MUT staff participate in Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge

Dr Onunka, right, with some members of the team.
Dr Onunka, right, with some members of the team

MUT staff, Dr Chiemela Onunka of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was part of a team that won the Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge which took place  at the Durban University of Technology, University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) and Transnet Port Terminal and concluded on 30 November 2018.

Dr Onunka participated along with Nonjabulo Gasa, Sandile Goqo, both from UKZN’s Mechanical Engineering and Ntuthuko Msimango Department of Electronic Engineering, in the same university.

The team provided solutions on infrastructure development and improvement which will enable Transnet Port Terminal at Durban to be more efficient. “We showed them the appropriate modern automation technology and virtual reality required to efficiently load and unload ships,” said Dr Onunka. “This will enable Transnet Port Terminal to save money and time.”

The challenge took six months to complete. The team went through various innovation presentations and emerged as winners of the Challenge. They were awarded Operations Efficiency from Transnet Port Terminals.  The Challenge was sponsored by Transnet Port Terminals, Aurecon, Adams & Adams, Oracle, Domino Foundation, DUT, Technology Innovation Agency, eThekwini Maritime Cluster and it was coordinated and hosted by Innovate Durban.

Chem Engineering staff wins big at South African Institution of Chemical Engineers

Sihle, Prof Bakare, and Dr  Lasich
Sihle, Prof Bakare, and Dr Lasich

Two Chemical Engineering lecturers were awarded at the 10th Annual South African Institution of Chemical Engineers research day held at the Riverside Hotel, Durban on 30 November 2018.

Dr Mathew Lasich, a lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, was one of the winners.

Sihle Mtsweni, who is an nGap lecturer in the department, came third in the Oral Presentation Category out of 17 presentations conducted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in October 2018 where participants from the Durban University of Technology (DUT), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and University of Stellenbosch took part.

Commenting on the achievements by his colleagues, Babatunde Bakare, Associate Professor/Head, Environmental Pollution and Remediation Research Group in the Department of Chemical Engineering, who was recently elected as a committee member on the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers Board, said it “really feels good when you see colleagues winning awards for their active involvement in research.” Prof Bakare said he was very excited to see Sihle awarded for his hard work. Prof Bakare is Sihle’s Doctoral supervisor and was Sihle’s Master’s supervisor. Prof Bakare added that they published three journal articles from Sihle’s Master’s research work in DHET accredited international journals, and made presentations in two academic conferences. Sihle is currently in the 2nd year of his doctoral studies.

Sihle said that the achievement has exposed him to what others in the field are doing. “Attending the conference at UKZN and winning was a great exposure for me. I was participating in the conference for the first time,” said Sihle.

VC welcomes a cohort of new managers

Jacob, Zolisa, Noni, VC, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, Fozia and Muzi
Jacob, Zolisa, Noni, VC, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, Fozia and Muzi

Mangosuthu University of Technology has this week welcomed five new managers to strengthen the leadership of the university. The new appointees will occupy offices in the Registrar’s division, Risk and Compliance, Operations, Legal Services and the Library.

Zolisa Gqamane has been appointed Deputy Registrar: Academic Administration. He will be responsible for student admission, registration and examinations.

Jacob Mabaso, who is the Director of Risk and Compliance, will focus on the financial health of the institution and ensuring that the university gets clean audits.

Muzi Khumalo, who is the Senior Director: Operations, said amongst his priorities would be “focusing on the safety of students within the university facilities. Team-up with other portfolios to improve the physical infrastructure of the institution”

Fozia Modhi, who is the new Senior Director: Legal Services, said her first priority is “to minimise legal matters by managing them properly, internally. This will save cost on legal matters and build relations across MUT and to ensure that the role of legal services is understood internally”. She will work closely with the VC to ensure legal compliance across the institution.

Noni Makhathini, the new Senior Librarian, said her focus would be to provide “a value-driven service where the library is more visible, modern and attractive to the young user”.

Electrical Engineering staff join ECSA’s assessment team

Prof Naidoo, left, and Anil, right, with Wilson Ndlovu, Head of the Department
Prof Naidoo, left, and Anil, right, with Wilson Ndlovu, Head of the Department

Two Department of Electrical Engineering staff members have recently undergone assessment and evaluation training offered by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). The training will enable staff to assess and evaluate qualifications for accreditation at universities of technology across the country.

Anil Lonappan, a lecturer in the department, has joined the pool of professionals who will perform qualification evaluation and accreditation after undergoing the ECSA training on 14 and15 November 2018. Anil said the fact that they were now part of the ECSA assessing team was a big advantage for the department. “We can only assess programmes of other institutions across the country, not MUT as that would be clash of interest. But we can now advise the department on the requirements for accreditation.”

Ralph Naidoo, an Assistant Professor in the department, is also part of the ECSA pool and has been undergoing regular training. ECSA’s Durban branch has been offered a platinum status after two papers written by Prof Naidoo earned the branch some points.

MUT bodybuilder jets off to Ecuador, South America

Philani will be wearing national colours in Ecuador
Philani will be wearing national colours in Ecuador

A very quiet call comes through – Philani Gabela flew out of the country on 28 November 2018 at 5am; he’s going overseas! Willie Mkhwanazi, Deputy Director, Sport department, was on the other end of the line.

The bodybuilder and MUT third year Quantity Surveying student is jetting off to Ecuador, South America, to compete against athletes from the rest of the world in the bodybuilding Junior World Championship.

Philani, who was awarded the South African colours in September 2018, is confident he will ace the competition. “I followed the proper training regime. I am in great shape,” said Philani. Philani was crowned MUT Sportsman of the Year in September  2018. He is a disciplined eater and is careful about his diet such that he will barely eat anything in the one day, four-hour flight, with two stops.

Philani says the most crucial time are the last two weeks before the event. He will adjust his diet to lose 10 kilograms so he will be able to participate in the Under 75 kg, Under 23 category.