Despite the fact that it’s always controversial, nuclear power is a component of the energy and utilities category that's at the forefront of high-tech and systematic development globally. Projects to build new nuclear power stations require a high volume of talented graduates.

And this is just one of several breakthroughs that have marked Durban-born, Sthembile Ngubane’s long and remarkable life. Sthembile is making her mark in the United Kingdom (UK), and she is a Master’s degree student in Engineering Management at CPUT.

The Quality Management Lead grew up in eMandeni and is the last born of three. Sithembile did all her schooling in Kwazulu-Natal, including her first qualification, ND: Electronic Engineering, specialising in Control and Instrumentation. She completed her BTech in Quality in 2013 at CPUT She moved to Cape Town in 2007, to join Koeberg Nuclear Power Station and has “never looked back”.

Recently, she jetted out of the country to work at Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station (HPC), which is the UK's biggest construction project with twelve thousand men and women onsite at Somerset, England. She says it is the first nuclear power plant built in the UK in the last two decades. Sithembile says the HPC has two reactors, and a total output of 3,20MWe, enough to power 6 million UK homes. She adds that the plant is a European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) type pressurised water reactor and is part of the third generation of nuclear reactors being built today. “The third generation is known to be safer, more reliable and more cost-effective than their previous counterparts.

“Hearing about this opportunity and ultimately being told I will be part of the team that commissions a nuclear power plant is an amazing feeling. The last time South Africa commissioned a nuclear power station was over 40 years ago, before I was born, so to say I was part of the commissioning team in the UK, is a great honour!”

Sithembile continues: “It is an overwhelming feeling, especially because I always knew I wanted to try my luck overseas, but I never imagined it would be so soon. Now that it is happening, it feels unreal, it hasn't sunk in that I am actually putting my entire life in two suitcases and jetting off to another continent. I am grateful to God and my ancestors for the blessings.”

A big dreamer, who always pushes herself, she attributes her success to the education her parents, Bongumsa Mngadi and Isaac Ngubane with her brother, Bheki Ngubane, gifted her with. “Education is the greatest gift a parent can give to a child.”

CPUT staff members played a big role in shaping her thinking and boosting her confidence as a professional going out into the world. “The confidence I obtained after graduating gave me the courage to go for higher and more paying jobs, with my initial qualification, I wouldn't even dream of applying for such a job. There are 12 000 people on that construction site…”

She says: “The staff at CPUT is helpful when you ask for help, but you have to take the initiative, it is a university after all, each person drives their success, no one babysits you, so you get as much as you put in.”

Her research is around finding solutions for the permanent storage of high level radioactive nuclear waste. She says nuclear waste doesn't have to be scary, however it does exist and doing more research in this space “helps our policy makers and gives them the assurance that as scientist and engineers, we are doing everything we can to have the solutions at hand when the time comes for SA to build more nuclear power plants”.

Sithembile will never forget what her late, inspirational mother used to say to her: “She said ‘Sthembile, you better stay in school and work hard because your appearance is not going to open doors for you, but your education will’, I just wish she was still alive to witness the fruits of her labour.”

In her message to prospective students who come from her similar background, Sithembile said: “Don't let your background define how far you can go in life, work hard and keep showing up. Hard work really does pay (in my case it will soon be paying in pounds)…

“I cannot find the right words to describe the cascade of things that will happen due to this opportunity, the doors that will open for my kids (including travelling to Europe in future). As for CPUT, I am hoping there will be more graduates joining this project, and this university will be known for producing the best professionals in the world.”

The Technological Higher Education Network South Africa (THENSA) yesterday hosted a colloquium aimed at enhancing and strengthening cooperation between its partner universities and partner universities of the German University Consortium for International Cooperations, DHIK.

The DHIK delegation, including consortium chairman, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Leonhard, is also visiting a number of institutions, including CPUT, during this week and opportunities to cooperate in topics like student and staff exchanges, capacity building, joint modules, research cooperation, technology- and knowledge transfer, and entrepreneurship are being explored.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Hon. Buti Manamela, delivered the keynote address at the colloquium, which was held at the Cape Town Marriot Hotel Crystal Towers.

Attendees were welcomed by Prof Chris Nhlapo, CPUT Vice-Chancellor and Chairperson of the Board of THENSA.

Nhlapo said THENSA was privileged to welcome DHIK.

He said THENSA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with DHIK to collaborate in a number of areas and chief among them are curriculum development, faculty staff exchange, student exchange research exchange, cooperation and programme coordination, as well as joint fund application.

In his address Manamela noted that South Africa and Germany have a long history of scientific and technological cooperation.

“Opportunities to cooperate in areas, like student and staff exchanges, capacity building, joint modules, research technology and knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship development are sufficient, there's no doubt. This colloquium will provide us with clear ideas on how to enhance the work that is being done under the auspices of THENSA-DHIK.

The event also provided opportunity for group discussions on the various focus areas of collaboration.

THENSA is a representative body for technology-focused higher education institutions in South Africa and Africa and is governed by a Board of Directors, comprising the Vice-Chancellors of its ten member institutions. The DHIK is a consortium of nearly 40 German universities and one from Switzerland.

Two Adjunct professors with the SA Medical Research Council/CPUT Cardiometabolic Health Research unit and one of its collaborators are amongst the researchers of a recently released global study published in The Lancet, which showed that more than one billion people in the world are now living with obesity.

Adjunct Prof Tandi E Matsha, founder and co-director of the unit and former Dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, Adjunct Prof Rajiv T Erasmus and Prof Andre Pascal Kengne, Director of the intermural SAMRC Noncommunicable Disease unit and a collaborator of the SAMRC/CPUT Cardiometabolic Health Research Unit are among the approximately 1500 researchers of the study titled Worldwide trends in underweight and obesity from 1990 to 2022: a pooled analysis of 3663 population-representative studies with 222 million children, adolescents, and adults.

Researchers analysed weight and height measurements from over 220 million people aged five years or older, representing more than 190 countries.

According to a press release the analysis of global data estimates that among the world’s children and adolescents, the rate of obesity in 2022 was four times the rate in 1990. Among adults, the obesity rate more than doubled in women and nearly tripled in men. In total, 59 million children and adolescents and 879 million adults were living with obesity in 2022.

Between 1990 and 2022, the proportion of the world’s children and adolescents who were affected by underweight fell by around one fifth in girls and more than one third in boys. The proportion of the world’s adults who were affected by underweight more than halved over the same period.

Prof Glenda Davison, Head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Interim SARChi chair in cardiometabolic health, said she was proud to work with all three scientists.

“This type of collaboration, with world leaders, is a great achievement. The Lancet is a very high impact journal and is recognised as one of the premier journals in medical and health Science. What a fantastic achievement for our unit and for CPUT.”

*The study was conducted by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Cooperative Education Unit of the Centre for Community Engagement and Work Integrated Learning recently hosted an exciting workshop aimed at preparing students for the future world of work.

The workshop was presented in collaboration with the Cape Town Science Centre and covered a range of compelling topics including Artificial Intelligence, Coding and Robotics.

Project Lead David Haarhoff said: “Students are the centre of our core business and their development in respect of skills is critical. We have a huge responsibility to ensure that they meet industry expectations.”

Prof Lalini Reddy, Director: Centre for Community Engagement and Work-Integrated Learning, welcomed the students and guests and said the event was the first of series of events being planned for the year.

“In the World Economic Forum 2023 report, it says technology adoption will remain the key driver for business transformation as we go forward in the next five years. And many of you, whether you're in second year or third year, you are going to be looking for jobs in this next five years. You need to know what's the trends out there. You need to be kept active and aware.”

Students were given demonstrations on AI and robotics and the list of speakers and presenters included the Cape Town Science Centre’s Theresa Ely-Felin Ashric Don, Deputy Chief Education Specialist: Coding and Robotics, Western Cape Education Department (WCED), Jonathan Freese: Deputy Chief Education Specialist: Technology, WCED, Fatima Jakoet: Airline Pilot, Consultant, Entrepreneur, 4IR skills specialist, Sakhikamva Foundation, Wesley Pillay, Business Facilitator / Project Manager – Skills & Enterprise Development, ORT SA, Melissa Slaymaker, Africa Regional Director: Women in Tech and Bongumusa Ngema Postgraduate Diploma studen: Business Administration.

Haarhoff said there had been huge interest in respect of topics aligned to AI, coding and robotics.

“In my engagement with students after the event, there was a hunger from students to embark on more offering such as this. My longstanding relationship with the Cape Town Science Centre is worth noting, collaborating with them in partnership with the Western Cape Education Department, Women in Tech, Sakhikamva Foundation and ORT SA was rewarding. It afforded students to engage with experts directly and this warms my heart.”

Dr Lizel Hudson, Work-Integrated Learning coordinator in the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, thanked the guests and the students for their contribution to the successful event.

Information Technology Department Senior Lecturer, Dr Errol Francke, was the chief guest speaker at the Business Analytics and Smart Innovation Conference (BASIC) 2024, recently held in India.

The international conference was hosted by Vivekanand Business School (VBS) in Mumbai, and Francke said he was honoured to have been invited by the host institution as their chief guest speaker.

The four-day event dealt with a Smart Innovation Idea Competition, the Social Innovation Idea Competition, and the Research Conference. Speakers from Canada, Singapore, India and South Africa honed in on Data Analytics and its role in transforming society and the business landscape.

“My presentation was titled: ‘The Rise of AI and its Impact on Big Data Analytics for Social Innovation’. The keynote address explored the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in unlocking the power of big data for social good. The world is saturated in data, presenting both challenges and opportunities for social innovation. Traditional methods struggle to handle this data's sheer volume and complexity, hindering our ability to extract meaningful insights and drive positive change.”

Francke said the presentation was well-received, and he made valuable contacts for further research collaboration.

Aside from the conference, Francke’s other duty was to hand over a Memorandum of Understanding between CPUT and Vivekanand Education Society’s Business School to their director.

This MoU aims to develop academic and educational collaboration in areas of mutual academic interest and to promote mutual understanding between the two institutions. Each institution agrees to explore establishing an International Centre at the partner campus to manage the following collaborative activities in the academic areas of mutual interest based on equality and reciprocity:

  • Study abroad in India and South Africa
  • Partner delivery and curriculum development in the country
  • Joint research
  • Staff and Student Mobility
  • Staff development, education, and training

“Reflecting on my visit to Mumbai and tapping into the spirit of Mongane Wally Serote, I am reminded that India is not just a country but an emotion. A bustling city where riches glimmer, and fortunes are made each day in mansions perched high and proud. While diamonds gleam and champagne flows from the privileged, the cries of empty bellies rumbling are lost in the dust of the Mumbai slums and streets.

“I reflected on how Gandhi and Mother Theresa would view modern Mumbai and whether they again would stand up and fight for the plight of the poor and marginalised as they did decades ago. Despite that, I am heartened by the humility and appreciation of the people with whom I interacted. The staff and students of VBS were a real pleasure to work with, and they are grateful for our collaboration with them.”

Monday, 04 March 2024


FNB UP-Tuks scored a decisive 61-10 victory over FNB CPUT in their first home game of the 2024 season.

The Stripe Generation opened the scoring when Kean Galant flew over the try line following a relentless attack from the Tuks forwards. It did not take long for Dewey Swartbooi’s troops to get their second try as Tharquinn Manuel broke away to make it 14-0, Jean-Pierre Wentzel making no mistake from the tee with his second conversion.

The visitors registered their first points courtesy of a penalty from the powerful boot of Oyintando Maseti.

Tuks however continued to pile on the pressure on their opponents when burly prop Ethan Burger got his name on the score sheet. CPUT looked dangerous on the counterattack and they were rewarded with a try from pacey winger Linton Maritz.

The home side however wrapped up the first stanza with a bonus point try from Zander Reynders, with Tuks leading 28-10 at the break.

In the one-sided affair, Tuks continued to dominate and registered five more tries in the second half.

They were awarded a penalty try in the 46th minute when CPUT’s Ayabulela Zono collapsed the maul. Seventeen minutes Ethan Burger registered his brace. Another try followed from the forward pack, this time through substitute Jonathan Smit.

Nqubeko Mkwanazi and Bayanda Ngubane flew over in the corner to wrap up the Tuks party.


FNB UP-Tuks 61 (28) – Tries: Keane Galant, Tharquinn Manuel, Ethan Burger (2), Jonathan Smit, Bayanda Ngubane, Nqubeko Mkwanazi, Zander Reynders, penalty try. Conversions: Jean-Pierre Wentzel (4), Kyle Cyster (3).

FNB CPUT 10 (10) – Tries: Linton Maritz. Conversions: Oyintando Maseti. Penalties: Oyintando Maseti.

FNB Player That Rocks: Marco Venter (FNB UP-Tuks)

Written by Varsity Shield

The Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships Directorate (SIP) recently hosted an informative orientation session for international students.
The event also marked the launch of the Association of International Students (AIS) and provided students with important information to support them on their journey at CPUT.

It included presentations by the Admissions and Registration Centre which, amongst other things, focused on the renewal of study permits, while staff from the Division of Student Affairs and the Centre for Diversity, Inclusivity, and Social Change outlined their services, programmes and activities to students. Students were also introduced to the CPUT BRICS Student Commission.

External stakeholders, including Standard Bank and Momentum Medical Scheme also conducted presentations followed by lively question and answer sessions.

Students were welcomed by Dr Tasmeera Singh, Manager: International Relations, who encouraged the students to interact, learn and take advantage of the opportunities that will come their way.

Thato Masonganye, International Relations Officer for the Central Student Representative Council, also encouraged the students to seize every opportunity to engage with CPUT’s diverse community, both inside and outside the classroom.

“We recognise the challenges that may come with studying away from home but rest assured: you are not alone. Our university is committed to providing you with all the support and resources necessary to thrive academically, socially and personally.”

The second half of the event consisted of the launch of the AIS and Mathias Shimwetheleni, AIS executive member for Bellville Campus, outlined its mission and vision.

“Our mission for AIS is to preserve the fundamental values of peace, love, unity, diversity and democracy.

He said AIS wanted to build sustainable relationships with both local and international institutions.

“Our vision is very straightforward. We really just want to be the ambassadors of our respective branches and the international community at large and, through our actions and the initiatives, we seek to promote understanding and tolerance and unity among all members of the academic community.”

To achieve this vision, AIS outlined some objectives which include: advocating for international students’ rights at the highest levels of the institution; collaborating with various stakeholders to support the universities, vision of internationalisation and fostering social and cultural tolerance among our peers.

“But perhaps the most important one is we're here to support each and every international student, academically, intellectually and socially.”

He extended the association’s gratitude to the SIP Directorate for organising the event.

Dr Elma Maleka, Research Uptake. Manager at SIP, thanked all internal and external stakeholders for their contributions to making the day a success.