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SAIMechE Council 2018 - 2020

Office Bearers

President Prof DC Blaine (Debby)
Vice President H Makwarela (Hangwani)
National Treasurer Prof JL van Niekerk (Wikus)

Branch Chairpersons

Central A Celliers (Alicia)
Eastern Cape G van den Berg (Gideon)
KwaZulu/Natal Dr J Padayachee (Jared)
Mpumalanga Highveld N Lecordier (Noel)
Vaal N Swanepoel (Niekie)
Western Cape Dr M Venter (Martin)


Communications and Marketing G Bartholomew (Bart)
TBA MAE Black (Malcolm) 
TBA HG Bosman (Tertius)
Technology Olympiad Programme/Procedures SZ de Nagy Koves Hrabar (Stefan)
TBA C Molomo-Mphephu (Cillia)
TBA  R Tshitahe (Rudzani)



Profiles of Council Members:


Bart Bartholomew

Portfolio: Communications and Marketing

Bart is principal engineer and sole director at Nautilus Engineers, a company that specialises in the design of pressure equipment, piping and storage tanks for process industries. 

Prior to him forming the company in 2005, Bart worked as a consultant, contractor and client for a multitude of companies in the petro-chem, pulp& paper, sugar and construction industries.

Malcolm Black

Portfolio: TBA

Profile to be updated shortly. 

Prof Debby Blaine

Portfolio: President

Debby is an Associate-Professor at Stellenbosch University, in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. She has served on the Western Cape branch committee of SAIMechE since 2007. In 2011 she was elected as the first female Chair of the Western Cape SAIMechE committee, a position she held for the 2011-2013 period (during which she also became a first-time mom!).

She was co-opted onto SAIMechE's National Council in 2017 and assigned the Engineering Education portfolio. Debby is a Fellow of SAIMechE and is the first female President of SAIMechE's National Council. She is passionate about creating a diverse, inclusive and engaging community for mechanical engineers in South Africa, and about drawing young engineers into this community.

Tertius Bosman

Portfolio: TBA

Tertius matriculated in the Cape province, Durbanville High School and proceeded to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch which he completed in 1986. After completing his studies, he reported for National Service at the Technical Service Corps in Voortrekkerhoogte, but decided during this period to join the South African Airforce as a permanent member, working as a design engineer predominantly reverse engineering aircraft components and maintenance support equipment during a time the defence force experience numerous challenges due to sanctions.

In 1990 he joined Sasol Technology in Secunda and were thrown in deep end with the polypropylene plant project team, just as they started commissioning the newly built plant. During his 5 years at Sasol technology as design engineer he had the opportunity to grow immensely in the petrochemical arena and had the opportunity to implement several ground-breaking solutions to optimise maintenance, optimise the gasification process and in devising complicated repair procedures on pressurised equipment.

In 1995 Tertius was part of the founding members of MegChem (previously MegChem Engineering and Drafting Services). MegChem started off providing engineering support services to Sasol and soon grew into a full project house providing maintenance support and project and construction management services. MegChem provides Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, Instrumentation and Control, Piping, Process and Metallurgical Engineering solutions to petrochemical, power, paper and steel industry amongst others. Tertius registered with ECSA as Professional Engineer in 1996 and worked as design engineer for most of his career mainly focussing on conceptual design, detail design, research and development, fitness for service assessments, project and construction support, and also occasional design work outside the petrochemical industry. Tertius is currently an executive manager for all the engineering disciplines excluding the Piping and Metallurgical divisions. 

Tertius also serves on the SAIMechE Highveld Branch, with the portfolio of CPD and mentorship. In his free time, he likes to create, fix and build things, and have amongst others successfully built and restored a couple of guitars, a violin and two custom motorcycles.

Alicia Celliers

Portfolio: Central Branch Chairperson

B.Eng Mechanical

Alicia is a Project Engineer at Single Destination Engineering. She has been in the Oil & Gas sector since she obtained her Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from the North West University (NWU) in Potchefstroom. 

She has experience in a wide range of projects regarding mechanical and process engineering disciplines for power generation in Africa and the Middle East. She is responsible for Designing, Procurement, Client liaison, Work Packages Contractor Co-ordination, Managing and tracking Project Finances and deliverables, Organising and tracking Project Programmes.



Stefan HrabarStefan Hrabar

Portfolio: Technology Olympiad

Pr.Eng, C.Eng, CEnv, PMP, B.Sc. (Eng) (Mech) (Wits), G.Dip.(Eng) (Wits), MBL (UNISA), Senior Executive Programme (Manchester Business School), Hon.FSAIMechE, FSAIMechE, FSAAE, FIMechE, MEI, MSAIIE, M.PMSA, MSACorrI. Director Engineering and Project Management - Mirlem Pty (Ltd).

46 Years’ experience in Engineering, Project Management and Construction of large projects in diverse industries locally and internationally. Previously Director and Managing Director of various Companies within the Murray & Roberts Group and International companies in South Africa. Involved in the Offshore Oil and Gas Projects since 1983: Management of South Africa’s first gas offshore development and sub-sea pipelines and marine structures internationally.

Past President of SAIMechE and Chairman of the SAIMechE Technology Olympiad.  Served on the CBE Appeals Committee and the Engineering Professions Accreditation Committee (EPAC).  Previously Chairman of the NPA Offshore Oil & Gas Committee and Founder and Chairman of the South African Oil and Gas Alliance and Director of the International Pipeline Offshore Contractors Association representing Middle East and Africa. He has been selected to undertake Accreditation of engineering programmes at South African Universities. Appointed by the Minister of Transport to serve on the Port Consultative Committee of the Saldanha Port deputy to the National Port Consultative Committee.

Noel Lecordier

Portfolio: Mpumalanga Highveld Branch Chairperson

Profile to be updated shortly.

Hangwani Makwarela 

Portfolio: Vice President

Pr. Eng, BSc Mech Eng (Wits), GCC (Labour), MBA (Wales), FSAIMechE, MSABTACO

Hangwani is the founder and CEO of Muteo Consulting, which has been providing multi-disciplinary engineering consulting and project management services since 2004. 

His work experience is in maintenance, production and engineering consulting environments, which span steel-making, FMCG, power generation, water supply and construction industries.

Cillia Molomo-Mphephu

 BTech in Mechanical Eng, Masters in Business Admin and MSc with University of Pretoria (pending)


Cillia is a Mechanical Engineering professional with a passion in physical asset management.  She has over 24 years of working experience in the engineering discipline of which over 16 years were in management positions.  She, furthermore, has experience in multidisciplinary and multi-sites environments of the Engineering discipline.


Cillia is currently in the employ of Armscor Dockyard as a Divisional Head for Operations Business Unit, prior to which she also held various other positions with organisations like City of Cape Town, Sasol, Department of Correctional Services and Denel.


On a professional front, Cillia founded the Vaal branch of the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering (SAIMechE) which is currently sitting with over 400 Members.  She was, as a result, the first chairperson of the Vaal branch and also a National Council member for SAIMechE from 2013 to 2015, after which she rejoined the Council again in 2019.  She is also currently playing a role in the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).


Cillia firmly believes in nurturing the upcoming professionals because that is the only way the profession will be able to sustain provision of credible engineering opinion.


Dr Jared Padayachee

Portfolio: KZN Branch Chairperson

BScEng (Mech), MScEng, Phd

Dr Padayachee has been working in academia for the past 7 years. He is currently based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where he is involved in the lecturing of mechanical engineering design and the coordination of research and design projects.

Dr Padayachee is a member of the Mechatronics and Robotics Research Group (MR2G) at UKZN. He is currently involved in advanced manufacturing research with specialization in the design of new types of production equipment, the design of manufacturing facilities and the optimization of manufacturing operations.

Niekie Swanepoel

Portfolio: Vaal Branch Chairman

B-Tech Mechanical Engineering, Pr. Tech. Eng.


Niekie obtained a National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering in 2004 and started his engineering career as a design technician in the transport industry at SA Truck Bodies. After completing a B-Tech degree in mechanical engineering in 2008 Niekie moved into the petrochemical industry in 2009 joining MegChem as a design technologist and project engineer. He currently works for Sasol LTD as a principle strategic sourcing specialist for mechanical commodities.


Niekie registered as a professional engineering technologist with the Engineering Council of South Africa in 2012 and was also one of the founding members of the SAIMechE Vaal Branch in 2014. He served in several positions on the Vaal Branch Committee and is currently the Chairman of the branch.

Rudzani Tshitahe

Portfolio: TBA

Profile to be updated shortly.

Gideon van den Berg

Portfolio: National Treasurer and Eastern Cape Branch Chairman

Pr Eng, B.Eng (UP) M.Eng (UP)

Gideon is currently working as a consulting mechanical engineer in the construction industry. He started his career as a junior engineer at Anglogold Ashanti but soon decided that he wanted to see more things "above ground” whereafter he worked as a project engineer on a number of railway projects on the London Underground railways.

He has since worked as a mechanical design engineer for consumer goods and served his time as a maintenance supervisor in the sheet metal pressing industry in the Eastern Cape. During 2012 – 2013 Gideon was the Technical Manager for Kestrel Renewable Energy designing small wind turbines and solar power (PV) installations. 

Gideon registered as a professional engineer in 2010.


Dr Martin Venter

Portfolio: Western Cape Branch Chairman

Martin started his career in the maintenance department of Hulett aluminium's cold rolled products line in Pietermaritzburg.

In 2014 he took a position as a research engineer at Vortex Innovation Worx in Cape Town. After completing his PhD in 2015 he took up a full-time position in the Department of Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering at Stellenbosch university where he is now a Senior Lecturer. 


Prof Wikus van Niekerk

Portfolio: Treasurer

Wikus van Niekerk is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University.  He holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.  

Prof van Niekerk is the Director of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies established in 2006 funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Eskom and Sasol.  He has a keen interest in harvesting the energy from the sun, wind and ocean. 
Prof van Niekerk is a registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South African and has been practising as a consultant to industry for fifteen years. He has published more than 14 articles in refereed international journals and presented a number of papers at international conferences.  He is a fellow of the Southern African Acoustics Institute, the South African Academy of Engineers and a fellow and board member of the South African Institution for Mechanical Engineering; a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Sustainable Energy Society of South Africa and a Board Member of the International Solar Energy Society.


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