Severe shortage of engineers
There was a chronic shortage of municipal engineers in South Africa, according to a report released by the Municipal Demarcation Board on Wednesday.
"There is a large infrastructure asset value present in municipalities. They however do not have the engineering capacity to manage these assets," the report stated.
The shortage was most acute in B4 (mainly rural) and C2 (district) municipalities.
The report analysed the country's municipalities for the 2010/11 financial year.
The geographical distribution of engineers was uneven, with higher concentrations in metros and secondary cities.
"More than 50 percent of the 468 surveyed are employed by metros, the majority in the City of Cape Town."
The Western Cape, followed by Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, had the most number of engineers.
Staff vacancies were substantial, the report stated. Only 72 percent of municipal posts were filled nationally. The lowest was Limpopo, which only managed to fill 61.5 percent of its vacancies.
Vacancies were difficult to fill in rural municipalities.
"Of the funded posts, where rural municipalities can afford to fill these posts, 32.5 percent remain vacant."
Dismissals accounted for more than one out of 10 exits in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.
The highest were in the Western Cape, with more than 13 percent of exits being as a result of dismissals.
While municipal managers and corporate services managers had high levels of tertiary qualifications, this was in contrast with technical services managers.
Almost 50 percent of technical services managers did not have an undergraduate degree.
"Yet these managers are responsible for services that account for the highest proportion [of] the asset value and for functions that take up the bulk of municipal expenditure."
The study did find that general senior managers' qualifications were, overall, improving across the country.