Now...I am stumped
Now I am stumped. When we were informed about seperating registration from Iopsa. The reason given was that for this to be a functioning reality, IOPSA needed to distance itself from the registration process. This and the need to get government to promote and accept the need for registration. Now I receive the new Plumbing Africa, and on page 5: Dwaf supports the venture but will not drive the registration issue. I am a member of IOPSA, have been for years, and I am a member of PIRB. Both parties are now claiming similar promotional points , same magazine Page 55 and the PIRB website. I want to know, what the F... is going on. Which party is going to close its doors, IOPSA or PIRB???? Personally, I think PIRB should pack their bags, at least IOPSA has not tried to mislead us plumbers, by not informing us of their status. If the aim of PIRB has changed, Have we, as members been informed, bearing in mind the aim was to make registration compulsory nationwide. If we now know that no government department will consider the issue, then PIRB has lost its mandate, and should close. One fact I have noticed, the bakkie brigade, as you call them , have grown stronger since the PIRB launch. Real Plumbers hands are more tied in red tape now than before, and these fly-by-nighters are having a good laugh at our expense. They even ask when PIRB is going to do more, because they need the business. I am actually considering joining them, they dont need large overheads caused by "special certificates', and high insurance premiums, etc. hell they even are allowed to install solar systems without having done the course, merely by signing up with a company who supplies them the product and certification. Leaving Plumbers like myself, who have been installing solar systems since the mid 1980's, having to attend a "solar course" at a large expense, (Course, Accomadation, Meals and Transport) before i am allowed to install another system, or Eskom delights in telling my customers i am not registered. Our Municipalities are accepting photocopied certificates issued by these people without question. So why the need for PIRB? I wonder if this e-mail will elicit a response, unlike other e-mails which have died a silent death. I am a plumber who wants to see the respect my trade used to have, returned. I am a plumber who carries and studies the codes of practice. I am a plumber who takes immense pride in my work, because i enjoy it. I am a plumber who wants facts and wants them Yesterday. PS. My PIRB expiry date is 17th September 2010, I need the answers before this date. Please respond via e-mail. Mario Jonker
Response from Lea Smith
I have taken the liberty to reply on behalf of the PIRB even though the email was not directly direct to me or the PIRB.
The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs DWEA have given their full support for plumbers registration through the PIRB, however DWEA’s does not have the statutory powers to call for the establishment, regulation or management of the PIRB. It is believed that this falls within the Regulators of the National Building regulations (NCRS) which falls under the DTI (Department of Trade and Indsutry). DWEA are supporting the PIRB in driving the process through the Regulators and because DWEA are unable to regulate the process it does not mean the process ends there. Let me assure you that the process is ongoing and we are making head way but regulations are not for good reason change overnight, so the process is slow and there is nothing we can do about it.
You elude to the fact that the PIRB has mislead you or lost its mandate. I certainly cannot recall any communication from PIRB to the contra or that is mandate has changed. If you are referring to the articles it the Plumbing Africa please be advise these are comments and views of a 3rd party which they are fully entitled too, but it must be pointed out that they are not necessary that of the PIRB or I would believe same with IOPSA.
It is a total misconception that you are a member of the PIRB. There is no membership in the PIRB. You have register with the PIRB as a qualified plumber as defined in A18 of the National Building Regulations. The PIRB is purely a mechanism to registers persons working or qualified to do work in the plumbing on various categories of the PIRB. The PIRB further provides an inspection process through the Plumbing Certificate of Compliance, to enforce plumbing standards and regulations. You in your personal capacity are neither a member of IOPSA. It is your company that is most likely the member of IOPSA. IOPSA is an employer body and you as the representative of your company have volunteered as a member of IOPSA. This is the fundamental difference between IOPSA and the PIRB and the reason why the PIRB cannot be encompassed into the body of IOPSA. A18 of the National building regulations on which the PIRB is built talks about a natural person and not a company and neither a volunteer. Think of it like this, the electricians have an employers body or association called the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association) which as a company you may voluntarily join, however to legitimately work in the electrical industry you as a natural person must be registered with the ECB (Electrical Contractors Board). This is a mandatory requirement through the OSH Act. The ECA and the ECB have independent constitutions, independent boards, independent finances etc and have been running like this for the past 20 years or so. This is how the PIRB and IOPSA are set up and run.
Many people do not understand or are confused between IOPSA and the PIRB and the relationship between the two bodies. PIRB in a manner of speaking is the child of IOPSA. IOPSA membership funds paid for the establishment and development of the PIRB not only for IOPSA’s own members but unselfishly for the Plumbing Industry in South Africa. While PIRB and IOPSA have similar goals and objectives they operate on completely different mandates as I have indicated above. This can further be seen in the fact that IOPSA yearly membership fees are considerably more than that of the PIRB. PIRB do not host plumber evenings, they do not issue a free magazine, they do not have representation on the various bodies such as CETA, SABS, JASWIC etc, they do not have various consumer and plumber advise services, they do not have regional representation etc, etc, etc, like IOPSA does for its members. The mandate of the PIRB is simply to registers plumbers and provide an inspectorate service as an internal process for the plumbing COC. So people must be very much mistaken if they think that the PIRB gives the same value or service as what IOPSA gives them. However, even though the PIRB is a Section 21 Company (non-profit) and operate with a completely different constitution, financials and board to that of IOPSA there is still that so called “parent” relationship. This can be seen in the fact that three of the management committee members of the PIRB are full board members of IOPSA and as result of this IOPSA have a full and direct bearing of the PIRB affairs. It must further be noted that the constitution of the PIRB states that four of the nine board members shall be that of Plumbing Employers or Employee representatives while the rest is made up of Plumbing Merchants, Plumbing Manufactures, Plumbing Vocational Educators, and 2 representatives from government. The point here it is that the majority of board representation is the Plumber(s) and it is through this representation the policy and direction of the PIRB board is given and driven.
I would be the first to agree with that qualified Plumbers hands are tied with red tape while the “bakkie” plumber are running a mock, and having a good laugh at the plumber expense, but it does not mean that it is right or legal. It is unfortunate that you feel that you should join the “bakkie” brigade and I am sure in the light of the recession and downturn there are many other legitimate plumbers that feel the same however it still does not make it right irrespective the way you look at it. As a proud plumber and for the best interest of the plumbing industry it is your duty and other plumbers to rat these “bakkie” plumbers out. Further to this if you and or any other plumbers are aware of people that photo copy PIRB certificates I give you my assurances as the Chairman of the PIRB that I will bring the full might of the law to bear down on these individuals. So I request that you forward me personally these companies/person names and details so that I can follow it up.
In closing I want to say that it is only through unity that we will succeed and I will assure you that we will succeed. We have come this far and even if we are just 1% better we are 1% better off than what we were yesterday, so hand in there it will come.