Ceenex helps accelerate South Africa’s digital transformation with extensive engineering expertise
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Ceenex, a leading independent management, technology, and engineering consultancy, continues to play a large part in enabling the implementation of new telecommunications infrastructure to improve the economic growth of small to large enterprises and enhance the connectivity of South African citizens.
Since its inception in 2014, the firm’s Telecoms Division has grown on the back of a high demand for telecommunications infrastructure in the country. The Division is now one of the country’s foremost providers of specialist services to the telecommunications industry. This is in addition to being an integral part of Ceenex’s business and sustainability of its service delivery in the greater built environment.
Andre Smit, a Ceenex Director who played an instrumental role in establishing the Telecoms Division, is positive about future business growth prospects for the Division. This is considering the need to bridge the large internet connectivity and digital divide in a country that is gradually also undergoing a Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Our key competitive edge is an ability to provide a comprehensive telecommunications service,” Smit says. “We have a holistic understanding of; and experience with industry specific laws and regulations as set out in the Electronic Communications Act 36 of 2005, as well as By-Laws implemented through local, provincial, and national government institutions. This is in addition to our firm grasp of the implementation conditions of various authorities nationally, as well as strategies of various telecommunication service providers throughout the country. We have forged strong professional relationships by finding a common goal through technical engineering solutions for the successful and rapid deployment of new telecommunications infrastructure. These capabilities place us in very good stead to continue playing a large part in the digital transformation of the country.”
The value-adds range from financial analysis and feasibility, obtaining wayleaves, agreements and permits, undertaking network architecture design and feasibility studies to project and construction management in all aspects and construction methodologies.
Accurate, detailed, and site-specific wayleaves, agreements and permits
Smit and his team have facilitated and developed many long-term wayleave agreements, as well as design solutions for co-build construction methods based on the application of intelligent and geo-referenced software, expertise and a sound understanding of authorities’ specifications. These include those of Transnet, the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link, various state-owned departments, as well as all district and local municipalities and provincial roads authorities.
One of the Division’s flagship projects was facilitating a national wayleave agreement between a leading local network provider and the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL). The Telecoms Division was appointed to undertake this assignment based on its extensive understanding of the National Road Network and Bulk Telecommunication Networks across all provinces of South Africa.
Notably, Smit and his team also enabled the 10-year wayleave agreement between the Department of Water and Sanitation and the network provider to install 515m of fibre-optic cable across the Jozini Dam Wall in KwaZulu-Natal. This is yet another example of the extent of the division’s skills and experience in the field of wayleaves, permits and agreement.
Over the past seven years, Ceenex’s Telecoms Division has submitted approximately 4 500 applications to more than 100 different authorities across all 9 provinces nationally.
Smit says, “We have enabled the connection of many businesses, in addition to Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) connections to about 250 000 residential properties throughout the country. FTTH projects remain a major market for Ceenex, with the lion’s share of our FTTH business involving connecting residents in the City of Tshwane, Johannesburg, Cape Town and several coastal towns, to name a few. Considering the drive to establish Tshwane as a smart and connected city, I am confident that the metropolitan will present ample opportunity for my team to demonstrate its leadership in the telecommunications field for many years to come.”
The Division also continues to demonstrate its skills and expertise in project and construction management. This includes, among other projects, successfully supervising the construction and approving quality adherence of about 3 500 km of new “long-haul” telecommunications infrastructure connecting various towns and cities.
The Division’s project management capabilities include undertaking financial estimates, risk analysis, subcontractor rates review, as well as production and materials planning. As part of this service, the team also develops bill of quantities, project plans, construction method statements, material specifications and traffic-management strategies.
The Ceenex Telecoms Division is driven by a team of hand-picked young, dynamic, professionals who have cultivated an internal and external culture of operational efficiency, continuous improvement, innovation, and customer satisfaction.
Back row: Pierre Rautenbach, Hannes Byleveld, Boeta du Toit, Bongane Kubheka, Kabelo Ringane, Andre Smit (Director), Sampie de Wit, Tobie Mahne, Morgan Khumalo, Hilton Musk, Adilson Vieira, Abigail Mathobo, Lionel Sibanda, Deon Govender, Werner Fourie Front Row: Meagen Casper, Jan Blignaut, Dewann Muller
The team since its inception claimed its rightful place in the Telecommunications and Infrastructure market segments by developing a value chain offering services in all aspects of the project life cycle.
Design innovation deployed on state-of-the-art Telecoms projects
The Telecoms Division also has demonstrated its design solutions, industry knowledge and implementation capabilities by successfully undertaking proof of concept projects for microtrenching in four provinces and eight different towns since 2018. These entailed the development of unique and site-specific specifications, method statements and material designs, including specific low-strength pumpable grout and asphalt mix designs. Ceenex’s Telecoms Division has further championed the adoption and rollout of microtrenching by incorporating the design parameters into the network architecture and planning it provides its clients, to ease the transition from conventional methods.
While Smit lauds work undertaken in the country thus far to enable access, he cautions that more will need to be done to ensure that all citizens of the country are able to benefit from digital technology.
“It is encouraging to note that solving this challenge remains a top priority for government and the private sector. The large digital divide, which was again brought to the fore during the COVID-19 lockdown, is contributing to the equality gap, by excluding many people from enjoying the benefits of digital technologies in all aspects of their social and professional lives. Among others, these include obtaining a better career and educational opportunities, improved personal advancement, comprehensive access to social networks and the use of public provisions. We look forward to continuing connecting and collaborating on projects,” he concludes.
Andre Smit is an Executive Director of Ceenex and Head of the firm’s Telecoms Division.