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From the President’s desk
1st Quarter 2014, SAFPA

Wishing you all a prosperous year ahead. The new year has brought some changes at SAFPA as we bid farewell to our president Norman Hall, who has moved to the Cape to a new challenge and a new industry. Over the past five years Norman has made a great contribution to SAFPA and his absence will be a huge loss. I have been given the task of continuing where Norman left off until the election of the new council in the coming months.

SAFPA originally began as the South African Fluid Power Institute (SAFPI) in 1982. Its advent can be attributed to the foresight of Professor Roy Marcus of Wits University, who saw the need for the development of fluid power engineering expertise in the country. He approached the main companies in the fluid power industry and invited them to a symposium at Wits University. His vision materialised with fluid power presentations by industry to third-year mechanical engineering students. As a result, SAFPI was formed and Professor Marcus was duly elected as our first president.

Education, training and fluid power qualifications have always been part of the SAFPA council’s agenda. Unlike our overseas counterparts who have full time employees, SAFPA is a part-time council and time is always an issue. Thus completing projects takes longer than in a full-time dedicated business initiative. In spite of these challenges, SAFPA was instrumental in the implementation of the South African National Certificate in Fluid Power, which was submitted to Merseta and subsequently registered with SAQA in 2008.

This option is not always viable for many SAFPA members and SAFPA is currently introducing its own qualifications specific to the industry – the Hose and Fitting Assembler being the first. South Africa continues to experience a shortage of suitably qualified graduates entering the fluid power industry and the potential for career training and advancement is seen as being limited. In moving forward, Professor Roy Marcus has recently, through the Da Vinci Institute, presented SAFPA with the opportunity of offering a postgraduate management degree linked specifically to fluid power, and this would include fluid power engineering. We as a council are very excited about this prospect – watch this space.

Walter Zimmerman.
Walter Zimmerman.

On a sad note, we are sorry to announce the passing of Jeff Clough, Jeff was well respected in the fluid power industry. I first worked with him in the mid-’70s at Hytec and then again at Vickers in the early ‘80s, where Jeff stayed until his retirement from BMG. SAFPA offers sincere condolences to his wife Glynis and his family.


Walter Zimmerman

Supplied By: SA Fluid Power Association (SAFPA)
Tel: +27 11 888 7163
Fax: 086 589 2158
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Further reading:

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