VUT civil engineering students benefit from the SANRAL lecture and information sharing session
By: Precious Maphisa – 18 October 2023
On 13 October 2023 the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) welcomed the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) to its shores.
This, as part of the road network management, maintenance, and development parastatal’s ongoing annual nationwide roadshow to institutions of higher learning.
Hosted by the Civil Engineering and Build Department within the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, the visit kickstarted with a thought-provoking public lecture titled “Engineering Your Future Through Roads.”
The lecture, attended by civil engineering students across all levels, was aimed at forging robust connections with the industry as well as fostering an environment of collaboration that would propel research initiatives to new heights. The other overarching goal was to ensure that the academic curriculum is seamlessly integrated with the ever-evolving demands of the industry, thus the lecture acted as a bridge, uniting academia and the practical world in a shared effort. Furthermore, the gathering was a great platform for SANRAL to share career and bursary opportunities available at the government agency.
Mr Progress Hlahla, the SANRAL Regional Manager for the Northern Region, emphasized the agency’s anticipation of young minds ready to bring their innovative projects to fruition. He expressed a strong desire for enthusiastic researchers who could contribute to the development of new infrastructures and technologies that could enhance the national road network.
Another highlight of the session was when Origin Sengwane, Tony Seloana, two of SANRAL’s former bursary beneficiaries and currently employed by the agency, shared their professional journeys and practical engineering experiences with the students.
Prof George Ochieng, head of the department of Civil Engineering and Build at VUT, emphasised that there are opportunities for deepening collaboration between SANRAL and VUT. He told the representatives from SANRAL that there is ample research and innovation expertise at VUT to support the agency in developing sustainable solutions to improve the country’s road network.
The lecture concluded with an interactive question and answer session.
The transformative experience of the day reached its peak at the Amphitheatre, where an engaging road safety activation took center stage. This was a spectacle for all, not confined to the lecture attendees, but extending its embrace to the entire VUT student community. It represented an opportunity to disseminate vital lessons of road safety, a topic basically linked to the field of civil engineering. This event served as a testament to the commitment of all those involved in creating a safer, more informed, and forward-thinking society.