Capacity building in the road sector must continue, says SA Road Federation




Capacity building in the road sector must continue, says SA Road Federation


Friday 3 July 2020: Roads are a vital public asset. To promote socio-economic development, South Africa’s road network needs to be properly managed, preserved, upgraded, expanded and funded. To achieve this, the ongoing capacity development and training of engineers, technologists and technicians who work in the road sector is essential. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit South Africa, the South African Road Federation (SARF) immediately started exploring ways to deliver its training programmes online. SARF is a not-for-profit organisation that plays a significant role in meeting the professional development needs of the road sector every year. It trains over 1500 people on an annual basis.


SARF Operations Director, Basil Jonsson, says, “Ongoing training is vital to ensure our roads support the economy. To halt our training programme would have had serious consequences because practices are being developed and new technologies introduced all the time. South Africa cannot afford to lag behind what is happening internationally.


“At the beginning of the year, we had over 50 training courses planned and venues booked across South Africa and Namibia, but things changed very quickly. It became apparent that Covid-19 was here to stay for some time. We embraced the ‘new normal’ and have now delivered several courses using the Microsoft Teams platform. Ten courses have been lined up for July and August, and planning for courses later in the year is underway.”


SARF’s training programmes are accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa. There are entry requirements for each course. Says Jonsson, “Our training programme covers different aspects of road design and construction. These include traffic engineering, road pavement design, construction and maintenance, environmental management, design and application of hot mix asphalt, urban storm water drainage, road safety audits and bridge and culvert inspection.


“Courses are presented by industry experts who are passionate about sharing the latest developments in their specialised fields.”


The ten courses that will be delivered virtually during July and August are:


  • 8 – 9 July – Asphalt: An overview of best practice: This course will provide practitioners with a practical overview of sound and correct practices for the production and construction of hot mix asphalt for roads and airfield pavements.


  • 16 July – Assessments and analysis of test data: The purpose of this course is to introduce participants to statistical procedures and practices which can be used to advance rational decisions in the assessment of the quality of products in the roads industry. These products can include stockpiled aggregates, bituminous binders in bulk tanks, concrete construction or completed pavement layers.


  • 21 – 22 July – New advanced Traffic Safety Officer/Roadworks traffic management training in compliance with legislation: This course aims to capacitate Traffic Safety Officers and designers so they can competently operate and design in compliance with legislation and also demonstrate competency in the different duties that are required to carry out a road works project.


  • 23rd July – Concrete road design and construction: This course focuses on the technology applied in the design and construction of concrete pavements. It covers the supporting layers, thickness design using a computer programme, pave and joint design, detailing and layout. Concrete materials and mix design, construction, modes of distress and failure and rehabilitation are also included.


  • 28 July – Community engagement: This course covers all the practical aspects of community engagement during the planning, implementation and evaluation of construction projects.


  • 30 July – The use of reclaimed asphalt in the production of asphalt: Aimed at engineering professionals well-acquainted with the design of asphalt mixes, this course is based on the content of TRH21: 2017. It focuses on special considerations for asphalt containing more than nominal proportions of reclaimed asphalt.


  • 4 – 6 August – Managing labour-intensive construction projects: This is a foundational course designed to enable public officials, consultants and contractors to have a better understanding of the Labour Intensive Construction (LIC) philosophy, concepts, principles and techniques.


  • 5 – 6 August – Introduction to road materials engineering: This course provides a practical, introduction to road building materials and road construction techniques. It introduces the terms, jargon and buzz-words regularly used in road building and aim to enable candidates to become familiar with the materials used in road construction.


  • 11 – 13 August – Traffic impact studies: a step-by-step course on the preparation of traffic impact studies: This course covers the steps involved in the preparation and review of Traffic Impact Studies (TISs) It includes specific training on how to be proficient in the various technical requirements for the preparation of a TIS.


  • 18 – 20 AugustNon-motorised transport (NMT) practice: This course focuses on the various practices and skills that practitioners need. It also provides solutions to challenges they experience in implementing NMT modes within transport systems in both urban and rural areas.


For more information about entry requirements, course content, registration and continuing professional development (CPD) points, please visit:




The South African Road Federation (SARF) is a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation that is dedicated to the promotion of the road sector in South Africa. Road funding, road safety and training are key strategic focus areas of the organisation. It maintains a network of road sector stakeholders within South Africa and internationally and over its 70-year history, the organisation has built a strong community whose vision is to ensure roads drive prosperity and economies. SARF is affiliated with the International Road Federation.



Alexandra van Essche

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