RIGHT OF RESPONSE
Date of issue: 23 February 2017
SACAP RESPONDS TO CAPE MESSENGER ARTICLE TITLED: ‘Architects’ bureaucrats strike it rich’.
SACAP acknowledges your article:
https://www.capemessenger.co.za/2017/02/16/architects-bureaucrats-strike-rich/, published 16 February 2017.
We would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to broaden your readers’ awareness to relating issues. SACAP’s 4th Term Council is committed to realising our vision of transforming, promoting and regulating people-centred architecture for South Africa. To achieve this, we are invested in developing transparent relationships, built on integrity and accountability. The media is one of our important stakeholders with whom we engage in this manner.
Regrettably your article does not cite any particular source. Whoever it was, is clearly looking to create controversy and provided inaccurate information to your publication. This is unfortunate because the article brings the architectural profession’s reputation into disrepute – SACAP is, after all, its elected custodian.
Before correcting the inaccuracies, we would like to contextualise our mandate and the vision we aim to realise which underpins all decisions we take.
SACAP is mandated by The Architectural Professional Act, 2000 (Act No 44 of 2000) (The Act) to regulate the profession and protect the public, with the oversight of the Council for the Built Environment and falling under the purview of the Department of Public Works. We take our responsibilities in this context very seriously, which is why SACAP categorically states in its annual report (a copy of which is available here:
http://bit.ly/2mh2uth ) that its corporate governance, as a public entity, is applied and run in tandem with the principles contained in the King Report on Corporate Governance. We will unpack how SACAP applies those principles in further detail here below.
We do not regard ourselves as ‘bureaucrats’ in the employ of government, but rather as service providers to a leading profession.
As stated in our Annual Report 2015/16 (Pg.93), SACAP’s gross income is limited to and derived from administration fees, annual fees, exam fees, (professional conduct fines), registration and re-registration fees. We are not subsidized by Treasury, though we do fall under the auspices of the Council of the Built Environment, together with five other professional councils.
Professionals are currently charged an annual fee of R2,640 and Candidates R1,128 – across the four categories of registration as approved by Council, and promulgated in the Government Gazette, Board notice no.48 of 2015.
The referenced article cited that registration (with SACAP) must be renewed every five years. This is incorrect. SACAP licences all architectural professionals to perform their work on an annual basis. Continuing Professional Development (CPD), renewable over a five year period, is one of the mechanisms that professionals must demonstrate in order to maintain their registration. This is the same for all professionals transforming South Africa’s Built Environment.
SACAP is required to equally regulate: Draughtspersons, Architectural Technologists, Senior Architectural Technologists and Architects. Our mandate necessitates enforcing the law with professionals whom we regulate, as well as to protect the public from any professional who is found to contravene their Code of Conduct.
We regard the architectural profession at large as igniting the design and planning of the built environment. SACAP’s current vision and mission is ambitious and, we highlight, in its relative infancy. We have therefore needed strong and consistent leadership to assist our professionals in securing all they need in order to collaboratively grow their careers and perform in their vital professional roles for the good of society who benefits from a safe and attractive built environment that creates infrastructure to enable the country’s prosperity.
In the year previous to the one reported on in the Annual Report of 2015/6, there was no pay scale within SACAP. All salaries were ad hoc, allocated by the previous Registrars. We therefore commissioned an external HR Consultant to advise us on salary scales that would be market related so we could as far as possible, retain management that would enable SACAP’s mission to sustain through the four year Term, and beyond.
We also turned to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) for its recommendation on what Honorariums be paid to all Council members who chair committees that drive the mandates of the Act. Honorariums are not paid on a set monthly rate, but rather according to the delivery of specific and variable works performed each month.
It is also important to note that the COO did not receive a jump in salary. The position and its associated responsibilities did not exist in the previous year.
Through a series of well-defined and regulated procurement processes, validated by internal auditors, as well as external auditors, with oversight of an independently chaired Audit and Risk Committee, we adjusted salaries and Honorariums according to these recommended performance indicators and this had been minuted. They were not ‘unilaterally awarded to themselves’ as the article states. The adjustments/increases were related to Council’s need to ensure that all salaries were systematically benchmarked and based on a market-related and DPSA scale.
The article incorrectly cites the Annual Report of 2015/16 showing a printing bill of R2 240 000. In fact, an amount of R152 087 was reported for printing and stationery fees.
Your article also refers to our Annual Report citing “large bad debts figure, a drop in internal audit fees, a reduction in Council activities and a drop in registration fees.” We did report bad debt and are working this year to significantly minimise it. The drop in internal audit fees is due to invoices being paid upon finalisation and sign-off of the reports, of which most overlapped to the 2016/17 Financial Year. We also bring it to your attention that Council activities did not drop at all. In fact the opposite. Page 40 and 41 of the Report itemises the high number of these meetings.
The drop in registration fees is also inaccurate. Registration fees increased with the normal CPI percentage.
Registered Candidates and Professionals alike derive the following value from their fees:
1. Being licensed to operate within the framework of the law, registered as one who upholds professional standards.
2. Representation of their interests to regulatory bodies within the Built Environment
3. Good standing with financial service institutions who trust the SACAP registration. In particular insurance companies who cover Professional Indemnity (PI) and banks who trust that registered professionals are competent to carry out claims and documentation with regards to draws against building work completed.
4. The service of administrative staff who are enrolled on a continuing development programme.
5. Having access to a high quality, validated architectural education at tertiary level and adjudication for Professional Practice Examinations.
6. Access to Recognition of Prior Learning programme.
7. Access to a Legal and Compliance Unit that upholds high standards for the profession by instituting thorough investigations.
8. Access to relevant accredited Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses through the Voluntary Associations (VAs) that we validate.
9. Representation of their qualification to international bodies who validate the portability of professional skills.
10. Contributions by proxy to a bursary fund that advantages previously disadvantaged individuals, administered by our validated Architectural Learning Sites.
11. Access to programmes that transform the profession, so that those who practice it can grow their livelihoods.
12. A public relations programme that promotes the profession at large to the public including property developers, home owners and other Built Environment professionals.
SACAP encourages conversation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SACAPOfficialPage or Twitter @SACAPSA where it engages directly with all its stakeholders. Learn more about SACAP on www.sacapsa.com
The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) is legally charged with regulating the architectural profession. Its mandates are provided for in the Architectural Profession Act 2000, (Act No. 44 of 2000) which came into operation in 2001. It upholds the standard of education and training through accrediting Architectural Learning Sites situated within tertiary institutions. It registers suitably qualified candidates and professionals and promotes Continuing Professional Development through collaborative engagement with Voluntary Associations. It protects public interest by identifying the type of architectural work each category of registered person is capable and competent to perform and administrates a Code of Conduct.
Issued on behalf of: SACAP’s Stakeholder Relations Unit:
Manager: Jacquie Cullis
Tel: (011) 470 5000
Issued by: Twiga Communications – SACAP’s media relations agency
Account manager: Jacqueline Wijtenburg
Tel: (011) 024 3986
Cell: 074 870 9608