Prof Khumbulani Mpofu flanked by the DVC - Research, Innovation and Engagement, Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka and Dr Grace Kanana, Executive Dean - FEBE.
An excited Prof Khumbulani Mpofu, who spearheads the project as well as the Research Chair, expressed his appreciation for the immeasurable support he received from the Gibela Consortium, in particular the CEO and the leadership of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
“Today we do not only celebrate this milestone and showcase our prototypes, more than anything the world will now know the hard work invested in localizing the University’s technologies and commercialization by our research chair team, the startups, the students, postdoctoral fellows, incubates and the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.
The objectives of the chair are to:
- facilitate railway-specific skills development to provide capacity for the railway industry;
- expand the scientific research and innovation capacity of South Africans in the fields of railway industry and manufacturing;
- improve South Africa’s international research and innovation competitiveness while responding to the social and economic challenges of the country;
- attract and retain excellent researchers and scientists;
- increase the production of masters and doctoral graduates; and
- create research career pathways for young researchers with a strong research, innovation and human capital development output plan.
- The value of the research chair is R25 million over five years.
Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement, said: “No words can express the University’s gratitude to Gibela for their trust in our capabilities as a UoT. Congratulations to Prof Mpofu and his team for the sterling job they do. I am especially pleased, since this further growths TUT’s niche focus areas, while this type of private-public partnership is what universities should aim to attract. My office will keep on supporting excellence in the University and continue to be proud that our students are part of history.”
The CEO of Gibela, Hector Danisa, welcomed the TUT delegation and opened the factory tour for all to view the magnificent world class manufacturing work taking place in Nigel.
In her opening remarks, Mulalo Mercy Tshivhilinge, Head of Engineering at Gibela, said Gibela is conscious of its role as a catalyst for economic development and the creation of new skills in partnership with its stakeholders, in particular TUT. “We are excited about this partnership and also the launch of a research chair for the benefit of knowledge generation and entrepreneurial support in the rail manufacturing industry. The research chair will provide platforms where the youth could be engaged and enriched with knowledge and skills to meet up with the emerging technologies of the digital age.”
“This important exhibition is a token of hope and encouragement to the Gibela Research Chair team. It was not an easy journey to reach our current destination. This event is extra special as it brings together work from opposite sides of the spectrum – valuable work seldom seen in public. This is a historic day for TUT and we will continue to celebrate this great accomplishment,” said Dr Carol Selepe, Senior Director at the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal.
The Gibela Research Chair exhibition also formed part of the build-up to the official launch and celebration of the chair on 3 September 2021.