was not just about economic infrastructure and colonial policy but had direct impacts on people.

Arthur Lewis, a great academic from the African diaspora, won the Nobel Prize for economics in for his work on growth and employment in Africa. The Author s. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence. At this point I did not know what to do with my life. The British government imposed a colour bar in its colonies, so young blacks went in only for law or medicine where they could make a living without government support.

I did not want to be a lawyer or a doctor. I wanted to be an engineer, but this seemed pointless since neither the government nor the white firms would employ a black engineer. European environmentalists in countries with temperate climates, a substantial endowment of old infrastructure, stable populations and rich economies question the need for new infrastructure. But codified conservation is grossly inappropriate in African countries with much higher population, economic and urban growth all driving increased water use.

It was not needed they said — conservation and alien plant clearance would suffice. They were convinced that it was their excellent conservation programmes rather than 3 years of good rains that had reduced consumption.

Water shortages in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality in and did not occur because of water resource constraints. Local firms are being taken over by foreign companies that often use external resources for specialised technical work. Rather than decolonising, South Africa is inviting recolonisation: a process aggravated by weak strategic management and sometimes motivated by corruption.

The project was repeatedly delayed because a very expensive desalination option was preferred. Around , there were appeals to national government to fund a project as a drought emergency. The Municipality is infamous for mismanagement and the fact that public investments only proceed if local political elites benefit. It has taken over 10 years to build a project that should have been completed in 3 years. Discussion Short-term view and other problems of politicians In the public presentations, the divide drawn between engineers and politicians raised some discomfort.

Damage was done when technical recommendations were not implemented or deliberately ignored in pursuit of private interests. Should they simply serve new leaderships and build whatever they are told, regardless of better options? This lived reality of many government technicians surely does not represent decolonisation.

There is a wider debate over the roles that politicians and technocrats should play in public administration. Few politicians have the skills to make technical judgements about the work they oversee. Yet, since , they have taken on increasingly operational roles rather than concentrating on oversight.

This trend has led to problems when their priorities have deviated from formal goals. The situation has been aggravated by the appointment of malleable, rather than technically competent, officials, which weakens institutional capacity and the quality of advice. Planning the Vaal System — shallow transformation invites recolonisation South Africa is correctly committed to transforming the demographics of its institutions — a process often treated as synonymous with decolonisation.

This transformation faced challenges in technical institutions, given the limited pool of expertise initially available. The impact of this challenge on water security in the Gauteng economic heartland offers another perspective on decolonisation.

Engineers and politicians work to different time scales. Engineers often plan decades ahead. Meanwhile, for politicians, short term means this week, and long term is until the next election. This short horizon inevitably shifts priorities. Politicians also need to mobilise political support and build constituencies. The obvious temptation is to use patronage, allocating resources in return for political and financial support.

While public administrators have similar temptations, a wellfunctioning system ensures oversight; political heads appoint competent people to ensure that procedures are followed and goals are achieved. The transformation of the national water department included efforts to increase participation of black-owned companies in its business. But is transformation or decolonisation achieved merely by changing demographics?

Or is the objective to ensure substantive participation by black professionals as both clients and service providers? Reliability levels are determined by stochastic methods, using rainfall and run-off variability data to generate flow and storage sequences. This approach has successfully informed operations, users and decision-makers.

Expensive projects — poorly conceived, implemented and operated — are failing to meet their objectives; the reliability of water supplies is decreasing. Even when it works, over-priced infrastructure is a liability not an asset, which increases costs of living and doing business and contributes to the financial crisis of many municipalities. Recommendations derived from the models are not always followed, as Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Municipalities have demonstrated.

But they have underpinned three decades of water security in the more complex Vaal River System, despite serious drought challenges. The role of the engineers is also challenged This is specialised work, undertaken by a handful of consultants who have developed the necessary expertise.

However, in , the new Minister of Water explicitly sought to change this approach. But what are the expectations of technical professionals such as engineers? The new firms had limited capabilities but the old firms now had limited funds to train new staff. Meanwhile, with just a handful of skilled staff left, the Department no longer offers new graduates supervised technical experience — its historical training function.

Engineers might like the first definition, but trust in experts has declined, with some justification. Accountants present information that is false or misleading; doctors manipulate research results to promote dubious medicines.

When, in Cape Town, academics and activists assert that water conservation will meet new water demands, they can easily reject contrary views from hydrologists and engineers as just another group promoting its own interests. Engineers are vulnerable in this situation because their solutions to apparently simple challenges — like ensuring reliable water supplies — are often long term, complex and not understood or effectively communicated.

This makes their recommendations easier to reject or just ignore. Its decision-makers were not telling lies when they claimed that they had permanently reduced water consumption. Their mistake was to claim an easy victory for a focus on demand management, ignoring more obvious drivers such as weather and population growth, and options such as increasing supply. But engineers failed too. While part of the administration, they are insulated from politicians who seek political or personal gain rather than technical goals.

This followed recognition of excessive investment in the Orange River Scheme and the need for professional water management to avoid water becoming a brake on national development. A Commission of Enquiry analysed water management policies and priorities, and produced a comprehensive guide to the future.

One example is the undermining of local capacity to model water resource systems; such capacity is critical to support both planning and operations. Undermining local capacity is opening the way for a recolonisation of a technical domain in which South Africa until recently had sovereign leadership. A key recommendation was to professionalise water management.

Investment in water research and student bursaries created a community of professionals who could cooperate around common goals. They enjoyed a degree of trust that gave them considerable scope to implement and innovate — an environment in which it was possible to develop new approaches and undertake complex and challenging projects.

That breakdown has been aggravated by suggestion that professional organisations are closed clubs, seeking to maintain privileges and control entry. This global challenge is particularly acute in South Africa where a white old guard apparently controls the entry of the new cadre of young black engineers.

While South African society will not be well served if it simply ignores engineers and their institutions, the responsibility also lies with the profession itself. Continued introspection is needed, to acknowledge and address its problematic history and legacy. But priority must be given to the new forces that are shaping the future. The composition of the profession is changing radically, with a growing cadre of young black participants, including many women Figure 2.

Whatever the approach, the concern for engineers is that their advice should be accepted and trusted. Technical pathways to water security are often complex and long term. Professionals such as engineers in a developmental state must help politicians, administrations and the communities they serve to make and implement decisions when they are needed. To do that, they need to be trusted. Otherwise, if future strategies are primarily a response to the past, the past will continue to determine the future.

Rather than being heard as voices from the past, they will be seen as pathfinders of the future, explaining what needs to be done. That is, in large measure, what decolonisation should be about.

Because of this history, many engineering institutions are perceived as old fashioned and conservative. They will need fortitude — and appropriate mechanisms — to manage the risks encountered in a competitive and acquisitive economy and polity.

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However, more research and better designed studies are needed to determine the benefits and risks of the Swank or any other diet for pwMS [ 54 , 55 ]. The NMSS [ 56 ] does not believe the Swank diet would cause nutrient deficiencies but one study found a low intake of vitamins A, C, E and folate in the 24 h recalls of two pwMS following the diet [ 39 ]. In addition, individuals consuming diets low in fat may be at risk for low intake of some nutrients [ 63 ] such as vitamin E and linoleic acid [ 64 ]. Therefore, the purpose of this report is to assess the nutritional adequacy of the Swank diet by comparing nutrient levels to the Dietary Reference Intakes DRI [ 65 , 66 ] for adult men and women. Scores for the Alternate Healthy Eating Index AHEI , which have been associated with risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and diabetes [ 68 ], will also be calculated. Materials and Methods 2. It reports the calculated nutrient composition, nutritional adequacy, and HEI scores of seven-day menus developed by Roy Swank [ 36 ].

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Ground roasted peanuts leads to a lower post Anuncio Nutr Hosp. Reis1, L. Bordalo1, A. Rocha1, D.

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