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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 P Moketla (Portia)
Eastern Cape G van den Berg (Gideon)
KwaZulu/Natal Dr J Padayachee (Jared)
Mpumalanga Highveld M Mashele (Mishael)
Vaal N Swanepoel (Niekie)
Western Cape Dr G Erfort (Gareth)


Communications and Marketing G Bartholomew (Bart)
Professional Development Programme MAE Black (Malcolm) 
Projects and Systems Awards HG Bosman (Tertius)
Technology Olympiad Programme/Procedures SZ de Nagy Koves Hrabar (Stefan)
Student and Candidate Affairs M Jansen van Rensburg (Marietjie)
Membership C Molomo-Mphephu (Cillia)
Diversity and Transformation 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: Professional Development Programme (PDP)

Malcolm Black, B.Sc (Mech Eng) from the University of Witwatersrand (1973), Bachelor of Theology (Th.B) from Rhodes University (1977), Government Certificate of Competency (1982), has worked firstly as a Student Engineer - Anglo american Research Laboratories, Crown Mines and then as a Manager and / Engineer in a number of companies; Site Engineer - Anglo American Research Laboratories, Crown Mines; Factory Manager - Turnall Ltd, Jacobs, Durban; Factory and Building Products Manager - Xpanda Products Pinetown; Plant Engineer - Tongaat Oils and African Products, Jacobs, Durban; Plant Engineer - Coats Pty Ltd, Hammarsdale; Engineering Manager - Dempsey Engineering and Buckman Laboratories, Hammarsdale; Factory Engineer - Gelvenor Textiles, Hammarsdale.  Recent activities include OHSAct GMR 2 (1) appointee at Gelvenor Textiles and Prilla 2000 and PDP Project Manager for SAIMechE.  Malcolm has been an elected member of the SAIMechE Council since 2010, with a two year break from 2015 - 2017.  All of the above positions required the use of management and technical skills in order to get the required tasks done and produce the necessary bottom line results.  All management skills were obtained in practical situations and developed with plant and business performance in mind.  Current focus is on training, the PDP Programme and Mentoring development.


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: Projects and Systems Awards

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.



Dr Gareth Erfort

Portfolio: Western Cape Branch Chairman

Gareth obtained his bachelor and Masters in Engineering at UCT.  He then worked for CSIR before taking up a job overseas.  He has been in academia for 3 years as a lecturer for Stellenbosch University and recently completed his PhD in renewable energy.  Dr Erfort's focus is on using open source CFD for design and expanding the use of renewable energy in Africa.




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.


Marietjie Jansen van Rensburg


Portfolio:  Student and Candidate Affairs


BEng Mechatronics (Stellenbosch University)


Marietjie has been involved with SAIMechE since 2012. She is passionate about training, education and professional development. During her time with SAIMechE she has fulfilled various roles including SU Student Representative, SU Student Chapter Chairperson, and since 2016 she has fulfilled the Student and Candidate Affairs portfolio on National Council, first as a Council Representative, and currently as an official member of Council. Marietjie, with the guidance and support of CEO, Vaughan Rimbault and Digital Communication Specialist, Anisa Nanabhay, designed and started the SAIMechE Student Chapter initiative, which she also chaired at SU in 2014. Since then, Marietjie has devoted her time and effort to rolling out this initiative Nationally. Today, under her constant guidance, management and support, SAIMechE is proud to fund SAIMechE Student Chapters at UJ APK, UJ DFC, VUT, MUT, NMU, UKZN and UCT hosting an array of events, including technical talks, site visits, workshops, GirlCad sessions, speed mentoring events, Annual Roadshows and more, to add significant value to the SAIMechE Student Membership. Thanks to this initiative, SAIMechE has seen a large increase in student memberships over the last 4 years, and Marietjie’s focus for the next two years will be to design and start up a Graduate/Candidate Initiative to assist the institution to retain and gain graduate memberships, and to provide guidance in the process of PrEng and general Professional Development to our members.


Marietjie has been working in the Auto Glass industry since 2015 in various roles including Sales Consultant, Sales Manager, Operations Manager and Financial Manager. Since 2016 she has been a co-owner and Director of Sales and Operations at Fixit Auto Glass and is currently the General Manager, managing a team of 11 employees.


Hangwani Makwarela 

Portfolio: Vice President

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

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.

Mishael Mashele

Portfolio: Mpumalanga Highveld Branch Chairperson

Mishael Mashele is the incumbent Chairman of the SAIMechE in the Mpumalanga Highveld region.  He obtained his B(Eng) Mechanical from the University of Pretoria.  He currently holds the position of Engineering Manager.  He assumed the role when the company was in business rescue; he resuscitated the dormant engineering department by resourcing it with a full staff compliment and business turnaround strategies that yielded a 200% increase in turnover in just over a year.


Mishael, being an advocate for education and scarce skills, has undertaken various initiatives for this cause.  He was instrumental in the hosting of numerous SAIMechE World of Engineering and Artisanship exhibitions in partnership with Sasol and other engineering companies.  These exhibitions provided a practical interpretation of principles taught at schools through various experiments in all engineering disciplines.


He is the incumbent Mpumalanga Ambassador for an NGO called MADA (Moving Ahead Development Agency) which runs an annual Boys2Men programme that exposes kids, with absent fathers, to Engineering, Technology and IT.  The programme is sponsored by the Department of Education in Gauteng, SAP and Institutions of higher learning such as TUT and UNISA.  Mishael also sits on the Judges Panel for the Southern Highveld Community Development Trust under the Peermont Group which awards 10 scholarships annually to deserving learners in any field of study.


His other roles include being a Lead Facilitator for the DUX Youth Development Programme which provides seminars empowering learners from grade 7 to 12 with soft skills necessary to equip them with confidence and skills for tertiary education and the workplace. 

Cillia Molomo-Mphephu


Portfolio: Membership

 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 Centre of Engineering Excellence as the Director, prior to which she also held various other positions with organisations like Armscor Dockyard as a Divisional Head for Operations Business Unit, 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.


Portia Motleka

Portfolio:  Central Branch Chairperson

Portia completed her BSc Mechanical Engineering qualification at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011.  In 2016, she graduated with a BEng Hons from the University of Pretoria.  She is a registered Professional Mechanical Engineer with 7 years of industry experience in Defence, Energy and Mining industries.  Portia has a passion for developing the engineering profession and is currently part of the review panel for Mechanical Engineering at  ECSA.  Portia is currently employed as a product engineer at Komatsu Mining Corporation.


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: Diversity and Transformation


Mr Rudzani Tshitahe (Pr. Eng., MSAIMechE) is a Council Member of SAIMechE, serving in the portfolio of Diversity and Transformation.   Rudzani is Chief Engineer at Eskom Generation Division’s Nuclear Engineering Department.  He holds an M.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering , among other academic qualifications. He has developed and presented training workshops through SAIMechE.  Rudzani is an Assessor, Moderator and Reviewer of applications for professional registration at ECSA, where he also serves on ECSA's Dams Committee.   
His professional strengths are in system design and analysis, quality assurance, management and project management, policy formulation and strategic management.


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.


Prof Wikus van Niekerk

Portfolio: National 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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