By: Selina Rapulane- 15 March 2023

Mr Zachariah Moalahi presenting to his TIA colleagues.

Successful collaboration help improve the quality of a team’s deliverables, increase their productivity and elevate their morale. This was one of the many things Mr Zacharia Moalahi, Idea To Product (I2P) Lab Team leader at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) noted when he visited the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in KZN during the first week of March. In the capacity of Skills Unit Manager from VUT Technology Station for Materials and Processing Technologies (TSMPT), Mr Moalahi’s trip aimed to expand the Technology Station network, connect and reach out to other colleagues within the TIA family and work towards formulating a relationship amongst the stations and with the KZN communities, government and other stakeholders.

His visit to TIA-KZN presented a significant opportunity for him and other colleagues to learn from each other, break silos and spot collaboration opportunities where they can use their respective strengths to complement and enhance each other for mutual growth.

Leading up to the trip, Ms Ziningi Myeni, from TIA-KZN, had interactions with Mr Robert Malatsi: Station Manager (TSMPT) and requested assistance on community upliftment programmes the VUT TSMPT has. Two of the programmes that the stations offer, the I2P training as well as Centre of Footwear Entrepreneurship (CoFE) training were cited as some of the key programs they have on offer at that front, and thus, Mr Moalahi was invited to form part of the discussions, TIA – KZN was having with the provincial government and other stake holders within the province.

Their first meeting was held at Ulundi in the Zululand District on 1 of March 2023 between KZN provincial government officials, with representatives from the Premier’s Office, the Departments of Economic Development and Social Development, the Technology Station at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), TIA KZN, TIA National Office and VUT Skills Unit. This was followed by another interaction the next day with senior management of the Mthashana TVET College at their campus in Vryheid.

On the third day, a meeting and a site visit was held at the TIA – KZN Bio Processing Plant and the fourth and final meeting was at the MUT Technology Station where the discussion was on collaborations, followed by a tour of the facility.

“The visit was overall a success and as a result, the KZN colleagues are keen on visiting us at TTI, and the KZN government has also expressed interest in our offerings and would like to send some of their constituencies to undertake in future.”, commented Mr Moalahi. He further added that the parties will explore other mutual beneficial interventions.

One of his key takeaways from the trip is that “expanding your network and sphere of influence is very important, based on discussions with colleagues from various sectors, this was a first of many as they envisage a much close working relation and collaboration going forward”.