Engineering excellence awarded

In between autumn graduation ceremonies the Faculty of Engineering gathered its top students at the SARETEC building for the Dean’s Excellence Awards.

Parents and family members were also invited to honour the top students in each department by Prof Edward Snyders, head of the Department of Maritime Studies: “Today we celebrate academic excellence despite the myriad of challenges we faced.”

Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Prof Mellet Moll, expanded as he pointed out the handful of students were symbolic of not only the engineering students but all CPUT students in that this year’s graduates had passed despite multiple years of constant disruptions because of the Fees Must Fall campaign.

Moll pointed out that the SARETEC building is the first renewable energy technology centre in the country and he expected exciting things to happen now that a series of renewable energy contracts were recently signed by independent power producers.

Moll reminded graduating students present: “Our flag is carried by you as the alumni, especially by our top achievers.”

The winners of the Dean’s Excellence Awards in the Faculty of Engineering included George Fatnev who won the Dean’s Medal. Fatnev could not make it to the Autumn Graduation as he was writing an examination, but attended the Awards ceremony to collect his medal.

He obtained distinctions in all 29 of his academic subjects with an average of 89.8 percent.

The Dean’s top student for ND and BTech combined was Sandro Cesar and the rest of the top students in the different departments are:

Reinford Mapfumo – ND Chemical Engineering;

Tshepelang  Mahlasane – BTech Chemical Engineering;

Jan-Hendrick Bothma – ND Civil Engineering;

Whidaad Nazier – BTech Civil Engineering;

Michaela Lockley – ND Clothing Management;

Larnique La Gorce – BTech Clothing Management;

Sumone Herholdt – ND Building;

Nicole Scheepers –BTech Quantity Surveying;

Willem Conradie – ND Electrical Engineering;

Ian Basson – BTech Electrical Engineering

Mogamat Junaid Samaai – ND Industrial Engineering

Tharwa Tape – BTech Quality

Vito Marco Rickerts – ND Maritime Studies

Vickus Coetzee – ND Maritime Studies

Motheo Molamo – ND Mechanical Engineering

Rowan Earp-Jones – BTech Mechanical Engineering

Written by Theresa Smith

Beating the odds to graduate

Sive Mfanase was born in a rural village outside Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and into a life of subsistence farming, which saw him growing up as herd boy.

From the tender age of eight Sive would walk barefoot to school – a 12 kilometre round trip on dirt roads.

“During rainy seasons when the creeks rose, I would stop on the nearby bank, strip, swaddle up my books in my clothes. I would wrap this load around my head and paddled across the water floating on any handy log,” narrates Sive.

“If I arrived at school late, the teacher at my one-room school routinely whipped me.”

He recalls how tricky schooling used to be on Fridays as this was the dipping day for the village’s cattle. He would guide the cattle to the dipping tanks where he would wait in a line for a turn to send his family’s herd.

During his high school days he and a friend took weekend bus trips to nearby villages to earn money by doing odd jobs for rich families, an activity he continued until after obtaining his matric.  He took a gap year in 2013 and worked part of the year.

“It was the first time in my life that I had cash of my own, during that year I saved R7 000.”

In 2014 he enrolled at CPUT for a diploma in Tourism using his savings to pay for half of the first semester’s tuition fees.

He began classes with no money and little prospect of earning the other half by midterm.

“Another student told me that even though I did not have money, the university would not exclude me if I earned good grades. I did and soon I was awarded a bursary to continue my studies.”

After obtaining his diploma in 2016 he later changed fields of study to satisfy his business interests.

During Autumn Graduation, Sive graduated with a BTech in Business Administration.

He is currently enrolled towards an MTech in Business Administration and aspires to start his own business.

FID celebrates MTech graduates

The hard work and dedication of five MTech graduates in the Faculty of Informatics and Design were celebrated during a special robing ceremony.

The graduates and their supervisors reflected on the journey they had shared on their way to graduation before family members and other loved ones were given the opportunity to ceremoniously “robe” the graduates.

Supervisor Dr Pineteh Angu said graduate Katebesha Mbanza had encountered several challenges while seeking asylum in South Africa.

“And through those challenges he decided he had to contribute to addressing those challenges.

Being a non-English speaker and trying to seek asylum in South Africa you have this problem called language. You have to tell painful stories in a language you’re not very comfortable with,” Angu said

Mbanza eventually became an interpreter to help other asylum seekers and through this process his research emerged.

His thesis is titled: The use of interpretation services to address the communication challenges faced by Congolese Asylum seekers at the Refugee Reception Office in Cape Town.

“Let me take this opportunity to encourage fellow students: If a refugee, an interpreter, a married man, a stable employee and English fourth language speaker can achieve this, then why not other students,” said Mbanza.

Graduate Osadi Mosweu said her journey had not been an easy one.

“The first time I presented my proposal it was shut down. I was shattered but picked myself up and started over again. The following year it was approved and I was so excited.”

Her thesis was titled: An assessment of the capacity management process of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library framework in delivering value in the public sector.

Wind Turbine Service Technicians graduate


A group of 18 wind turbine service technicians are trained and ready for SA’s move into state commissioned wind farms.

The graduates were recipients of fully funded bursaries awarded by Nordex Acciona and the South African National Energy Development Institute. The bursaries covered five months of full time study at the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Saretec) as well as a two month internship.

Brenda Martin from the South African Wind Energy Association told the graduates that they were uniquely positioned to take advantage of an exciting phase in the country’s expansion into renewable energy.

“There are over 600 turbines and of those employed in the wind sector 47% are youth and women. It is a great industry to join,” she said.

Anna Henschel from Nordex Acciona congratulated the group for persevering and urged them to concentrate on the next phase of their careers.

“The question to ask is what comes next for you and also for us. Continue being passionate, enthusiastic and remember you are good in the space you are in. Be open to learning more and consolidating all that you know,” she said.

Saretec Director Naim Rassool says future plans for the Wind Turbine Service Technician qualification is to create short courses which service the wind industry.

“The ultimate aim it to be a global leader in renewable energy training for that reason we are constantly benchmarking ourselves,” he said.


September Graduation

Put you shoulder to the wheel.

Jodi Scholtz, the Group Chief Operating Officer at the National Department of Trade and Industry, who addressed graduates at the CPUT Spring Graduation, says “good old fashion hard work” is the key to success.

Scholtz says a culture of entitlement pervades South African culture and cautioned that there is no quick road to success.

“You need to get up and show up. You need to put your shoulder to the wheel and put in the hard work,” she says.

“Set yourself goals and work towards achieving these goals.”

She also encouraged graduates to play an active role in developing the South Africa economy.

“Making a difference starts with you and it starts today. Make your contribution to a South Africa that we can all be proud of”

A total of 595 students graduated, of which 64 were Masters students and 7 were Doctorates.

Gifts Galore

Graduation is about celebrating and to join in on the festivities, CPUT surprised each graduate with an alumni gift box.

A first for CPUT, the alumni gift box was well received by graduates, who each got handed their gift as they stepped down from stage just moments after being capped.

The blue box contained the grad mag, which this year featured graduates from the past decade, a photo frame, flashlight key chain and a keepsake graduation booklet.

An inspirational postcard with the text “Do something today that you futureself will be proud of,” was also designed for the class of 2014.

CPUT honours Bam and Wiese

For the first time in its history, CPUT recently conferred honorary doctorates to two of South Africa’s outstanding citizens, Drs Brigalia Bam and Christo Wiese, for their contributions to education and industry respectively.

Bam is the Chancellor of Walter Sisulu University and former Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Chancellor.

But it is for her position as the chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission that the country knows her.

As a tribute to her lifelong work, Bam received the Order of the Baobab in Silver from the President of South Africa, the prestigious Mahatma Ghandi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation and the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award.

She was awarded a Doctorate in Education for outstanding work as an educator.

Wiese is regarded as one of the country’s most successful and influential businessmen.

He serves on the boards of numerous companies and is the controlling shareholder of Shoprite Holdings Limited, Africa’s largest retailer.

Wiese holds prestigious awards from numerous organizations, including Business Leader of the Year by the Cape Town Sakekamer and the Pioneer of the 20th Century Award from the South African Council of Shopping Centres.

He was awarded a Doctorate in Technonolgia, Marketing for his outstanding contribution to industry.