We have been made aware of statements by certain individuals and organisations on social media claiming that IOPSA is involved in legal action to silence certain individuals and organisations. These claims are entirely false, IOPSA is not involved with any legal action against anybody whatsoever.
We have, however, been informed that a social media platform was recently closed down apparently on the advice of that organisation’s own legal counsel. It has nothing whatsoever to do with IOPSA.
IOPSA believes very strongly in freedom of speech and has always been open to robust debate.
Having said this, we will not stand for racism, sexism, incitement to violence, religious intolerance, personal attacks or any other activities which are hurtful or harmful to individuals. Robust and even passionate debate is encouraged but it must be done in a calm, respectful way with the goal of achieving some positive outcomes or resolving disputes. IOPSA’s meetings and social media platforms have often seen such debates.
No member has ever been removed from a meeting or blocked from any of our social media platforms for such debate, nor will we ever support doing so.
To my knowledge, in the last 5 years, 2 people were removed from our social media platforms for racial posts and sadly we have needed to remove a few people from our meetings because they were drunk and unruly. We do not apologise for this and will continue to ensure that IOPSA meetings and social media platforms are safe spaces and are not used for the wrong purposes.
On a positive note, IOPSA has hit the ground running again this year. We have held meetings for the 1st time in Worchester, Modimolle and Middleburg and have plans to get to Tzaneen, Polokwane, Vereeniging, Soweto and Howick in the near future. Meanwhile we have completed training for municipal building inspectors in the Southern Cape and Waterberg districts and will soon be getting to Mopani, Ehlanzeni and Ekurhuleni. Positive engagements have been held with the Departments of Labour, Public Works, Water & Sanitation and SALGA.
100 IOPSA members received bursaries for solar and heat pump training. We are also partnering with SASOL to improve plumbing education at technical high schools and will be attending the World Plumbing Council meeting to be held at ISH in Germany. Whilst there we have arranged to meet colleges and education officials to see where we can improve. All this while dealing with training, the normal complaints, dispute resolution, technical issues and promoting our members and the industry.
Once again, I would like to thank all members for their support and positive engagements.