Following the repeal of the Engineering Profession of South Africa Act, 1990 (Act No. 114 of 1990), a new Act called the Engineering Profession Act, 2000 (Act No. 46 of 2000) was promulgated on 26 November 2000. The Act became fully effective on 28 August 2001, which was the day of the first meeting of the new Engineering Council of South Africa.
In terms of Section 18(1), as quoted below, the Act empowers the ECSA to register persons in certain prescribed Categories of Registration. The Categories are: Professionals, Candidates and Specified Categories.
18. (1) The categories in which a person may register in the engineering profession are:
(a) Professional, which is divided into:
- Professional Engineer;
- Professional Engineering Technologist;
- Professional Certificated Engineer; or
- Professional Engineering Technician.
(b) Candidate, which is divided into:
- Candidate Engineer;
- Candidate Engineering Technologist;
- Candidate Certificated Engineer; or
- Candidate Engineering Technician.
(c) Specified Categories, prescribed by the council
(2) A person may not practice in any of the categories contemplated in subsection (1), unless he or she is registered in that category.
The Professional Category consists of Professional Engineers, Professional Engineering Technologists, Professional Certificated Engineers and Professional Engineering Technicians.
The Candidate Category only provides for the registration of persons who meet the academic requirements for registration in the Professional Categories referred to above and who are undergoing professional development (preferably) under a Commitment and Undertaking. It should be noted that all persons who are registered for example as "Engineers in Training" can automatically refer to themselves as "Candidate Engineers".
The Specified Category provides for the registration of persons who cannot register in the professional category, but who perform critically important work of an engineering nature which has a direct impact on public safety and health e.g. "Lift Inspectors".