SMEC acquired Vela VKE, a South African professional consulting engineering company in 2012 as part of a strategy to strengthen their presence within South Africa and the wider African market. With Vela VKE commencing operations in 1947, this year proudly marks the celebration of 70 years of operation for SMEC in South Africa.
SMEC’s ability to strategically adapt and transform during this time has been the core of its success. CEO Kostas Rontiris comments: “Our local experience, combined with leading technical expertise, and our ability to adapt strategically has been a winning formula. Our success is evident through the recognition of our people and projects – a great example being SMEC’s recent award of three significant awards for the second year in a row at the Construction Industry Business Excellence Awards. Our people are our biggest asset, as are our mutually beneficial and genuine relationships with our partners and communities.”
In August 2016, the SMEC Group was acquired by Surbana Jurong, one of the largest Asia-based urban, industrial and infrastructure consulting firms. Surbana Jurong’s expertise strategically complements, and contributes to, SMEC South Africa’s depth and breadth of capabilities, whilst providing access to additional global resources.
“SMEC delivers design and engineering solutions for a range of infrastructure projects in South Africa. From the transport sector through to urban development and asset management, SMEC remains a preferred partner known for consistently providing innovative solutions. Through our partnership with Surbana Jurong, we have had even more opportunities to diversify and strengthen our offering to clients with additional expertise and experience in emerging areas such as smart cities and security,” says Bongani Mthombeni-Möller, Strategic Business Development Executive.
SMEC South Africa has also demonstrated an ongoing genuine commitment to adopting national B-BBEE policies through the development of a Transformation Charter. The charter is a dynamic five-year document, which will be adjusted in line with the changing imperatives of SMEC South Africa’s diversity strategy and the country’s B-BBEE legislation.
Current highlights include 25% of the SMEC South Africa shareholding being acquired by the Disability Empowerment Concerns Trust. Black representation on the SMEC South Africa board of directors now stands at 57%, with two female directors, and the adoption of a Human Resources Development strategy aimed at the recruitment of people from previously-disadvantaged backgrounds through a graduate recruitment and bursary programme.
Tumelo Molope, Africa Division HR Leader, comments: “We are committed at SMEC to harnessing a culture of celebrating and leveraging diversity in order to create a fair, equitable, healthy, and high-performing organisation, where all individuals are respected, feel engaged and motivated, and where their contributions towards helping the firm reach these goals are recognised and valued.”
SMEC has also embarked on a programme of cultural change, including diversity and inclusion workshops. Participation in initiatives such as the Adopt a School Foundation, Grow Up Africa Devland Community Centre, and SA Medical & Education Foundation are also testament to SMEC’s authentic and considered approach.
With a suite of meaningful projects, and an enduring commitment to local communities and national initiatives, SMEC’s footprint has created a lasting, positive legacy across South Africa. Today, the celebration of 70 years of operations not only acknowledges a major milestone for SMEC, but also highlights a bright and promising future for the organisation through the continuation of a unique and bold transformational journey.