08 January 2016

What is happening with SAIChE IChemE membership fees?

In contrast to previous years, members of SAIChE IChemE (previously only SAIChE) were invoiced in December for membership fees instead of June. The increase in membership fees has also been more than the inflation rate and in some case even more so. This resulted in the SAIChE Offices receiving many queries and regrettably also some resignations. Allow me to answer three questions:

  • Why the increase in fees?
  • Why had members been invoice earlier than previously? and
  • Is it still worthwhile to be a member of SAIChE IChemE?

Why the increase in fees?

There are a number of factors that led to an increase in fees including:

  • All SAIChE members became SAIChE IChemE members in 2015 with benefits of being a member of both SAIChE and IChemE. In order to pay for the benefits received from IChemE, the membership fee of all members had been increased by the equivalent of £35 to finance their IChemE membership
  • During 2015 the membership grades of SAIChE were aligned with that of IChemE which resulted in the “Under 30 Graduate” membership grade falling away. In the past the fees for SAIChE graduate members that are younger than 30 were less than that of graduate members older than 30
  • The value of the Rand depreciated significantly against most foreign currencies in the last quarter of 2015. For the 2015 fees, an exchange rate of R18/£ was used when setting the fees and at the time of setting the 2016 fees, it was decided after much deliberation to use an exchange rate of R23/£. This is an increase of about 28% and is seemingly not enough since the Rand is continuing to weaken
  • The part of the fees to finance the SAIChE services had been increase by 6% which might also not be enough since inflation is anticipated to increase by more than 6%
  • For student members that graduate there is a significant increase when their highly subsidised student fees fall away and they become graduate members

Why have members been invoiced earlier than before?

There are basically two reasons:

  • In 2015 the SAIChE financial year was finally aligned with that of IChemE. The financial year of SAIChE used to run from 1 June to 31 May and had to be changed to that of IChemE that runs from 1 January to 31 December
  • In the beginning of 2015 the phasing in of the IChemE service fees for SAIChE members had not been finalised and the final arrangement was only agreed upon early in March whereupon invoicing of members could happen

Is it still worthwhile to be a member of SAIChE IChemE?

My answer to this is an unequivocal yes and the first reason for saying this is simply value for money. For most SAIChE IChemE members, the discount that they receive on IChemE membership fees and ECSA fees are more than their total SAICHE IChemE subscription fees. The part of the SAIChE IChemE fees that are due to receive the full benefits of being IChemE is levied at a significantly reduced rate, i.e. £35 per member vs individual international membership fees of between £86 and £129. In addition SAIChE IChemE members currently get a discount from the Engineering Council of South Africa on their ECSA annual fees of up to R1230 per year.

Secondly as members of IChemE which is the largest international chemical engineering society, members receive all the benefits of belonging to IChemE.

Details of IChemE benefits include:

  • Networking though Special Interest and Member groups. Participation in the community that is IChemE: leading global professional body and network for chemical engineers
  • Access to professional registrations and qualifications in the UK.
  • Advice, support and mentoring re professional registrations and qualifications
  • Daily global profession news through The Chemical Engineer tce-online alerts
  • Daily global IChemE news provided through
  • Monthly tce magazine (also available as e-tce)
  • Monthly member news bulletins
  • Access to Knovel process engineering e-resources
  • Access to IChemE webpages including CPD resources
  • Access to discounted professional training courses
  • Access to discounted professional events
  • Access to discounted publications and professional journals
  • Inclusive membership of one IChemESpecial Interest Group with access to others
  • Process Safety toolkits etc.


Thirdly, for South African chemical engineers, service benefits provided through SAIChE include:

  • Regular conferences, courses, seminars, workshops and meetings through its branches in: Gauteng, Highveld, KwaZulu-Natal, Vaal and Western Cape
  • National and International conferences
  • Recognised by ECSA as a Voluntary Association, category A
  • Liaison with engineering and scientific associations on subjects of interest to wider audiences
  • Provision of factual career information about chemical engineering to scholars, parents and teachers
  • Participation in the ongoing process of reviewing and updating Tertiary educational facilities and curricula for Chemical Engineering
  • The provision of guidance to recent graduates and to industry in the effective use of the engineer-in-training period, to the benefit of employee and employer
  • The improvement of the technical competence of our members through continuing education programs that include seminars, conferences, courses and plant visits. Most of these activities are conducted at branch level
  • The promotion of industrial sponsorship for Chemical Engineering departments at Universities and Technikons
  • Publication of the South African Chemical Engineering Journal.
  • Distribution of the Chemical Technology magazine published by Crown Publications to all members of SAIChE IChemE
  • Liaison with other Engineering Institutions in matters of general importance to engineers, including national issues that involve representations to Government and matters of public interest
  • Liaison between SAIChE and the WCEC connects our engineers to the international environment of Chemical Engineers
  • Attracting Technicians and Technologists to Chemical Engineering and the more effective utilization of Professional Engineers
  • Accreditation of CPD points to relevant chemical engineering activities


Although SAIChE IChemE provides many services and benefits to its members, the best way to benefit from the organisation is to become involved. Become involved in your local branch, meet and stay in contact with other chemical engineers, grow your networks, attend seminars, broaden your horizons, attend professional development courses to grow your own professional skills, help to develop other engineers, share your views with the profession.

I look forward to 2016, to stay in contact with chemical engineers in South Africa and internationally, to learn from others, to stay informed about issues that our wonderful profession are involved in and to do my little bit to make South Africa and the world a better place.

Dawie van Vuuren
President SAIChE IChemE

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).