You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2013.

The Legal Metrology Bill applies to measurable products and services, measurements in trade, health, safety and the environment, and any measuring instrument used for a prescribed purpose. The Act is, amongst other things, intended to protect consumers against any short measure. The day this bill is passed, it will apply to any measurement, prescribed or not. (Don’t be confused by the “prescribed purpose” of the bill, this only applies to the measuring instrument.) The Act would require any person who provides a measuring service or product to register with the DTI under this Act… (more)

Spencer Dreyer, the SAGI Western Cape branch Cadastral Commission Chairperson, provides an overview of the current legislative environment and its implications for land surveyors. We are living in exciting and challenging times as the dawn of a new era of national and provincial planning legislation redefining the roles and responsibilities of both provincial and local government are upon us. Business as we know it will soon be radically transformed. The declaration of unconstitutionality and invalidity of parts of the Development Facilitation Act No 67/1995 together with various other landmark court judgements providing clarity on the roles and responsibilities of various levels of government regarding planning matters, has accelerated the law reform process both at national and provincial levels of government… (more)

Land surveyors are outraged about a call for comments issued by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform on the Draft Regulations for The Planning Profession Act, (ACT No. 36 of 2002). Their alarm regarding the proposed Act centres specifically on Section 4: Reservation of work exclusively for professional and technical planners, which is seen as a serious threat to the relevance and future of the land surveying profession. There is deep concern amongst land surveyors that the passing of this draft regulation will result in the marginalisation of land surveyors as property professionals and limit the practice of their craft to that of a technical profession… (more)

The centrality of the land question to popular metrics about the fulfilment of promises – or the realisation of fears – regarding post-1994 South Africa is probably so familiar to readers of PositionIT that it approaches banality to point it out. The publication of an English version of Louis Changuion and Bertus Steenkamp’s 2011 “Omstrede Land” (as “Disputed Land”) however concerns the community of geographers through its recounting of the evolution of spatial segregation and considerations of land reform. The Afrikaans original was of course most visible as a prop in fights over the 2011 Green Paper on Land Reform, but if we take a more sober look the assets and liabilities of the work become clearer… (more)

On 22 October 2013, 100 years since the 1913 Native Land Act was passed, Free State Premier, Ace Magashule, released the first fully tradable title deeds to black home owners in the Ngwathe municipality in the Free State. Launched in 2010, the Ngwathe Land Reform Project serves to convert land currently held under a complex variety of restrictive tenures and titles to unambiguous, freely tradable ownership. Full title will ensure economic emancipation and empowerment for black home owners. These homes are the first of over 30 000 households identified in the municipality that require tradable title deeds… (more)

This month’s winning letter focuses on South Africa’s trig beacon network and how this national assest is being eroded due to lack of maintenance and vandalism… (more)

After nearly tripling its planned lifetime, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer – GOCE – has completed its mission and disintegrated on its reentry to Earth’s atmosphere. Dubbed the “Ferrari of space” because of its sleek, aerodynamic design, the European Space Agency’s GOCE has mapped variations in Earth’s gravity with extreme detail… (more)

InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) uses satellite radar imagery to precisely measure ground deformation. TRE developed advanced techniques, PSInSAR and subsequently SqueeSAR, as standard monitoring tools in a number of applications: natural hazards, geothermal, oil and gas, mining, urban and infrastructures monitoring. Thanks to its capability in detecting millimetre level displacements over long periods and large areas, SqueeSAR analysis can be considered complementary to conventional geological and geomorphological studies in landslide detection and monitoring, supporting also the effectiveness of landslide inventories at regional scale… (more)

This article aims to report on research conducted to identify the different target audiences and corresponding SDI education and training media and messages that will contribute towards the development of the South African Spatial Data Infrastructure (SASDI)… (more)

This article will illustrate the value that geomatics, geographical information systems (GIS), surveyors and related geospatial professionals can add to the South African mining industry by identifying and populating gaps in available information. It will illustrate ways in which national geospatial systems need to develop in order to achieve growth and development that contribute towards national development planning… (more)

In the fields of satellite imagery and aerial photography, the geospatial community has a myriad of choice with respect to sensors, resolutions, revisit times and capabilities in terms of imagery. Within the community, the ability to extract information and knowledge from these images seems to be lagging behind as most applications stop at using the imagery as a source of “line mapping” or even more simplistically an image backdrop or pretty picture. This article highlights some of the underutilised capabilities of our image resources… (more)

Recent drought conditions over the North West Province have revitalised interest in drought monitoring over South Africa. The Agricultural Research Council – Institute for Soil, Climate and Water (ARC-ISCW) monitors climate and vegetation responses operationally and provides near-real time products for the delineation of adversely affected areas… (more)

Global positioning systems are relatively new technologies when it comes to applications in agriculture. Applications in tractor guidance, variable rate supply of chemical inputs and field monitoring of crop yield were recently tested using GPS. This article studies the basic concepts of GPS as they apply to agricultural production and provides a detailed analysis of the recent developments in this area with a focus on functionality and efficiency… (more)

The SATSA (SBAS Awareness and Training for South Africa) project was established to facilitate SBAS (satellite based augmentation system) deployment in South Africa by increasing technological navigation capacity in the region. During the course of the project, three trials were conducted to evaluate SBAS applications using a test platform to produce realistic SBAS signals for the duration of the trials. These trials focused on vehicle logistics, precision agriculture and GIS ground truthing. This article looks at the results of the vehicle tracking training trial… (more)

I have great pleasure in welcoming you to the 24th AMEU Technical Convention here at ICC East London, hosted by Buffalo City
Metropolitan Municipality. I trust that you will enjoy your time with us and that the AMEU convention programme for the next three days and the affiliate’s sports day will fulfill all your expectations. I want to thank the 2013 convention team for their effort in ensuring that this event is a resounding success, taking into account the increased challenges year by year to keep up with the standards set by our predecessors… (more)

It is truly a great honour and privilege to welcome all of you to the beautiful Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, which holds its place in the country’s history as having been named after a river (Buffalo River), at whose mouth lies the only river port in South Africa. That we have chosen Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality to host this year’s technology convention is quite fitting with the theme of the conference which seeks to focus our attention to how best municipal electricity utilities can support South Africa’s infrastructure and service delivery objectives. Buffalo City, like many municipalities across the country, is facing a number of infrastructure and service delivery challenges. These are hindering its ability to increase its contribution to the country’s
economic growth and providing a better life for all. This is after all, part of the reason we exist… (more)

A good working relationship has been established between the Department of Energy (DoE) and the AMEU, and this longstanding relationship is appreciated. The important role that the AMEU is playing, not only in keeping the lights on at a municipal level, but also as a professional association that is operating on different levels within the energy environment, is recognised and valued… (more)

On behalf of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, NERSA, it is my pleasure and honour to be given the opportunity to say a few words at this Convention under the theme of “Supporting SA infrastructure and service delivery objectives.” This is indeed an important theme to explore over the next three days, particularly in light of the current infrastructure development programmes on which our country has embarked upon as well as quality of supply challenges as they are being experienced by customers. It is true that almost twenty years into democracy, the country still faces the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The country still remains a highly unequal society where too many people live in poverty and very few work. To eliminate poverty and reduce this inequality, there is an urgent need to grow the economy faster and in ways that benefit all South Africans… (more)

It gives me great pleasure to address you on this important occasion of your convention, assembling as it does during the important period in our country when we have resolved to make the important and yet decisive turn towards more meaningful, radical and faster economic transformation… (more)

South Africa’s electricity supply industry stands at the threshold of critical transformation. This moment presents an opportunity for innovation to improve service delivery and to enhance industry sustainability. However, it also requires important decisions to be made for the optimal deployment of available resources… (more)

A disaster can be defined as a progressive or sudden, widespread or localised, natural or human-caused occurrence which causes or threatens to cause death, injury or disease, damage to property, infrastructure or the environment, or disruption of the life of a
community and is of a magnitude that exceeds the ability of those affected by the disaster to cope with its effects using only their own
resources… (more)

eThekwini Municipality’s integrated development plan includes a quality living environment programme. Asset management is included in this programme. The integrated asset management plan includes the management of electricity, water and sanitation, roads, transport, parks and leisure, stormwater, solid waste and property and buildings assets… (more)

Whether they are called cities or towns or municipalities, local government organisations of all forms around the world shoulder the same responsibility to provide essential services to their constituents. Amid flat or shrinking budgets, local governments today are expected to accomplish more with fewer resources. Municipalities are under pressure to rollout services to more constituents while maintaining good levels of service, but they often struggle… (more)

An Eskom-funded demand response (DR) pilot, for which Comverge provided aggregator and CSP services from 2011 to March 2013, achieved significant outcomes proving that the market is ready for DR. Municipalities, using ripple control relays, played an important role during the pilot but there is still much more value to be gained. This presentation showed key lessons learned, challenges encountered, and incremental benefits to municipalities well beyond conventional DR… (more)

This paper will cover the evolution of MV power cables over the last century and will cover some pros and cons of all the different types of insulation mediums utilised for MV power cables. In South Africa most utilities still install three-core paper insulated lead covered (PILC) cables and are considering three-core cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulated cables. No utilities install three-core ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) insulated cables which are extensively utilised in the mining industries… (more)

As growing demand for electricity continues to stress the electrical transmission grid, many transmission lines have become thermally constrained. These constraints are due to the subsequent sag that occurs as bare overhead conductors are operated at higher loads and temperatures, due to their high coefficients of thermal expansion… (more)

China introduced ground-breaking legislation in 2005, the Renewable Energy Law of the People’s Republic of China. The “Renewable Energy Law” was a national framework to promote the uptake of renewable energy (RE) throughout the country… (more)

Most renewable generation will have the ability to either generate and/or absorb reactive power. However, that
does not necessarily mean that the plant (wind or solar) will be grid compliant. This paper will illustrate the
relationship between the plant capabilities and the grid code and identify some of the key factors that determine
if auxiliary compensation equipment is needed to obtain compliance… (more)

Embedded generation (EG) could provide many benefits in terms of reduction of system technical losses and increased load carrying capacity. EG options are being focused on by users of electricity in South Africa in order to improve energy savings and increase revenues derived from the sale of electricity… (more)

Globally the developing world is characterized by large inflows of people into urban areas giving rise to large informal settlements. In South Africa government estimates that around 10% of South Africa’s 51-million people live in un-proclaimed urban informal settlements. This equates to more than 5,1-million households. In May 2010, the President’s Coordinating Council estimated that South Africa has a housing backlog of 2,1-million housing units, affecting 12-million people in 2700 informal settlements… (more)

This paper describes GIBB’s experience and presents some of the key challenges in undertaking projects of this nature
in deep rural communities. Some of the major benefits which have arisen due to these undertakings are presented. New access to household electrification potentially affects both home and market production in ways which change the nature of work in the home and in ways that increase market labour. Providing new public infrastructure to a location may also induce employed and unemployed individuals to migrate into the area…(more)

Eskom, acting as the electricity agent of the government, through the Department of Energy (DoE) and Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), has been mandated to execute the on-going government-funded electrification programme to meet the extended goals of the Universal Access Plan… (more)

Most South African electricity utilities, especially within municipal jurisdictions, only monitor performance and compliance requirements of their business processes against the requirements of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). Other important business aspects are ignored because they are not mentioned in the IDP… (more)

Mention the word “Medupi”, and faces go red with embarrassment, angers flare and all kinds of comments and explanations are offered. The reality is that we need additional supply capacity, that we are facing all kinds of challenges to build new power stations and implement renewable IPP solutions… (more)

Regulations have and still play a major role in the successful penetration of renewable energies in the power grid. In South Africa, the White Paper on Renewable Energy of 2003 has set a target of 10 000 GWh of energy to be produced from renewable energy sources (mainly from biomass, wind, solar and small-scale hydro) by 2013. The incorporation of these renewable technologies, especially wind and solar, can only happen through unlimited access to the power grid… (more)

Electricity utilities in Africa are faced with numerous environmental and safety challenges. Some of these include public pressure (consumer pressure, lobbying, voter preferences), new standards and legislation (Constitution, ISO14001), new business opportunities (attracting and retaining customers, reducing, re-using and recycling materials), reduction of risk (financial, legal, ecological and reputational) and ethical or moral considerations, given the current safety concerns across industries and the climate change and environmental crisis… (more)

A summary report on the investigation and proposals following an electrical incident that occurred on 11 March 2013 at a switching station in Boksburg that resulted in the injury of four council employees… (more)

The challenges of electrification of many new and existing distribution networks are at the cusp of the evolution of the smart grid. Utilities are charged with meeting network performance measures and improving network infrastructure whilst facing cost down pressures… (more)


Deploying the smart grid into the LV network creates a number of challenges relating to the sheer size, security and reliability of the network. If we are to obtain maximum benefit from the LV smart grid the network has to support both command and control as well as information retrieval. This paper examines how features such as: operations and maintenance, asset management, network planning, theft detection, customer communications, tariff structures, load management and matching impact LV smart grid networking requirements… (more)

Smart grids are seen as a combination of technologies, not just the power products and systems forming the physical transportation of electrical energy. Information technology such as smart meters, advanced SCADA systems, forecasting tools, business intelligence and many other examples of modern software solutions are adding smartness to the power system parts of tomorrow’s smart grid networks… (more)

As municipalities struggle with revenue collection, the issue of accurate billing and credit control is becoming more and more important. This calls for intelligent systems to help the billing team to minimise billing errors and to cope with the volume of additional customers coming online on daily basis. This paper outlines the approach adopted by City Power, a Johannesburg municipal owned entity, to address current challenges as part of the smart grid concept… (more)

It is expected that the global urban population will grow by about 44-million people every year. Of this world population 70% is expected to live in cities by 2050. This puts huge stress on resources and forces us to change the way we think and operate cities. We need to do more with less… (more)

Public policies, environmental and energy saving concerns are driving the local take-up of energy-efficient lighting. LED, or solid-state lighting solutions are becoming more and more popular, owing to their excellent levels of performance and rapidly falling prices. The lighting industry’s need for proper international standards or local standards to ensure the safety and measure the performance of LED products is obvious. As new products are being introduced rapidly, new standards are required quickly. Manufacturers claim the standardisation of performance requirements is an important first step towards fair comparison of luminaires… (more)

2013 was indeed a stormy year for the telecommunications industry with possibly the highlight being the firing of the communications minister, Dina Pule, by President Zuma and the appointment of Yunus Carrim, Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as her replacement. His appointment was not without criticism from some sectors in the industry: “Another minster with no experience in communication!” Politically well connected, Carrim holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours and a Masters in Sociology from the University of Warwick, UK and an International Diploma in Journalism from Darlington College of Technology UK. Critics soon changed their minds. He speaks the right language, but more importantly, he is walking the talk… (more)

“Taking cash out of copper transactions will cut down on copper theft”, said Evert Swanepoel, centre director of the Copper Development Association Africa in his conversation with features editor Hans van de Groenendaal. There is more to copper than it just being used to carry electricity or data signals. Copper is a useful antimicrobial to stem cross-infections in hospitals and in aqua culture fish farming, where artificial fibre nets are replaced with copper netting, to prevent fish diseases and to promote healthy growth – all-important aspects in the ever-increasing problem of feeding the world’s population… (more)

Obsolescence can be a nightmare for electronic component suppliers as well as for the electronics manufacturing and allied industries. Component suppliers want to maintain minimum stock levels, or hold no stock and import against firm orders. The electronics manufacturing industry has to honour guarantees and therefore needs to keep stock to support repairs for a period of time… (more)

Prof. Barry Dwolatzky, director of the the Joburg Centre for Sofware Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand believes in the value of an attractive and vibrant digital technolgy hub in Braamfontein to support skills development, job creation, entrepreneurship and the rejuvenation of Johanesburg’s inner city… (more)

Murugan answers questions on distributed control systems (DCS) selection. Email: What are some of the important standards applicable to DCS systems? What should be evaluated when considering the DCS network architecture and hardware concepts?… (more)

The business-IT divide has been spoken of and written about for a number of years. It exists in small, medium-sized and large organisations worldwide, and, as a result, investments made in IT in the past have not yielded the expected business value – further contributing towards the gap between business and IT. As information technology (IT) becomes more critical to the underpinnings of business, the tension will escalate. The issues are: who makes the decisions, what approach should be taken or which solutions are selected? Is IT simply a grudge purchase or a means of creating value? And the most fundamental and enduring question: Does IT drive business or does the business drive IT?… (more)

When the internet protocol (IP) debuted in 1974, it became possible to transmit voice signals as data packets over standard networks for the first time. This had dramatic implications for both computer and voice communication… (more)

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