Civil Engineering boasts four new SAICE Fellows

The Department of Civil Engineering is proud to have four new SAICE Fellows in its midst. They are profs Kobus du Plessis, Gideon van Zijl, Celeste Viljoen and Jan Wium. They joined the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) in 1993, 2001, 2002 and 1979 respectively.

A Fellow is a Corporate Member of SAICE who has achieved appropriate recognition in the civil engineering profession, displaying substantial responsibility and initiative in the practice of civil engineering, and who has considerable professional experience. A nominee is usually nominated for this honour and the nomination has to be supported by three Corporate Members, at least one of whom must be a Fellow. Nominations are considered by the SAICE College of Fellows, that comprises the current President, President Elect, Immediate Past President and two recent Past Presidents. Approved nominees are recommended to the Executive Board.

Prof Du Plessis, Van Zijl, Viljoen and Wium may now proudly display FSAICE behind their names.

Prof Kobus du Plessis PrEng has more than 32 years of experience in the field of water engineering. Over the years he worked for the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Department of Agriculture and the City of Cape Town. He served as the Director: Water Supply in the West Coast District Municipality for seven years before joining the University of Stellenbosch in 2003. He is at present a Professor in Hydrology and Environmental Engineering in the Civil Engineering Department and is a former Head of the Department. He specialises in water resource evaluations and flood hydrology, and provides institutional support to local authorities. Kobus serves as an Executive Committee member on the Board of IMESA. He also serves on SAICE’s Education and Training Panel, and on the Editorial Panel of the SAICE Journal.

Prof Gideon van Zijl PrEng (DEng) has been Professor of Structural Engineering at Stellenbosch University since 2001. His research interests are structural and computational mechanics, structural durability and retrofitting, façade structural engineering and, recently, 3D printed concrete. Concurrently, structural design guidelines for cement-based construction materials are being developed in his research group, the Centre for Development of Sustainable Infrastructure (CDSI).

Prof Celeste Viljoen PrEng heads the Division of Structural Engineering and Civil Engineering Informatics at Stellenbosch University. Her research considers structural risk and reliability, including the assessment of various structural standard provisions in reinforced concrete design, steel design and loading. She has supervised many postgraduate students to completion and authored more than 50 published papers. She is widely involved in structural standardisation, being a member of various SABS Technical Committees, convenor of the SANS 10100-3 Working Group, a member of the Working Group for the Revision of ISO 13824, and a member of the International Joint Committee on Structural Safety.

Prof Jan Wium PrEng is the Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch University. He qualified as a civil engineer from the University of Pretoria and obtained a PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. He worked as a structural engineering consultant for 20 years before joining Stellenbosch University in 2003. He leads a research group in construction engineering and management, and focuses on modular construction, constructability, modern technology and construction risk. He is chair of SABS subcommittee SC 98-2 for structural standards and convenor of the SANS 10100-1 Working Group. Prof Wium is a past vice president of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) and a member of their Administrative Committee. He also serves on the Editorial Panel of the SAICE Journal.


The Department of Civil Engineering’s new SAICE fellows are from the left: Profs Kobus du Plessis, Gideon van Zijl, Celeste Viljoen and Jan Wium.