VUT Southern Gauteng Science & Technology Park adjusts to the “new normal” through an in-house RAPDASA conference

VUT Southern Gauteng Science & Technology Park adjusts to the “new normal” through an in-house RAPDASA conference

By Thomas Rasehloka 17 November 2020

Dr Tshepo Mahanuke delivering the opening address

The Vaal University of Technology Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park (VUT SGSTP) successfully hosted a pre-conference opening cocktail event for the Rapid Product Development Association of South Africa (RAPDASA) on 3 November 2020, despite the trying times that the world is facing.  RAPDASA conference has been running for over two decades in South Africa, in order to encourage industries to apply Additive Manufacturing in their everyday work.

The event hosted a maximum number of 60 attendees, who adhered to COVID-19 protocols, such as social distancing, wearing of masks, and regular sanitizing of hands. Present at the event were prominent industry representatives and colleagues from institutions of higher learning such as University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Northwest University (NWU).








Dr Tshepo Mahanuke delivering the opening address

Dr Tshepo Mahanuke, CEO of Gauteng Technical Manufacturing Initiative (GTMI) delivered the opening address. According to Dr Mahanuke, Technology is life, a way of doing things and technology is a tool that could be used for our convenience”. He prides himself on attending RAPDASA conferences for the past 8 years, portrays himself as a toddler. He confirmed that he still has a long way to go, and lots to learn before he can understand what RAPDASA is about due to the ever-changing technology.

As CEO of GTMI, a company focused on manufacturing, Dr Tshepo Mahanuke, described that when one looks at how things are manufactured today, the industry speaks of skills. He further elaborated that the engagement of the day seeks to address the skills required for additive manufacturing. “I am hereby highlighting the psychological input from the onset within a particular additive manufacturing” said Dr Mahanuke.

In his address, he projected that the community could expect the accredited programs which are recognized within the higher education authority in the future. He concluded, “for that programs to be out there, we are expecting RAPDASA to play a role in creating the programs, not only for the organization, but the community at large.”

“Through this conference, we saw an opportunity to engage with the industry. We have the Chamber of Business Commerce present today, and we have our sister universities that are around us who have come to celebrate with us,” said Mr. Henrich van der Merwe, Operations Manager TTI. He further acknowledged that the VUTSGSTP has a great relationship with the University of Johannesburg. He mentioned that 10 students are furthering their studies in additive manufacturing with VUT SGSTP.  He further acknowledged the partnership between VUT SGSTP and GTMI, noting that it has been going on for some time and that the Science Park, is represented on the GTMI board. “Together, we are looking forward to rolling out programs, especially in Gauteng. This will be in support of our local communities with manufacturing facilities”, he said.








Attendees of the event observing the COVID-19 regulations

The day was proven to be insightful to the attendees, as Mr Kobus Cornelius from NWU acknowledged.  The day inspired him to start engaging with industry, advancing technology. He further elaborated that “we have done the research and tried to keep technology inhouse”.

Thus far, VUT Science Park has 1 manufacturing facility, based in Sharpeville, manufacturing electrical motorbikes under the management of Mr Nico Thema.

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