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Leadership

The CSIR’s leadership structure comprises the CSIR Board, Group Executive Management and Executive Managers. They bring a broad range of expertise to continue steering an organisation that strives to transform the world in which we live.

Prof Thokozani Majozi (Chairperson)
Chairperson of the CSIR Board, NRF/DST Chair: Sustainable Process Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand

Thokozani Majozi is a full professor in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at Wits University where he also holds the NRF/DST Chair in Sustainable Process Engineering. Prior to joining Wits, he spent almost 10 years at the University of Pretoria, initially as an associate professor and later as a full professor of chemical engineering. He was also an associate professor in computer science at the University of Pannonia in Hungary from 2005 to 2009.

Majozi completed his PhD in Process Integration at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in the United Kingdom. He is a Fellow for the African Academy of Sciences, a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and a Fellow for the Academy of Engineering of SA. He has served in various senior positions, including Vice-President of the Engineering Council of South Africa (2009 – 2012), Director of Pelchem (2007 – 2010) and Director of Necsa (2010 – 2013).

He has received numerous awards for his research including, most recently, the National Order of Mapungubwe (Bronze) awarded by the President of the Republic of South Africa; the Burianec Memorial Award (Italy); S2A3 British Association Medal (Silver) and the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers Bill Neal-May Gold Medal. He is a three-time recipient of the NSTF Award and twice the recipient of the NRF President’s Award. He has authored and co-authored more than 200 scientific publications, including 4 books published by Springer and CRC/Press. He is a B1 NRF-rated researcher.

Dr Thulani Dlamini (CEO)
CSIR CEO

Dr Thulani Dlamini is the Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR). He was appointed in this position in February 2017, but he is no stranger to the CSIR having previously served the organisation with distinction for many years.

He joined the CSIR in 2005 as the head of the National Laser Centre and in 2008, he was appointed in the position of Group Executive: Research and Development, a position he held until 2011 when he left the CSIR to join Sasol. At Sasol, he was the Executive Manager: Research and Development and later became Vice-President for Strategic Research and Technology.

Dr Dlamini holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master’s in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa.

He has served in many Boards and National Committees. He is a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and the South African Academy of Science.

Dr Amber-Robyn Childs

Dr Amber-Robyn Childs is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science at Rhodes University. She holds a PhD in Ichthyology and an MSc in Ichthyology (cum laude) from Rhodes University.

Dr Childs is an accomplished academic and researcher who has published over 30 scientific manuscripts in ISI-rated journals. Her research centres on the biology, ecology, physiology and movement behaviour of estuarine and coastal fishes, with implications for fisheries and climate change. She is also involved in the biological and social aspects of recreational fisheries to ultimately improve angler behaviour, and fish health and survival.

Her achievements include being a co-investigator and/or collaborator for several successful research grants (i.e. SA-Norway Bilateral Grants 2007 - 2014, NRF-ACEP Grant 2013, 2018, NRF-Marine Science call 2019). She is a recipient of the S2A3 Bronze Medal, a national award for the best Masters in the Science Faculty, and was also awarded the SANCOR International Student Travel Award. She has received several scholarships through the German Academic Exchange Service, known as DAAD, and the Rhodes University Atlantic Philanthropies Grant.   

Dr Childs has supervised over 20 students at honours, masters and doctoral levels.

Ms Phindile Baleni
Director General, Gauteng Premier's Office

Phindile Baleni (formerly Nzimande) was appointed as the Director General in the Gauteng Premier's office in March 2015. This follows her tenure as the CEO of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) since April 2011. She is an admitted Attorney and Conveyancer and holds a B. Proc and an LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand. She was a strategic management team legal advisor to the then Gauteng MEC for Housing and Local Government from 1994 to 1996. In 1996, Baleni joined the Metropolitan Council of Johannesburg where she held a number of key positions and was ultimately appointed as the Executive Director of Contract Management for the City of Joburg in 2001, which entailed managing and regulating the relationship between the City and its municipal-owned entities.

In June 2003, she was appointed as CEO of EDI Holdings, the state-owned company tasked with project managing the restructuring of the electricity distribution industry in the country. She currently serves in the boards of MERSETA and the Wits University Council. She has also served on a number of other Boards such as Sanparks, Momentum and Nurcha, a presidential-led project established to facilitate investment in the financing of low cost housing. Whilst at NERSA, she was the Chairperson of the Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa and an Executive Committee Member of the African Forum for Utility Regulators.

Dr Ramatsemela Masango
Executive Director, Mzansi Energy Solutions and Innovations (Pty) Ltd

Ramatsemela Masango is currently an Executive Director at Mzansi Energy Solutions and Innovations (Pty) Ltd (Mzesi), where she is also the Group Chief Technology Officer tasked with ensuring successful delivery of Mzesi products and services, while positioning Mzesi as a reputable international player in the nuclear technology field, renewable energy sector and the training sector. She leads the Mzesi subsidiary, Mzesi Energy (Pty) Ltd in her capacity as CEO and is also a non-executive director and chairman of ArioGenix (Pty) Ltd. She was previously employed by the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Company, the National Nuclear Regulator and Eskom’s Koeberg Nuclear Power Station in technical roles, management and executive positions.

Following the completion of her B.Tech degree (cum laude) in chemical engineering, she received a Fulbright Scholarship to study towards a Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and was also awarded the Fulbright Amy Biel award for being the most outstanding applicant that year. In recognition of her contribution to the Penn State Nuclear Engineering department during her Master’s degree studies, the university awarded her a scholarship to complete her PhD in Nuclear Engineering.

Mr Stafford Masie

Stafford commenced his education in South Africa before undertaking studies in computer science at Tel Aviv University, Israel. He has been involved in the IT industry for more than 20 years, and was associated with pre-eminent ICT companies, such as Telkom, Dimension Data, Novell and Google. His passion for technology led to him holding senior executive positions at Novell USA (based in Utah for seven years) and subsequently at Novell South Africa.

He is also responsible for establishing Google's presence in South Africa and orchestrating their initial broader Africa strategy. After leaving Google in 2010, he founded several FINTECH businesses and has since established several technology start-ups that have expanded globally.

He is known as the inventor of the Thumbzup "Payment Pebble" and "Payment Blade". One of the companies he founded recently raised capital via an International VC and the USA-based Visa Incorporated also acquired an equity stake. He continues his entrepreneurial journey today as an inventor within early stage IT start-ups - most notable is GATTACA an artificial intelligence platform and crypto currency specialists.

He also lectures at several business schools, participates in television and radio broadcasts and is an international guest keynote speaker on the influence of technology on modern life, society and education. Stafford is also a private pilot, a microlight pilot and a scuba dive master. In 2018, he won the ElliptiGo bike race category, while competing within the "Tour Durban" event.

Ms Tiny Mokhabuki

Ms Tiny Mokhabuki is a qualified Chartered Accountant, registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. She has 13 years’ experience in finance, within a wide range of multinational companies. Her experience ranges across an array of industries, including pharmaceutical, insurance, banking and hospitality. She brings with her a wealth of expertise with strengths in areas such as profit and loss reporting and financial analysis.

She is currently in a partnership with Connected Video, a division of MultiChoice, where she manages and reports on the financial aspects of the division. Prior to this, she was a Finance Manager at Aspen Pharmacare, where she was responsible for running the finance reporting, cashbook, tax, audit, and analysis aspects of Aspen’s Sales and Marketing division.

Ms Mokhabuki obtained her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (with CTA) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She further obtained a certificate in Management Development from the Gordon Institute of Business Science. Currently, she is in the process of fulfilling registration requirements for the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Dr Vuyo Mthethwa

Dr Vuyo Mthethwa is currently the Senior Human Resources Director at the Durban University of Technology. Prior to her current role, she was the Managing Director at Hucad cc, a company she established 20 years ago, and for a brief period she was the Executive Director in the office of the Vice-Chancellor at Mangosuthu University of Technology.

Dr Mthethwa has broad experience in leadership, human resources management, strategy and governance.

In her consulting roles, she was integrally involved in the establishment of various incubation agencies, specifically formed to facilitate the development of SMMEs in various sectors. These include the SEDA Construction Incubator, SmartXchange, LIFElab, and the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Fund. She has led consulting teams for the restructuring and/or establishment of various organisations, notably Umgeni Water, the Technology Incubation Agency and MSQ Health. Her responsibilities entailed the design of HR strategies and policies; recruitment and the appointment of suitable staff; industrial relations; remuneration advisory and skills development facilitation.

Dr Mthethwa’s experience in Boards and Board committees includes St Anne’s College, Highbury School and being a member of the HRRemco for the Mining Qualifications Authority and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has been trained by the Institute of Directors.

She holds a PhD and MScoSci from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mr Joel Netshitenzhe
Executive Director and Board Vice-Chairperson, Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA)

Joel Netshitenzhe is the Executive Director and Board Vice-Chairperson of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). He has an MSc degree in financial economics and a post-graduate diploma in economic principles from the University of London (SOAS), and a diploma in political science from the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow. He is a member of the National Planning Commission of the South African government, the advisory board of the Nelson Mandela Trust and the board of CEEF. Africa (a section 21 company dealing with tertiary education opportunities).

He is also a Member of the Boards of Nedbank Group and Life Healthcare Group; and a Champion within Programme Pioneer of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Life College Association. Before joining the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) as CEO in 1998, Netshitenzhe was Head of Communication in former president Nelson Mandela’s office. In addition to being GCIS CEO, he was appointed Head of the Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services (PCAS) in The Presidency, in 2001. He headed the PCAS on a full-time basis from 2006 until his retirement in 2009.

Dr Christine Render

Dr Christine Render holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Leeds. She is a Fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering (FIChemE) and a Chartered Engineer (Europe).

She has 37 years’ experience as a chemical engineer practising in the energy and petrochemical industry project environment; specifically focusing on front-end concept engineering, process design and multidisciplinary engineering management within an owner team. She has led the front-end development and design of many new plants and petrochemical complexes, and several “first-of-a-kind” technologies.

Christine started up and led Sasol’s concept development function for more than 10 years, where she was accountable for prefeasibility and feasibility studies on capital projects. Her experience covers new business development, project concept development and process design, project framing and scope development and multidisciplinary engineering management.

Christine’s areas of expertise include group management (of Sasol Group of Companies), business management, strategy development, new business development, project concept development (prefeasibility and feasibility) and design; “first-of-a-kind” technology flow sheets, design and commercialisation; project framing and scope development and multidiscipline engineering management.

Christine was a member of the Group Management team of Sasol and has held several directorships.

Mr Cassim Ebrahim Shariff

Mr Cassim Shariff is currently an Executive Director at SDB GAS and Lirazest. He has extensive experience in the energy, mining and resources sectors, spanning over 20 years.

He is also a director at Aquaworx and Southern Cross Diamonds.

He has held various leadership and strategic positions, which include being founder and Chief Executive Officer of IPLAB consulting and founder and joint managing director of Icon Entertainment. He worked at Reach & Teach (an IBM project) as an appropriate technology, communications and research consultant. He consulted at various education, government, development and business organisations on the use of appropriate information and communication technology. He also held the position of Chief Operating Officer at Magnum Simplex International.

In recent years, he has held directorship and Board roles in organisations such as Acapulco Resources, Afrinaissance Mining Resources, Selang Resources & Leswika Resources, the BEE partners to BRC Diamondcore, and HoHup Corporation.

Cassim also served on the Department of Science and Technology’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell R&D Review Panel.

He has a Master’s in Business Administration from DeMontfort University.  

Dr Thulani Dlamini (CEO)
CSIR CEO

Dr Thulani Dlamini is the Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR). He was appointed in this position in February 2017, but he is no stranger to the CSIR having previously served the organisation with distinction for many years.

He joined the CSIR in 2005 as the head of the National Laser Centre and in 2008, he was appointed in the position of Group Executive: Research and Development, a position he held until 2011 when he left the CSIR to join Sasol. At Sasol, he was the Executive Manager: Research and Development and later became Vice-President for Strategic Research and Technology.

Dr Dlamini holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master’s in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa.

He has served in many Boards and National Committees. He is a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and the South African Academy of Science.

 

Dr Rachel Chikwamba
CSIR Group Executive: Chemicals, Agriculture, Food and Health

Dr Rachel Chikwamba is the CSIR Group Executive: Chemicals, Agriculture, Food and Health. In this role, she leads the implementation of the CSIR Strategy in the respective sectors, working closely with academia, and the public and private sector partners locally and internationally to contribute to improved sectoral competitiveness and economic performance through innovation. 

She is also responsible for Project Synapse, an initiative that defined a renewed vision and mission of the organisation, strategic objectives, the programmatic focus areas, operating and business models, as well as the strategy implementation plan. This process culminated in the new organisational strategy that was approved by the Board in August 2018. She currently has oversight of the Synapse implementation, which seeks to fulfil the execution of the organisational strategy.

In one of her recent organisational roles, Rachel was responsible for leading the organisation’s legal, management services, enterprise risk management and facilities’ departments. Prior to that, she was the Group Executive for Strategic Alliances and Communication, where she championed organisational alliances with local and global partners in the public and private sectors, in order to advance knowledge and address challenges of socioeconomic and industrial development through science, technology and innovation. 

Beginning as a researcher, her technical experience spans the life sciences across many disciplines, notably the agriculture, health and nutrition and biomedical sectors. In her organisational roles and assignments, she has gained sound understanding of science and technology application in a variety of other technology domains and sectors aligned with the CSIR business. She has led and participated in several global research consortia and has been principal investigator in many locally and internationally funded research initiatives. Rachel has also led many cross-functional multidisciplinary teams to achieve organisational strategic initiatives in fulfilment of the organisation’s mandate.

Rachel sits on boards of various organisations, focusing on agriculture, conservation and health, notably the Global Governing Board of ICRISAT, the Board of Directors of the Wits Health Consortium (Pty) Ltd and the South African Medical Research Council. She was recently appointed to the African Union (AU) Panel on Emerging Technologies. The panel advises the AU and its Member States on harnessing emerging technologies for economic development. She has served as an editorial board member for several international journals and a reviewer for local and international funding organisations. She has published book chapters and peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Rachel holds a PhD in Genetics from Iowa State University in the USA and a Master of Business Administration from the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and has held an Honorary Research Fellowship at St Georges Hospital Medical School, University of London. Rachel joined the CSIR in December 2004 from Arizona State University, USA, where she served as a postdoctoral research associate. 

Adv Esmé Kennedy
CSIR Group Executive: Legal, Compliance and Business Enablement

Adv. Esmé Kennedy is the CSIR Group Executive: Legal, Compliance and Business Enablement. She joined the CSIR in August 2018 from Yokogawa South Africa (Pty) Ltd, where she was Executive Manager: Business Support Services. She has a wealth of experience, which spans over 15 years, eight of which were at senior management level.

She is a dynamic leader with a broad range of expertise in the legal and commercial fields in the mining, construction and energy sectors across Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, Europe, India and the Middle-East. She has worked for organisations such as Murray and Roberts, Areva, Shaft Sinkers and Placer Dome.

Esmé has a B.Proc from the University of Pretoria, LLB and LLM from Potchefstroom University and an MBA from the University of the North West, Potchefstroom Business School. She is an admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and has also worked as a practicing Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar.

Andile Mabindisa
CSIR Group Executive: Human Capital (Acting)

Mr Andile Mabindisa has been acting in the role of CSIR Group Executive: Human Capital, since 8 April 2019. He joined the CSIR as the Group Manager: Human Capital Business Partnering in December 2018.

Andile’s career spans over 20 years, with the last three of these spent as the Country Talent and Development Executive at Gibela Rail Transport (Pty) Ltd. He has extensive executive leadership and management experience in areas such as human resources management, talent management, employee relations, learning and development, leadership and management development, project management, as well as stakeholder management in the rail, oil, mining and manufacturing industries.

Andile holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) in Human Resources and a Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Relations from the then University of Natal. He also holds a Leadership Programme certificate from the Institute of Management Development in Switzerland.

In May 2018, he was recognised with a Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa’s CEO Award for excellence in learning and development in the rail and manufacturing industry.

Dr Motodi Maserumule
CSIR Group Executive: Mining, Manufacturing, Defence and Security

Dr Motodi Maserumule is the CSIR Group Executive: Mining, Manufacturing, Defence and Security. Prior to his current role, he was the Executive Director: Defence, Peace, Safety and Security (DPSS). He joined the CSIR in October 2017 from the African Nuclear Energy Corporation, where he was the Group Executive: Research and Development.

Motodi is not new to the CSIR. He first joined the organisation in 1999 as a senior scientist in the then Defencetek operating unit. He then became the Competency Area Manager for Aeronautic Systems at the former DPSS and was appointed Executive Director: Modelling and Digital Science (MDS) in 2009. In this role, he was instrumental in transforming MDS into an operationally effective unit.

He has extensive experience in strategy development and implementation, leading technology concepts to commercialisation, driving transformation, strategic stakeholder engagement and business development.

He holds a PhD in Mathematics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, USA. He has completed programmes in management development and national security, as well as a course in mastering technology enterprise, offered by the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Motodi has received various local and international awards and has published research papers in reputable journals. He has professional memberships with the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematicians.

 

Khungeka Njobe
CSIR Group Executive: Business Excellence and Integration

Ms Khungeka Njobe is the CSIR Group Executive: Business Excellence and Integration. Prior to her current role, she was the CSIR Executive: Campus Master Plan. She is not new to the CSIR, having previously held the position of Group Executive: R&D Outcomes and Strategic Human Capital Development from 2006 to 2011.

Khungeka’s career spans over 20 years, with the last seven of these spent as the Managing Director of Aveng Water and later as a founder and director of Kay Ann Consulting and Advisory. She has extensive executive leadership and management experience in areas such as intellectual property management, commercialisation and technology transfer, project management, business planning, stakeholder management, finance, policy and legislation; as well as a vast knowledge of the National System of Innovation.

Khungeka holds an MSc in zoology from the University of Pretoria, as well as a BSc(Hons) in biology from the University of California. She has a certificate in Mastering Technology Enterprises from the Institute of Management Development in Switzerland.

She was recently a member of the Council of the University of Stellenbosch and has been a member of and a chair in several boards and committees, including the South African Weather Service, South African Forestry Companies Limited and the Technology Innovation Agency.

She is currently a member of the Boards of Sasol Khanyisa Public, the South African National Parks and Fusion Energy Holdings, as well as trustee of the Hans Merensky Foundation.

Kenny Kistan
Executive Manager: Smart Mobility (Acting)

Kenny Kistan is the acting Executive Manager for the Smart Mobility cluster. Before his current position, he was the acting Executive Director for the then CSIR Built Environment unit.

Kenny began his career as a maths and accounting educator and later became a lecturer at the Durban Institute of Technology. He has worked as a director in the then Department of Higher Education, as well as at the South African Qualifications Authority. He joined the CSIR-Transportek in 1999 as the manager of the then CSIR Technology Transfer Centre, which was a collaboration with the US Department of Transport. He then went on to become the Business Development Manager of the same unit.

In 2005, he was appointed as the Strategic Contract Research and Development Manager of the former CSIR Built Environment unit. This position entailed working extensively with all spheres of government, particularly at national level, as well as engaging with the Presidency and Parliament. In this role, he was able to secure several multiyear strategic contracts for the unit.

Kenny spent a portion of his time supporting the work of CSIR Group Executives and, occasionally, the office of the CEO. He was appointed by the then Department of Science and Technology as the national contact point for transport to the European Union (EU), a position he held for seven years. This position entailed representing the interests of all transport researchers and scientists in South Africa and connecting them with their relevant counterparts in Europe, as well as identifying R&D opportunities in the EU for South African researchers.

From 2007 to 2018, Kenny served as the Chairperson of the Southern African Transport Conference Board, the premier transport and infrastructure conference in Africa.

He holds a BA (University Higher Diploma in Education) from the University of Durban-Westville, a BCom and B.Ed from Unisa and a Master’s in management from the then Rand Afrikaans University. Kenny also holds a management certificate from Georgia State University, USA, a certificate from the CSIR’s Advanced Leadership Programme and has attended several leadership programmes.

Fabrizio Dionisio
Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation

Fabrizio Dionisio joined the CSIR on 1 August 2019 as the Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation for the Mining, Manufacturing, Defence and Security division. Prior to his appointment, Fabrizio was the acting Divisional Executive: Research and Technology Development at the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA).

Fabrizio is not new to the CSIR, having previously been with the organisation for 20 years in various specialist and management positions. He was the Contract Research and Development Manager at the former Modelling and Digital Sciences unit and Key Account Manager for the CSIR. He has extensive leadership experience in business development for local and international projects, strategy development, stakeholder management and project management.

He holds an MSc in Aeronautical Engineering from Wits University.

 

Johan le Roux
Executive Manager: Synapse Implementation and Mining (Acting)

Johan le Roux is the Executive Manager for Synapse Implementation and also the acting Executive Manager for the Future Production: Mining cluster.  Prior to this role, he was the Executive Director for the then CSIR Implementation Unit, a position he had held since November 2014. In this role he had oversight of enterprise creation for development; specialist services; strategic initiatives implementation; mining testing and training services and the environmental/water testing areas.

Johan first joined the CSIR in 1990 as a Project Manager for Technology for Small Business Development and Textile Technology Training for Industry. He has held various leadership positions at the CSIR, including as acting Executive Director for the CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing unit, from May 2005 to August 2008; the General Manager for the CSIR Strategic Initiatives Implementation Unit, from September 2008 to March 2013; and acting Executive Director for the Implementation Unit from April to December 2013.

Johan has established and contributed to many key South African industry support initiatives and advisory bodies, including the Automotive Industry Development Centre, the National Manufacturing Advisory Centre of South Africa, the National Cleaner Production Centre and the Small Enterprise Development Agency. He also represented the CSIR in the management and advisory structures of the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative, the National Foundry Technology Network and the Technology Localisation Implementation Unit.

He completed his studies in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch and has completed management and leadership development programmes at the University of Cape Town Business School, Groman South Africa and the Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.

Sipho Mbhokota
Executive Manager: Defence and Security

Sipho Mbhokota is the Executive Manager for the Defence and Security cluster. He joined the CSIR in 2014 as the Competence Area Manager for the Integrated Systems Group within the former Defence, Peace, Safety and Security unit.

His career in the defence and security sector spans over 20 years, with 10 of those years spent as a member of the South African Air Force, where he was a Systems Engineer in the VIP Squadron, as well as a Project Engineer on the RSA Airbus A400M Aircraft Acquisition team. Prior to joining the CSIR, he was the Divisional Manager for Engineering Services at Armscor’s Dockyard in Simon’s Town.

Sipho holds Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering degrees from the University of Pretoria. He also has a Master of Business Administration qualification from the University of Stellenbosch.

 

Dr Mapitso Molefe
Executive Manager: NextGen Health and Advanced Agriculture and Food (Acting)

Dr Mapitso Molefe the acting Executive Manager for the NextGen Health and Advanced Agriculture and Food clusters. Prior to this role she was the Group Manager responsible for Human Capital Development. She rejoined the CSIR from Sasol in April 2018, where she was the Director of the Sasol Inzalo Foundation, which is a public benefit organisation aimed at supporting and strengthening the science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in South Africa. 

Mapitso has extensive senior management and leadership experience, strategy development, stakeholder engagement, financial management, human capital development, technology management of biotechnology and its interface with energy, chemistry, agriculture and health. Most of this was honed at the then Department of Science and Technology and Sasol, where she respectively held the positions of Chief Director: Biotechnology and Health Innovations (Bio-Innovations); Venture and Technology Development Manager at Sasol New Energy; and Senior Manager at Sasol Group Technology’s Research and Technology Centre for Innovation and Business Impact.

Mapitso holds a PhD and an MSc in organic chemistry from Michigan State University and Bucknell University, respectively. She also has a number of leadership and management certificates, including the Accelerated Leadership Development Programme from the University of Stellenbosch Business School and the Advanced International Training Programme from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) recently appointed her on a three-year tenure, effective 1 June 2019, on the Advisory Committee for the Health-Related Programmes, which will focus amongst others, on refining the business case and financing strategy for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and Biovac as part of implementing the Bioeconomy Strategy. She is a trustee on the CSIR Pension Fund Board of Trustees. She also represents the CSIR on the DSI’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Advisory Committee.

Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo
Executive Manager: NextGen Enterprises and Institutions

Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo is the Executive Manager for the NextGen Enterprises and Institutions cluster. Prior to this role, he was the Executive Director of the then CSIR Modelling and Digital Science (MDS) unit, a position he had held since April 2014. Fulufhelo joined the MDS unit in May 2008 and was previously a principal researcher and a Competence Area Manager for Information Security.

He holds a PhD in electrical engineering, with a focus on applied computational intelligence, from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a registered professional engineer and a senior member of the Institute of Electronical and Electronics Engineers. Fulufhelo remains the youngest recipient ever, of the Harvard-South Africa Fellowship Programme, awarded in 2008, which allowed him to complete a postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard University. Since 2009, he has been a visiting professor of electrical engineering at the University of Johannesburg and has successfully supervised and co-supervised several students who pursued master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering. He has also been an editor and a reviewer for a number of international journals, and has served in programme committees of several international conferences. Fulufhelo has published over 100 research papers in internationally reviewed journals, conferences and book chapters.

He is a founding member of the South African Young Academy of Science and currently serves on the Department of Home Affairs’ ministerial advisory committee on modernisation.

Xolisa Ngwadla
Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation

Xolisa Ngwadla is currently responsible for business development and commercialisation in the Natural Resources, Enabling Infrastructure, Public and Professional Services division. The research areas and technology portfolio span natural resources (including water and energy), built infrastructure and ICT. He is a member of the South African delegation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, and was the lead negotiator for the African Group in the negotiation of the Paris Agreement. His area of interest is national and international climate change policy discourse, particularly the economic and developmental impact. He has experience in agricultural research, environmental consulting, corporate business development and multilateral climate change negotiations. Xolisa is an agricultural scientist in the fields of economics and plant breeding, with an MBA with environmental electives.

Martin Sanne
Executive Manager for Future Production: Manufacturing

Martin Sanne is the Executive Manager for the Future Production: Manufacturing cluster. Prior to this appointment he was, since January 2016, the Executive Director of the former CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing unit.

Martin gained extensive experience working across Africa, Europe and in various countries around the world. He recently headed up the Siemens Africa Smart Grid business, providing solutions to utilities, a broad range of industries and municipalities. Martin has over 28 years of engineering and management experience. He has diverse skills in research and development management, project management, business development, sales and product management, strategic business planning, intellectual property commercialisation, start-ups and venture capital.

A significant part of his career was built with Siemens AG in Germany, where he headed up the line of business for 3G communications solutions at a time when Siemens (then a competitor of Nokia) was among the top three GSM and 3G equipment vendors in the world. His other roles at Siemens AG included strategic product portfolio management, product management, technical sales and R&D management.

He was also the Divisional Managing Director and Sales Director for Siemens Telecommunications and Nokia Siemens Networks in Southern Africa. Some of his clients included Telkom, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Celtel.

In a previous role, Martin helped drive the IT and Internet start-up, SEACOM, where he held strategic positions in South Africa and Mauritius. SEACOM, a highly innovative and privately funded company, brought affordable Internet to South and East Africa, interconnecting to most international communications service providers.

Martin is a registered professional engineer in South Africa. He completed a BSc in electrical engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, in 1984, as well as an MSc in digital systems at Cranfield University, England, in 1987.

Dr Bethuel Sehlapelo
Executive Manager: Smart Places

Dr Bethuel Sehlapelo is the Executive Manager for the Smart Places cluster. He joined the CSIR in July 2018, as the Executive Director for the former Built Environment unit. Prior to joining the CSIR, he was the Executive for Innovation Funding and Pre-Commercialisation Support at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). Bethuel has extensive senior and executive management experience in technology-intensive enterprises, having worked in organisations such as the Ekurhuleni Municipality, Rand Water, the former Department of Science and Technology and Denel (Swartklip Products), among others. His responsibilities included governance and strategic management oversight on institutions, as well as the management of R&D and its implementation into products, development and implementation of national programmes, policies and legislation on innovation. His involvement and experience in such organisations span a period of more than 20 years.  

He has served on the boards of various organisations, such as the Tshwane Rapid Transit, Mintek, Water Research Commission, National Nuclear Regulator, Central University of Technology (Council) and Mega Africa Holdings.

He holds a PhD (Chemistry) from the University of Natal, MSc (Chemistry) from Queen’s University, Canada, BSc (Chemistry and Biology) from the National University of Lesotho, and has completed an Executive Leadership Programme with the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership.

Dr Kenny Tenza
Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation

Dr Kenny Tenza joined the CSIR on 1 September 2019 as the Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation for the Chemicals, Agriculture, Food and Health division.

Prior to joining the CSIR, Kenny was at Sasol Technology where he held various positions, such as Principal Intellectual Property (IP) Technical Advisor: Chemicals, Principal Research Scientist and, most recently, Acting Senior Manager: IP Management. Prior to joining Sasol Technology, he was a National Research Foundation overseas postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University, in the United Kingdom.

Kenny is an internationally recognised IP practitioner who has experience in business valuation and the full spectrum of IP management and commercialisation at technical and strategic levels.

He is an Advisory Board Member at InnoVenton: Institute for Chemical Technology and Downstream Chemicals Technology Station at Nelson Mandela University and he is an independent Non-Executive Director at the Vaal University of Technology (Pty) Ltd.

He holds an MSc and a PhD in organic chemistry from the Universities of Pretoria and St Andrews, in Scotland, respectively.

Dr Jan van de Loosdrecht
Executive Manager for CSIR Future Production: Chemicals

Dr Jan van Loosdrecht joined the CSIR in October 2019 as the Executive Manager for the Future Production: Chemicals cluster. In this role, he is responsible for providing strategic direction, financial sustainability, capability development, performance, operations and governance within the cluster, in line with the trends, opportunities and needs of the chemicals and related industries, and in line with the CSIR strategy, vision and mission.

Prior to joining the CSIR, he was the acting Vice President for  Strategic Research and Technology at Sasol Group Technology. He has extensive experience in leadership, research and development, strategy development, stakeholder management, commercialisation and intellectual property management.

Jan was a part-time Industrial Fellow at Eindhoven University of Technology from 2010 to 2015, and has (co-)authored about 50 publications, patents and book chapters. He holds a PhD in inorganic chemistry from Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Jan currently serves on the board of the Technology Innovation Agency, in Pretoria.