SANRAL enriches the lives of candidate engineers

SANRAL candidate engineer Thabang Motedi assembles the compaction machine that is used to determine the maximum dry density and optimum moisture for soil or gravel layers in road construction. He is supervised by Zolani Sinukela, a senior materials tester of soil.


SANRAL enriches the lives of candidate engineers

Eastern Cape, 17 August 2022: The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) is contributing to the growth of the civil engineering skills pool with 15 candidate engineers and four candidate technologists who started their training at the Technical Excellence Academy (TEA) in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).

The candidates are from various provinces and have been placed among colleagues and peers who have an abundance of experience and advice to offer. Of the 19 candidates, eight will remain in Gqeberha for two years, working either at the design academy or the materials testing laboratory, and 11 have been assigned to work on construction sites.

Since its establishment in 2014, 30 female and 79 male candidate engineers have completed at least one year of training at the Academy.

“The candidates receive much-needed training that will allow them to achieve the training outcomes required by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) sooner than candidates who are not as privileged to be in such an enabling environment,” said Andrew van Gruting, SANRAL TEA Senior Mentor.

Ntokozo Ndinisa is a candidate engineer in the design academy.

The candidates joined the TEA in June this year. He said SANRAL benefits from the programme by having access to an increasing pool of highly talented candidate engineers and technologists who are establishing themselves in the industry early in their careers.

The participants undergo intensive training in the design aspects of SANRAL’s national road projects. The training includes geometric design, traffic analysis and capacity assessment, materials investigation and utilisation, pavement evaluations and materials designs, and storm water drainage assessments, including sub-surface drainage considerations.

Ntokozo Ndinisa, who graduated from the University of Witwatersrand in 2019 with his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree, is a former SANRAL bursary recipient and started as a candidate engineer working on the R81 project in Limpopo. “As an assistant resident engineer, my key roles were site-based work and supervision of roads and bridge construction,” said Ndinisa.

“After two years on site, I joined the design academy in March 2022. I am currently working on a design of upgrades from gravel to surfaced roads with a drainage project,” said Ndinisa.

Lisakhanya Wali, who graduated with his BEng Tech degree in Civil Engineering from the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) this year (2022), joined the materials testing laboratory in June.

“From a very young age I have always been fascinated with the design and construction of buildings and bridges, so I knew I’d end up working in one of these industries,” said Wali.

Lisakhanya Wali tests the effects of water content in soil using the Atterberg Limits method. He is supervised by Xoliswa Mnyaka, a senior material tester for soils.

Wali is currently based at the materials testing lab. “I’m stationed in the Seal Lab where we do various tests on aggregates. So far, my experience in the department has been very insightful. I enjoy getting my hands dirty, doing the actual tests and obtaining the results so that we can analyse them”.

“I’m looking forward to getting as much experience as I can which will help me register with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) as a Professional Engineering Technologist. I also appreciate learning from the mentors and being exposed to different aspects of civil engineering, such as structures, geometric design and pavements,” said Wali.

Thabang Motedi received a SANRAL bursary in 2017 during his first year of studies until he graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering (Civil) from the University of Witwatersrand in 2022. He joined the materials testing lab in June this year.

“My experience has been amazing. My colleagues have been amazing, welcoming and very willing to share their experience with us youngsters. I am currently working with compaction and classifying the appropriate material for road layers. What I love about this department is that it gives you the fundamentals, from the beginning. It builds up your understanding of roads in general and you get to learn more about what is under the black stuff we drive over, and how certain material will behave, and most importantly what the specification says about that material. All the theory and calculations Wits made me do are now being turned into reality,” said Motedi.

The TEA video can be found here: