The 6th SA-UNESCO Engineering, Science and Technology Conference

23 - 27 September 2019

North-West University, Mahikeng Campus


Prof Elvis Fosso-Kankeu

Professor Elvis Fosso-Kankeu holds a doctoral degree in Extraction Metallurgy from the University of Johannesburg and is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical and Minerals Engineering at the North-West University; academically he is very much involved with research as well as teaching in the fields of engineering and applied science.

Concerned by the challenges people are facing in South Africa as well as in the rest of the continent, he has dedicated his research to the monitoring of water quality and remediation of water pollution to improve the lives of people in a continent where access to potable water remains a challenge for many. Projects related to his research include the prediction of the dispersion of inorganic and organic pollutants from industrial areas into the surface-water sources, monitoring of surface-water quality, development of sorbents and investigation of their behaviour during the removal of pollutants, and photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants using synthesised catalysts.

Working with research groups at the University of Johannesburg and under the agenda of his own research group, he has enormously contributed to the field of “Water Quality”.

Major achievements include, among others, the publication of papers in nationally and internationally accredited journals and presentation at conferences all over the world. Recent conferences attended were organised by the International Mine Water Association (IMWA) conferences in Australia (2012), USA (2013), China (2014), Chile (2015), Germany (2016) and Russia (2019), where he also had the opportunity to be a member of the scientific committees and chaired sessions, and won the best paper in 2012 in Bunbury-Australia. He is also the conference co-chair of the International Conference on Advances in Science, Engineering, Technology and Waste Management, and co-editor of the conference proceedings books for the past three years. His recent awards include: achievement of NRF-rating status; awarding of the prize for the best young researcher of the Faculty of Engineering in 2015 – his research group was awarded the co-best group of the Faculty of Engineering in 2016 and 2017; and being awarded the NSTF Award (National Science and Technology Forum: largest science, engineering, technology and innovation awards in South Africa (known as the “Science Oscars” of recent times) Engineering Research Capacity Development, in 2019; and being finalist in the same year for the TW Kambule-NSTF (National Science and Technology Forum)

Award: Emerging Researcher and the NSTF-Water Research Commission (WRC) Award. In the teaching and learning field, he was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award (TEA) at the North-West University in 2019. In 2018 he was finalist for two national awards (National Science and Technology Forum), namely the TW Kambule-NSTF

Awards: Emerging Rese archer and the NSTF-Water Research Commission (WRC) Award. In recognition of his expertise in the field, he is continuously invited by international peers to review manuscripts. He is currently reviewing for more than 21 internationally accredited journals, among which Chemical Engineering Journal, Carbohydrate Polymer, Minerals Engineering, Journal of Environmental Management, RSC Advances, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research Journal, Journal of Hazardous Materials and Journal of Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. He has been serving as panel member for the review of proposals for the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa and the African Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society (AAS/RS; based in Kenya and England respectively) for rating of researchers, funding applications and awarding of scholarships. He has also been serving as external reviewer of more than 20 theses from various universities. At several occasions, he has been member of the scientific committee for national and international conferences. He is equally a member of scientific bodies such as the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), thw Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) and the International Mine Water Association (IMWA).

He has published around 170 papers, including conference proceedings, journal articles, book chapters (16) and books (3); more than 100 of these were published in the last five years. Moreover, Prof. Fosso-Kankeu has a score of 28 on Research Gate with 879 citations (based on the researchers registered on Research Gate, he is among the top 25% in the world), with an H-index of 17 and more than 1000 citations on Google Scholar.

He has been able to secure research funds from the NRF, WRC and Eskom to carry out research. He is involved in the supervision of fourth year students, and master’s and PhD students at several universities. He is also the head of the Water Pollution Monitoring and Remediation Initiatives Research Group (WPMRIRG) at the North-West University, which has strong links with other research institutions around the country and abroad.

Prof Andrew Robinson

Andrew K L Robinson, Public Health Physician
Areas of Expertise  Health systems & programs innovation, implementation monitoring and evaluation; communicable and non-communicable diseases; Health Information Systems, clinical research; and human resources for health.
Currently: North West University Health Science Faculty - Deputy Dean Strategy and Business Development, and, Extraordinary professor (2018), African Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR), developing the NWU School for Health Professionals, and graduate courses in Health Promotion, Public Health for non-health professionals, and solutions for the implementation of the National Health Insurance program.
North West Provincial Health Department:
  1. Head: Clinical Services (2013-2017) - responsible clinical leadership and governance of Interns, Community Service and Foreign health. Projects included the Belgian-South African Study and Consultancy Fund to study evaluate the province’s Routine Health Information Systems with the NWU.
  2. Deputy Director General (2006-2013) - Overall management, leadership and strategic direction of provincial health services of over 20 hospitals and 350 clinics, Emergency Medical Services and strategic health programs such as MCWH&N, HIV/AIDS, TB and Chronic Diseases.
  • Social franchise models for PHC clinics, now adopted by the National Department’s Ideal Clinic Program,
  • Equitable funding formulae for District Health Care Services
  • Facilitation of the establishment of the first mHealth system for Community Health Worker Ward-based Outreach Teams - which has been the benchmark for the National Department.
Past roles and responsibilities include:
Research Site Director: MRC’s South African Aids Vaccine Initiative (2002-2005), establishing a Phase I and II clinical HIV vaccine research unit with successful completion of the first preventive HIV Vaccine clinical trials in South Africa
Medical Advisor: GlaxoSmithKline, South Africa (1999-2001): National principal investigator of clinical drug and vaccine trials (including antiretroviral, antibiotic, malaria, influenza, hepatitis)
Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health (1994-1999): Durban Metropolitan Council, initially as Communicable Disease Manager
Medical Officer posts – in rural KZN, London and Leeds UK and GP in Pietermaritzburg.
A Senior Reserve Force Officer with SAMHS in the SANDF – BATLS & BARTS instructor.

Mr Nkosi Lutho Zibi


Described as a methodical and dynamic intellectual, Nkosi Lutho Zibi is an astute leader who advocates for social and corporate partnerships, with a focus on the advancement of underdeveloped communities. He is a well-rounded individual with both theoretical and practical experience; having honed his skills in strategic planning and development in the advertising industry, he now serves as a catalyst for the rural economy. He is passionate about enterprise development, community engagement, as well as formulating policies and concepts.

work experience

The early days (2005 – 2008)

His career started after having enrolled to study Marketing Management specialising in Brand Communication and Strategy with IMM Graduate School. While working as a customer service clerk for a ABSA, he was head-hunted, and subsequently appointed by the leading advertising agency, Lowe Bull. Within his role as a strategist, he was tasked with using insights of the brand and consumer to develop marketing and sales strategies in emerging markets for well- known brands.

Tthe defining years (2008 – 2012)

Having joined the fast-paced life of Brand Development, Lutho moved to RGBC, a purveyor of premium FMCGs. Accountable for below-the- line activity of brands, he was responsible for the establishment and transformation of the mainstream trade in favour of black traders, particularly in the urban areas of Metropolitan cities. In 2008, he started his own agency, which offered services in brand management and development, sponsorship, sales, and partnerships. The core of his agency was the use of strategy as a catalyst for consumer activation. Over time, this resulted in understanding consumer behaviour from all spheres of society, prompting an evolution in his business offering to focus on marginalised consumers and markets.

Presently (2012 – current)

Born into a traditional royal family responsible for maintaining the stature of the Nkosi and community by preserving indigenous culture, Lutho used his experience and leadership in 2012 to foster and promote rural economies by developing an integrated business model which would allow his community to use existing natural resources and infrastructure for its sovereign and financial benefit. He currently serves as a CEO of the Amahlubi Chairman’s Foundation, an organisation that is tasked with setting policy and strategic frameworks for rural development. Currently, he is responsible for the organisation’s strategic output, stakeholder management, investment and financial management, and community development initiatives.

Other roles

  • Provincial organiser of North West Congress of Traditional Leaders (CONTRALESA)
  • Member of the North West University Council
  • Part of the Barloworld supplier incubation
  • Acting Nkosi of Amahlubi Traditional Council
  • Serves on several boards of companies in Engineering, Agriculture, and Training and Skills Development sectors.

Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh

Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh (nee Masubelele) is currently serving as a Commissioner in the Presidential Commission for the 4th Industrial Revolution. She is also the Chairperson on the NRF Board.  Her job as the Divisional Manager for Innovation Support and Protection, also involves heading the Patents and Industrial Design registration and Policy & Outreach strategic portfolios at the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Before joining CIPC, she was the Chief Executive Officer for AfricaBio, a Biotechnology stakeholder association.

Dr Obokoh has more than 15 years local and international experience in Biotech research, development, training and management. She has led a number of innovative agricultural projects addressing food security & poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa through small-scale farmer (especially women farmers) empowerment.

Dr Obokoh obtained her PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge, Magdalene College UK, and has also worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge where she developed novel and high throughput technologies to decipher at the molecular and cellular level, the mechanisms of plant growth to improve agricultural productivity.

Furthermore, Dr Obokoh has worked in West Africa heading the 1st satellite office (in Abuja, Nigeria) of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a non-for profit international organization. She oversaw and managed innovative public-private partnership programmes, and led AATFs strategic initiatives to ensure access and development of key proprietary agricultural technologies for small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

She has also worked as a Senior Researcher in the Biotechnology Division at the Agricultural Research Council in Roodeplaat. During that period, she received competitive research grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and from the NRF/Royal Society (UK) for the South Africa-UK Science Networks to establish linkages and extend the collaboration with UK partners. She was also a recipient of the Rothamstead International - African Fellowship Programme that enabled her to pursue collaborative research in Aberystwyth, Wales.

Mr Joseph Ndaba

CEO: Mahikeng Innovation Hub
4IR Commissioner: Presidential Commission on Fourth Industrial Commission
Director: Startup Grind X – Mahikeng
Platform Lead: North West Province Innovation Support Platform
Convener: NW Province 4IR Advisory Committee 
Joseph Ndaba a founder & CEO of Mahikeng innovation hub, and a newly appointed 4 IR Commissioner - Presidential Commission on 4IR and a Director of Startup Grind X - Mahikeng MIHub is an innovative virtual techno hub in the heart of Mahikeng- capital city of North West Province, His focus is unearthing and cultivating innovative solutions that will ultimately assist businesses, educational institutions and communities to acclimatize in this vast changing technological world, while improve efficiency and effectiveness in the North West province through the use of ICT, Innovation, Entrepreneurial development, Research Development and Innovation. 
Mr. Ndaba has been in Leadership positions, IT & Training Industry for the past 11 years and with the skills and educational background he has worked as:
  • Banking Systems Training Consultant at FNB Shared Services HR L&D
  • Micro Specialist at   Spar Group of Companies (South Rand DC)
  • Retail Systems Training Controller at   Spar Group of Companies (South Rand DC)
  • Senior IT Lecture: IT Technical Support at Primeserv: Stanford Business & Computer College
As part of developing Entrepreneurs, he is sitting in two boards at the NW University –
  • North West University Enactus Business Advisory Board,
  • North West University Information Systems Department (ISD) Industry Advisory Board
He is also a chairperson of North West Province Innovation Forum – collaboration between the Industry, Government and Academia, supported by CSIR, and Department of Science & Technology.  With the aim to support and facilitate innovation activities (Regional Innovation Support Programme)
International Magazine Features:
Business news for Business Focus, a global digital magazine based here in UK.
Feature: Technology Leaders Showcase Series' for 2019 (Technology, Development, Digital Transformation, Procurement & Supply Chain)
Keynote Speaker
JB Marks Memorial Lecture:
Topic: Pros and Cons of 4IR and its impact on economy, everyday life, and education
IT News Africa: Digital Transformation Congress:
Topic: (CxO Panel) Becoming Digital Business Leader to ensure smooth transition to digital
Africa Tech Centre Stage:
Topic: How can AI transform African Businesses, and how can it be used to elevate African economy
Oracle Systems Advantage Forum:
Topic: Data Driven Digital Transformation

Prof Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya

Prof Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya, MASW, PGD (Epi), MSc (Epi), PhD, is the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research & Innovation at the North West University. She was recently the Chair of the 9th SA AIDS Conference. Before joining NWU, she was Acting Executive Director/Research Director for the HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Research Programme at the HSRC. She was the Editor-in-Chief of SAHARA Journal and Honorary Professor at Nelson Mandela University.

She led/co-led innovative collaborative epidemiological studies in HIV & AIDS, HIV co-morbidities and chronic NCDs.

She received 2016/2017 NSTF award for significant contribution to research and its ouputs 15 years after PhD. She is an NRF rated scientist; fellow of Academy of Science of South Africa, African Academy of Science, Organization for Women in Science in Developing World. She is a Board/Council member of HEAIDS, NRF and ASSAF; member of German Research Foundation Panel on Infectiology and USAF RISG.

Previously, she chaired the SAHARA Conference; served as member of Secretariat of Global HIV Prevention, SANAC Key Populations, Think politically about HIV & AIDS, IAS Social & Political HIV Research, SADC HIV Prevention & Research working/advisory groups. She supported emerging scientists through NSTF Share 'n Dare Programme, SA Young Academy of Science & Southern Africa Young Scientists Summer Programme.


Dr Happy Sithole

Dr. Happy Sithole is the Center Manager of National Integrated Cyber-Infrastructure System (NICIS). Amongst his responsibilities is to oversee the developments of High Performance Computing in the country, through the Center for High Performance Computing (CHPC), roll-out of broadband connectivity for all science councils and universities, through the SANReN and ensure long term data management for research community through DIRISA.

Dr. Sithole has a PhD in Materials Science focused on mineral extraction schemes using large-scale simulations. He has applied the simulation techniques in diamond mining industry, where he worked as Process Optimisation specialist. He has also worked in nuclear power plant design, as Senior Process Engineer.

His work in High Performance Computing includes strategic development of HPC and also technical level design of the HPC systems.

He is passionate on applications performance on HPC systems, and considers HPC systems development to be driven by the applications requirements. He has pioneered the development of skills in South Africa and the continent.

Dr. Sithole supports megascience projects such as the SKA and LHC projects. He sits in Steering Committees for HPC in different countries and also a Board Member of the National Library of South Africa, where he is the Chair of the ICT Committee. Dr. Sithole is also a member of the Steering Committee of ISC and SC.

He also participates in the Works stream focusing on Infrastructure and Resources of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He has presented invited and plenary talks in many meetings and countries.

Cyber-infrastructure developments in South Africa and their role in enhancing economic development and industrial competitiveness

South Africa has invested significantly on cyber-infrastructure in the past decade, and currently in a process of consolidating all these investments under the National Integrated Cyber-Infrastructure System (NICIS).

As we consider preparation of the country to the eminent Fourth Industrial Revolution, it becomes clear that cyber-infrastructure will play a critical role in the country’s success in efficiently harnessing the available technologies. At core of all these, will be the readiness of the country, in terms of infrastructure, skills and readiness of the industries.

In this talk we will explore the status of the country in these areas, and also highlight some of the early signs of where we are, and what decisions should we take to prepare ourselves for the future.

Dr Monnamme Tlotleng Tlotleng

Monnamme Tlotleng was born in Lotlhakane village, Mahikeng, in Bophuthatswana, now North West Province, South Africa. He matriculated from Letsatsing Science High School in Unit 9, Mmabatho. Tlotleng joined the CSIR National Laser Centre (NLC) in August 2011, as a doctoral student, holding a Professional Development Program (PDP) Scholarship from the Department of Science Technology (DST). Before then he was an intern at the Department of Energy in the Coal and Gas Directorate after he had completed his Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand. During his stay at the Energy ministry, Monnamme developed the strategy on shale gas fracking and amendments to the Gas Act of 2001.

Monnamme holds a doctoral degree in engineering, in the field of Materials Science and Engineering, from the University of Johannesburg. His thesis focused on the development of a bio-composite coating of titanium and hydroxyapatite which would serve to bio-integrate and fuse human tissues to the artificially 3D printed titanium implants. It took him at least two and half years to complete his doctorate

In 2015, Dr Tlotleng was appointed a full-time member of stuff at the CSIR as a Senior Researcher. He was also appointed an Associate Researcher by the University of Johannesburg in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Science. He has effectively supervised and co-supervised students, locally, and from Botswana University of Science and Technology. Monnamme serve as a reviewer for many international science and engineering journals and co-organise a symposium in the Annual Meetings of The Minerals, Materials and Metals (TMS).

He has served as a Secretary and board member of the Black Scientists, Technologists and Engineering Professionals (BSTEP) and a member of the adjudication panels of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF). In 2017, Dr Tlotleng received the Young Innovation NSFT Recognition Award for the bulk borehole water supply system he built, in collaboration with Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and University of Johannesburg (PEETS), for the community of Lotlhakane village.

Mr Cecil Masoka

Mr Cecil Masoka has worked in the private sector and consulted for government. He joined the public sector in 1999 working for Provincial departments and National departments including the Department of Public Service and Administration and National Department of Health. In 2003 Mr Masoka joined the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and was responsible for establishing its donor, private sector and philanthropic unit.

Between 2007 and 2012 he was seconded to the South African Embassy in Tokyo, Japan as the DST Senior Science and Technology Representative. He has worked closely with international funding agencies and championed some of the human capital development programs in the science, technology and innovation sector. Mr Masoka also established strong and sustainable relations between government and international private sector partners in supporting socio-economic impact programs that contributed to economic development and sustainable employment creation. He is currently the Director for Multilateral Cooperation at the DST.

Ms Tumisang Penelope Maphumulo

She is a Corporate Specialist for the Line Engineering Services department within Eskom’s Group Technology Division.  She graduated with a Bsc in Electrical Engineering from the Universiti Teknologi Petronas in Malaysia in 2004 and a Master in Electrical Engineering at Wits in 2018. She has been registered as a Professional Engineer since 2008.

She is a member of two Technical Groups (TC 7 and 11) at the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and a member of Working Group B2.59 at the International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE). She serves in the following roles at Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA); she is a member of Council, Chairperson of the Stakeholder Relations Committee, previous Chairperson of the Policy Development and Standards Generating Committee, previous vise-chairperson of the Electrical Engineering Professional Advisory Committee and a member of the Central Registration Committee.

She is also a member of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE). She has over 14 years’ experience that is dominated by high voltage (HV) power transmission lines design. Competencies include operating, maintenance, performance improvement and refurbishments. Tumisang has a strong power lines background and has vast experience in heading large multidisciplinary projects.

Her Master in Engineering is titled “Consideration to use High Surge Impedance Loading Lines (HSIL) in place of Series Compensation on High Voltage Transmission Lines”.

She has published four papers from this research work, one at 20th International Symposium on High Voltage Engineering conference (ISH), one at CIGRE 8th Southern African conference and two at Power-Gen & DistribuTECH Africa conference. Tumisang was finalist at the Standard Bank Rising Star Awards, won Engineer of the Year in 2017 at the SAIEE, Technology and Engineering Award for the Eskom Women Advancement Program in 2017, Eskom’s Chairman Award in the category Customer Satisfaction in 2012 and Engineer of the Year in 2010 at Eskom.

Prof Liezl Van Dyk

Prof Liezl Van Dyk is one of a few Industrial Engineers in South Africa who is both registered as a professional engineer and rated as an established researcher by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). Her extensive work experience include technical/professional engineering work, academic teaching, research and new programme development as well as experience in senior management within a challenging South African Higher Education context. She serves her professional and academic communities via several committees, panels and advisory boards.

She is goal driven and can hold a long term focus, whilst executing each step of the process. She has an exceptional ability to recognize and leverage the strengths and talents of others, resulting in optimizing their potential whilst pursuing the end goal.

Prof Van Dyk's research is focused on Technology-enabled Optimization of Service Systems, specifically within the context of Health Systems Engineering.

Early research outputs (2001 - 2008) relates on the Technology-enabled Optimization of Learning Management Systems. Research outputs related to this theme include 5 peer reviewed journal articles (2 international, 5 local ISI-listed and 1 local non-ISI-listed), as well as 5 peer reviewed publications in proceedings of international conferences. In 2009 she became  involved with the South African Medical Research Council (MRC)'s telemedicine research projects. Telemedicine is the delivery of health care services (-medicine) over a distance (tele-), enabled by technology. She eventually developed a Telemedicine Service Maturity Model for purposes of her PhD. GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association) Health Directorate adopted this model for their "mHealth Service Maturity Tracking System".

 She was member of the organizing committee, responsible for the academic programme of the 1st (2010), 2nd (2011) and 3rd (2012) South African Telemedicine Conferences and the 16th Conference of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (2012) as well as peer reviewer for three different international conferences related to Telemedicine, namely (1) the International Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine, and Social Medicine; (2) the International eHealth, Telemedicine and Health ICT Conference and (3) 3rd International Conference on Global Telehealth.

 She also – in collaboration with the Medical Research Council - developed and presented post-academic courses on telemedicine and eHealth to healthcare professionals from seven of the nine Provincial Departments of Health of South Africa.

Prof Khumbulani Mpofu

Prof Khumbulani Mpofu is the Founder, Director, Rail Manufacturing Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator (one of the 10 incubators mentioned during first SONA 2019) and the Gibela Research Chair in Manufacturing and Skills Development, TUT.

In the past he has served as Head of Department – Industrial Engineering, TUT, Senior Lecturer, Research Leader, Postgraduate Coordinator, TUT, Visiting Researcher University Ljubljana, Slovenia and lecturer, Research Leader, Postgraduate Coordinator, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa.

To date he has guided to completion more than 5 Doctoral and more than 20 Masters students have been examined and passed examinations from He has also contributed to more than 30 Journals, more than 75 conference papers, more than 10 book chapters and more 4 patents to date have been published and register respectively by Prof Mpofu. Over thirty presentations at conferences, guest lectures, locally, regionally continentally and globally have been given.

In raising funds he has also been recognized 6 times at national awards (National Science and Technology Forum, Southern African Institute of Industrial Engineers, Standard Bank-Rising Star) and more than five times in the University for Research Excellence since the beginning of his career.

To date he has been award funding totaling to the tune of over R50 million (~US$5 million) for research, innovation, incubation and commercialization activities.

Mr Cornelius Petrus Kloppers

Cornelius Petrus Kloppers, Lecturer Mechanical Engineering.
Area of Expertise:
CP Kloppers has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the North West University with focus on thermodynamic cycle design. He has been involved in the teaching and learning environment for more than 10 years. 
CP is currently enrolled as a PhD student with specialization in additive manufacturing also known as 3D printing.  He currently leads the Additive Manufacturing Research Group at the NWU that is conducting research into fields such as:
  • Design for Additive Manufacturing
  • Polymer Additive Manufacturing
  • Topology Optimization
  • Bio-printing
  • Metal Additive Manufacturing and many more
He has presented papers on these topics at the Rapid Product Development Association of South Africa and is also a member of the management committee of RAPDASA. CP has presented research from the AMRG at the Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing summit in Manchester this year and has established collaboration with various international universities such as Loughborough and the university of Auckland.
CP is the NWU representative on the management committee of the collaborative program in additive manufacturing funded by the DSI with collaborating universities such as VUT, CUT and Stellenbosch CSIR and Aerosud. 
The research focus of Mr. Kloppers is to investigate the applications of additive manufacturing in a wide variety of industries from the brewing industry to aerospace and medical application

Ms Bennitta Senyatsi

With both Industrial Engineering qualifications from the University of Johannesburg and UNISA, passing a Transportation Management qualification with Honours also from the University of Johannesburg, and now recently having completed a MBA: Dual Concertation from the International University of Japan, Bennitta has the academic backing to her experience of over 10 years within the automotive industry. From having worked in the production floor, as a Quality Technical to progressing to Sales & Marketing, as well the Aftersales environment, she has cemented her knowledge in the automotive industry.

With her abilities, she successfully helped to launch Mercedes- Benz FleetBoard in the Cape region of South Africa, before progressing to manage the northern part of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. Her choice to acquiring a truck driving license made her more credible in her work. From the trucks to customer service, Bennitta always aims to excel in her duties, as well as serving her team and customers better.

After having joined Nissan, South Africa, as the National Aftersales Fleet Manager, in her first year, she was awarded the top award at the SAVRALA Manufacture of the Year 2015 Award, nominated by fleet businesses as the Best Technical Representative in the automotive industry the first woman recipient of this award, since its formation

Bennitta is passionate about women empowerment, especially in the field of engineering. She is featured in Dr Hannelie Nel’s book Leadership and Agency by Women Engineers in South Africa, addressing the challenges faced by women working in the male-dominated industries.

Having spent over two years living and studying in Japan, Bennitta has gained a broader understanding of the running of a business, as well as the importance of looking after ones human capital, for better corporate performance; the area of her Master’s research. She maximised her relationship with the Embassy of South Africa to Japan, and not only assisted with the welcoming of ABE JICA scholarship recipients to Japan, but also hosted the Wits Business School MBA students on behalf of Nissan and the embassy, while at the same time writing recommendation papers for the then South African Ambassador to Japan.

Bennitta is currently the Product Marketing Manager for the Datsun brand at Nissan South Africa, helping to grow the businesses, since it re-entrance in the automotive industry.

Bennitta is the current Kakehashi Africa: Country Manager, heading the South African Chapter Kakehashi Africa: an all African Alumni group of JICA ABE Masters Graduates from Japan.

Prof Menno Van Zaanen

As a professor in Digital Humanities, Menno is particularly interested in incorporating the use of computational techniques in the field of Humanities. His PhD in the area of computer science dealt with building systems that learn (linguistic) grammars from plain sequences (sentences).

These empirical grammatical inference systems result in patterns that can be used for further analysis of the data, for instance, in applied machine learning, computational linguistics, or computational musicology. During his MA (computational linguistics) and MSc (computer science) studies, Menno used techniques from the one field and applied it to situations in the other, such as proofing tools and error correction, machine translation, and multi-modal information retrieval.

Such techniques can be applied to Humanities data, but for them to be fully successful, the results still need to be interpreted in the context of Humanities.

Prof Chaudry Masood Khalique


Prof Chaudry Masood Khalique received his PhD degrees from the University of Dundee, UK. He worked in the University of Botswana for 7 years and later moved to North-West University. Presently he is a full professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.  He has supervised 8 PhD’s, 19 Masters, and mentored 8 postdoctoral fellows.
His research interests are Lie group analysis of differential equations. He has published more than 200 research articles and delivered plenary talks at many international conferences. He is on the Editorial boards of 12 international journals.


He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, UK, and member of Academy of Science of South Africa, London Mathematical Society, South African Mathematical Society, and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, USA.




Prof Lobina Gertrude Palamuleni


Prof Lobina Gertrude Palamuleni received her PhD degree from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She worked at the University of Malawi and later moved to North-West University. Presently she is a full professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental sciences. She has supervised 9 PhD’s, 11 Masters, and mentored 2 postdoctoral fellows.

Her research interests centres on problems of land use and land cover changes, application of remote sensing techniques and geographical information systems to solve environmental problems specifically water resources. Very instrumental is the monitoring and management of water resources in terms of quality and quantity to ensure equitable distribution and access. She has published more than 40 research articles and delivered talks at many international conferences. She is a reviewer of more than 10 international journals in the field of water resources management, applied remote sensing and GIS.

She is the Deputy Director in the School of Geo and Spatial Sciences and a member of the Association of African Remote Sensing of the Environment, Society of South African Geographers, The Association of American Geographers and a participant of WaterNet/Water Research Fund for Southern Africa.





Prof Thebe Medupe


Prof Thebe Medupe is a research professor of astrophysics in the faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, school of physical and chemical sciences. He obtained his PhD (astronomy) at UCT. He has published over 50 articles in international journals, chapters in books. He has graduated 4 PhD students and 5 MSc students. Is a member of Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAF) and served in some NRF committees.

He is also currently the deputy dean: community engagement