Civil Designer Showcase

The Missionvale Mission

Percy Makofane was raised in a small village in Mpumalanga. As with many rural areas, the roads and other infrastructure services were in a very bad condition. Growing up under these circumstances, Percy decided to pursue a qualification in civil engineering with the aim of making a difference where infrastructure services were inadequate. When he joined Sigodi Marah Martin Development and Engineering Services in 2007, he was finally able to make the meaningful contribution he envisaged.

Under the mentorship of his manager Ross Grainger, Percy is currently involved in the Missionvale infrastructure development initiative. "We were appointed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to handle the detailed design and implementation of the civil engineering infrastructure services. This included the roads and stormwater for the Missionvale area."

Missionvale is situated in Port Elizabeth on the edge of a natural lake that is mined for salt. The project area has an informal housing settlement with a current estimated population of around 13000 residents. The area has a care centre, clinic, primary school and community hall to serve the residents. The preparation of a general plan for the new RDP housing development began as a result of the area's growing population.

"The residential project will provide 2499 formal residential erven for the area together with piped water, waterborne sanitation and roads. A formal internal stormwater system will be installed to manage stormwater runoff and prevent the flooding of properties, while the internal roads will be surfaced in stages," he explains.

Percy produced the preliminary designs for the roads and stormwater using Civil Designer. The program was also used to produce the water and sewer network designs on the project. "We used the software during the stormwater management plan to indicate the low lying points on the project in order to help with cut and fill decisions."

"In a project of this size, the process from preliminary to final design can take a long time. We could fortunately rely on Civil Designer to update any changes quickly, saving us valuable time."

According to Percy, the topography of the area is such that an adequate stormwater system is critical. "We have proposed a stormwater system that will consist of both pipes and canals, leading to detention ponds.

The stormwater master plan made provision for major storm events which would be accommodated using the proposed formal drainage system, runoffs via major roads and the existing natural drainage system. Where necessary, low lying areas or ponds required for development would be filled and ground levels artificially raised and the area landscaped in order to ensure overland flow.
Stormwater measures in adjacent township.

"The ponds within the township form an integral part of the stormwater management system. Stormwater is directed to, or routed through ponds. The ponds therefore temporarily detain the stormwater and then release it at a controlled rate, thereby decreasing the peak flow."

Percy explains how the elimination of some of the smaller ponds leads to improved environmental conditions. "By eliminating the smaller ponds, the current poor environmental conditions such as stagnant water which exposes the inhabitants to enteric diseases can be reduced. The bulk stormwater drainage system has also been designed as far as possible to accommodate closed pipes rather than open drains in order to prevent contamination with debris," he says.

Although Percy's involvement in the project has mostly been in the design office, he has been inspired by senior engineers like Ross Grainger and in time, aspires to develop to the same level of skill and experience.

"Making a difference in an informal settlement like Missionvale takes a lot of hard work but I know I am making a difference and I feel extremely proud of this achievement." Percy Makofane, Marah Martin Development and Engineering Services.

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