The City of Cape Town has appointed its first ever female coastal engineer, who will work to develop innovative coastal interventions and strategies, along with ensuring the protection against coastal risks such as flooding and beach erosion.

Maria Le Roux is the first female student to obtain a Master’s Degree of Science in Port and Coastal Engineering from the University of Stellenbosch. Le Roux has been involved with port and coastal engineering projects for more than 14 years. She has led design teams on various national and international projects.

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environmental, Marian Nieuwoudt, says that Le Roux has a wealth of knowledge that will positively contribute to the City’s team.

“We recognise the importance of being able to effectively monitor, map and understand coastal change. I’m extremely excited about the vast experience and knowledge Maria will be adding to the City’s Coastal Management team. Maria brings with her a wealth of knowledge in terms of the design and project planning of coastal infrastructure. Coastal engineering is a highly technical and specialised field and it’s an opportune time for us to start building a specialised coastal engineering section.”

Nieuwoudt continues, “Maria has a holistic understanding of both the technical and commercial issues affecting South Africa. She will be looking after our amazing coastline and leveraging further economic and social opportunities while protecting Cape Town from coastal risk, especially since we have such strong and powerful seas.”

Le Roux officially started on April 1 and is tasked with developing long-term coastal engineering skills and increasing the capacity for the administration. City coastal engineers are responsible for the oversight and management of Cape Town’s 307km-long coastline and coastal infrastructure.

Brenton Heron, the city’s first coastal engineer, will work alongside Le Roux. The team will have to implement a coastal engineering system that provides technical knowledge and innovative design to protect and manage the coastline. This includes the management of sea walls, coastal processes and boat ramps.

The City expresses that they are “thrilled to have acquired this level of experience and skillset which will be to the benefit of communities and of the administration.”

Maria Le Roux and Marian Nieuwoudt

Picture: City of Cape Town, Maria Le Roux alongside Marian Nieuwoudt




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