The end of 2017/ beginning of 2018 saw us usher in two new members of the SAWC “family”, when Professor Mtungwa (SHEQ/ Dispatch Officer: Maintenance) and his wife, Tebogo Mahlake (Receptionist) brought a beautiful baby girl into the world on 18 November 2018. Tebogo returned to work at the end of January, and as she had Professor work and live on-site, she is close at hand for her baby even when at work. In addition, Phumudzo Ramasuvha (Junior Coordinator: Marketing & Fund-raising) gave birth to a healthy strapping baby boy on 30 January 2018.  Phumu is still enjoying her maternity leave, and her time off with the new addition to her family.

At the end of 2017 the Phase II project reached the conclusion of its construction phase, although finances and some project work still needs to be finalised this year. With the ending of the busy construction phase the campus has slowly been returning to normal, and looking less like a construction site, but we also said good bye to staff who worked on the project for over three years. During the project phase it was not possible to fully calculate the work required of the Maintenance department, or to assess how much it may have increased due to the increased infrastructure requiring sound preventative maintenance. In line with this, the vacant position of Operations Manager was not filled.

Subsequently, due to the fact some Phase II work is still required, it was decided and approved at Board level that the College hire two managers, one to concentrate on strategic maintenance operations and develop full fleet and preventative maintenance plans for the college; the other to be more involved in day-to-day activities and finalise Phase II and other planned projects. As per our recruitment and selection policy, the position was advertised and panel interviews, which included members of the maintenance team, were conducted.

Michael Gardiner, who had been a Site Manager for Phase II, was the successful incumbent for the Operations Manager position. He is obviously no stranger to the College and its staff, but this is a very different and challenging role, and he has stepped into with enthusiasm and determination. Michael has a wealth of experience gained from being a trade artisan, and having moved up into the hospitality industry, where he managed maintenance and construction of and for a large chain of hotels. Mike is keen to set up strategic plans, and motivate his team.

The Maintenance Manager position was filled by Kobus du Plessis, who worked closely with the Phase II construction project, from the maintenance section, last year. Kobus will be involved with the day-to-day coal face work and projects. Kobus is also not a new face to the team, obviously, but this is a different role for him, and he is keen to use his skills and vast experience in construction management to the College’s advantage. Kobus has a National Diploma as a registered Technician, as well as being a qualified trade test Electrician. Kobus started his career with Telkom, where he amassed experience in planning, installation and maintenance of transmission (including digital transmission) systems. Before joining the college last year, Kobus worked in construction.

Alexandra Gelletich joined the College in January on a five-month contract primarily to assist with the College’s audit, which is currently taking place, and to fill the gap caused by the resignation of the Payroll Manager, Marisa Kruger at the end of December 2017. Alex has already become invaluable to the finance team, with her wealth of knowledge and skills in financial management. Alex was the Senior Bookkeeper for a USN project managed by AWARD (Association for Water and Rural Development) which concluded successfully at the end of December 2017.

Rhandzane Goodness Ndlovu was the Receiving/Purchasing Clerk for the busy and fast-paced Phase II construction project, and obviously remained with us to assist with the finalisation of the project and its financial wind-up. Rhandzane will remain at the College as the Receiving/Purchasing Clerk managing the newly completed College main stores. She has already taken over the control and management of stationary purchases from reception, and as soon as phase II is finalised, she will be able to develop her role more fully. Rhandzane, or Goody, or Goodness, as she is also known, has a higher diploma in Technical Financial Accounting from ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers), a National Certificate in Small Business Management from ICB, and a senior certificate in Pastel Accounting from Damelin. She is currently studying through University of Stellenbosch hoping to attain her Project Management Principles and Practice Higher Diploma this year.

The new security gate system was implemented at the end of 2017, and has been working extremely well. Together with Protected Area Integrity/AFRTS department, HR has been looking at how to combine the standard operating procedures and the policies to combine the backend system management with the front end gate access management. The new system requires the taking on of employee and visitor information as well as biometrics, as the new boom gate turnstile is activated via biometric controls. Cameras monitor the people and vehicles accessing and exiting the gate, and also monitor the guards’ interactions with people and vehicles at the gate. Ad hoc visitors for whom there is no pre-authorisation or captured information have their details taken, the guards check that the person they need to see or deliver to is expecting them, and then their driver’s and vehicle licences are scanned and sent to the database. There are teething problems, and some of the system controls and apps are still being designed and modified, but in all it is an amazing and secure system which protects the College, the landowners assets, College staff, College students, and our stakeholders who visit.