BRICS Challenge

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Organising committee

This committee is comprised of a number of members:

Sherrie Donaldson

As Secretariat of the South African Brics Business Council Skills Development and Manufturing working Groups Sherrie is passionate about the impact skills can have on uplifting the people of South Africa and sees the 2018 Brics Future Skills Challenge as one way of achiving this

Support - Marvin Khosa

Background and Experience
A graduate in BSc Rail Operations Management (Glasgow Caledonian University – Scotland) and currently studying towards BSc(hons) Rail Operations Management, offering 11+ years of experience from Transnet Freight Rail as a Manager (Train traffic and simulator). Responsible for key areas such as train driving, managing supply and utilization of locomotives and/or trains, managing on time departure and arrival of trains, as well as overall managing and implementation of Transnet Freight Rail’s objectives in terms of customer satisfaction. Further experience entails reducing dwell time in loading and offloading of wagons, as well as reducing transit time between two departure and destination yard. Currently a stream leader for BRICS Infrastructure Working Group - Skills Development.

Area of interest.
Growing and diversifying current experience in order to be an expert within the rail operations for South Africa and the rest of the African continent. Passionate about growing the economy through rail by efficiently creating viable solutions targeting organisations in manufacturing, mining and agriculture.

Ester  van der Linde

Ms Ester van der Linde has both public and private sector experience. She joined the merSETA in 2008 when she was appointed as Manager: Human Resources. During her tenure at the merSETA she was promoted to Senior Manager: Human Resources and hereafter to Executive Manager: Corporate Services and oversees the Human Resource, Governance, Marketing & Communications as well as the Travel, Facilities and Assets Units.
She is proud to have been part of the SETA in environment since the inception days and formed part of the establishment team at the Chemical Industries SETA (CHIETA).
Ms van der Linde also has experience in the private sector having work in the financial services and insurance industries.
She holds a MPhil in Human Resource Management (NQF level 8) as well as a Masters Diploma Human Resource Management (NQF level 7), a BA LAW Degree (majors: Industrial Psychology & Private Law) (NQF level 6) and a number of certificate training courses.
Through special projects such as Investors in People (an EU initiative rolled out through the DOL) and WorldSkills (on secondment to DHET) she gained extensive experience in setting up and leading governance structures, events management, PR, marketing & communications as well as project management at an international level.
Her major career achievements are:
Setting up the entire HR System during the initial SETA establishment phase and receiving international accreditation for the People Development aspect.
Receiving zero audit qualifications on Human Resource practice at the merSETA.
Project Managing the Investors in People Stakeholder Project, at the Chemical SETA, to the extent the merSETA was nominated as the top performing SETA on the project.
Introducing innovative technology solutions into the merSETA Career Guidance process and participating on national Career Guidance Forums.
Project managing the roll-out of the WorldSKills SA (WSSA) first national Skills Competition & Conference as well as setting up the subsequent Team Building Process. Of note is arranging the Team’s Parliament attendance as well as the project management the Send-Off Event attended by the Minister of DHET as well as the Deputy President of South Africa.
Leading the WSSA Team as the official Team Leader in Brazil 2016.
Appointed at the merSETA Executive Corporate Services Executive.

Bhabhalazi Bulunga

Has demonstrated records of success in complex multinational organisations ranging from 500 to over 50 000 employees. Proven achievements in shaping of the South African corporate landscape through co-operation with the South Government and involvement in politics
Highly effective agent of change with a history of building HR functions from the ground up, consolidating disparate teams, and turning around problematic situations. A realist who aligns the HR strategy with business goals as well as the country’s objectives. Has extensive experience with highly complex organisations, which require a deep understanding of Human Resources and critical drivers in multiple markets and industries. Highly successful in building relationships with all levels of stakeholders, seizing control of critical problem areas and delivering on stakeholder commitments.
As an Exco member in a number of positions learnt the importance of obtaining buy-in to facilitate implementation of decisions. A successful negotiator using skills honed during peace negotiations on the Gauteng East Rand in the early 1990’s
Has a fundamental belief that HR is an integral part of the business and should not have a separate and isolated strategy. Believes that leadership is about creating space for people to deliver and grow and to fail if necessary, also that none of this is possible without management and stakeholder support and commitment

Raymond Patel

Raymond holds a Phd in Education Management, focusing on Performance Management. He has over 30 years of experience in Education and Training. He was a teacher, lecturer, education planner, teacher development, director of Education, MD of a company he founded. Previously the CEO of Chemical SETA (CHIETA) and since 2006 untill September 2018 the CEO of merSETA.

He is a Board member of Human Resources Development Committee of RSA (HRDC)


The following specialists are supporting the skills challenge by compiling tasks, compiling assessment criteria, selecting and training participants, and judging the challenge and selecting the top participants

South Africa

Renier  Van Heerden

DIGITAL - Cyber Security

Dr Renier van Heerden is a principal researcher at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa in the field of Cyber Security and currently head of Science Engagement at the SANReN (South African National Research Network). The following domains are his interest: password security, network attack and network ontologies. Prior to joining the CSIR he worked as a software engineer in advanced optics applications for South African based Denel Optronics and as a Lecturer at the University of Pretoria. Renier obtained a degree in Electronic Engineering, a Masters in Computer Engineering at the University of Pretoria and PhD at Rhodes University.
Renier also specialise in information security competitions, where he promoted and initiated the National Integrated Cyber Infrastructure System (NICIS) cyber security games. These games are held annually at the CHPC conference were university students from all over South Africa compete. Renier also obtained national colours in Mindsport, Wargaming and was the national champion 2010 and 2011 for the Ancients discipline. Currently he is an active participant in the Flames of War and Impetus wargaming community.

Francois  Mouton

DIGITAL - Cyber Security

Francois Mouton is a senior information warfare researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research with expertise in the fields of social engineering, penetration testing and digital forensics. Francois graduated with an M.Sc. Computer Science, in the field of digital forensics, from the University of Pretoria in 2012. During his M.Sc. degree he also completed all the undergraduate BA Psychology modules due to his passion in the field of social engineering. He is currently pursuing his PhD Computer Science at the University of Pretoria, with a main focus on identifying and thwarting social engineering attacks. He has (co)authored several international publications, mainly on topics of digital forensics readiness and social engineering. His research has had a significant impact within the field of social engineering and he currently has an h-index and an i10-index of 9.
His research in social engineering has allowed him to achieve a great understanding of the human psyche and has empowered him to perform at an international level in electronic sport. He was awarded with Protea Colours in 2016 when he was ed by Mind Sports South Africa to represent South Africa on the international stage in electronic sport. He also actively contributes back to the developing community of South Africa. He is actively involved with mentoring students at most of the South African universities and he is also continuously involved with hackathons hosted across the country. His current focus is on the development of a human psyche model that can be utilised by the general public to create both cyber security awareness and to allow them to protect themselves against cyber security threats.

Barry Irwin

DIGITAL - Cyber Security

Profile: Prof Barry Irwin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Rhodes University, South Africa. He has led the Security and Networks Research Group (SNRG) since its founding in 2003. This group houses postgraduate students within in the Information Security field. He holds a PhD in Computer Science, which focused on the use of passive network sensors for mapping potentially malicious activity on the Internet. A Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) he regularly presents at academic and industry conferences on emerging research in the area of network security.
His current areas of research include network traffic analysis, data visualisation, web based malware, botnets identification and anti-phishing tools. He has experience in facilitating training on information security topics for the consulting and audit, telecommunications and banking sectors. He holds a Y2 rating form the National Research Foundation

Rajiv Thekkumpurath

DIGITAL - Data Analytics

Rajiv Thekkumpurath is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Solution Architect at Digital Orchestrators where he manages the core delivery of digital transformation for the company and its partners. He has 18 years of extensive and diverse experience in various industries from designing / establishing Business operations to business insights through analytics and driving organizations wide transformational programs delivering exponential Impacts in savings and revenue margins.
In his previous role at Genpact as the AVP– Digital Transformation, he has been consistently delivering significant business impacts for his clients & organization. He was instrumental in developing the Lean Six Sigma adoption from Nil to 68% in 3 Years. He has executed multiple transformation projects delivering a business impact of $316 MM since 2013. He has won various Awards / Recognitions every year and published white papers.
Mr. Thekkumpurath has worked with various Multinational companies on complex assignments, handling consulting, continuous improvement, Transitions, Analytics & operations in multiple locations (India, USA, UK, Romania, Poland, Mexico, Canada, Philippines, Kenya, South Africa etc.).
He has solid and hands-on experience in data analytic due to his vast role he played in various organizations. Data Science and Digital transformation has been his specialization area and has developed talents / built teams across Europe, LatAm and Africa.

Sean Poole

MANUFACTURING and ENGINEERING - 3D Printing: Additive Manufacturing

PhD in mechanical engineering. Research project manager at Nelson Mandela University. Owner of prototyping business ProVolution.

Ian Van Zyl

MANUFACTURING and ENGINEERING - 3D Printing: Additive Manufacturing

Masters degree in Mechanical engineering specializing in metal additive manufacturing, currently working as a Project Engineer at CUT Innovation Services, Owner at Solvit Engineering. PhD candidate.

Damian  Mooney


RPAS Technician with the MandelaUni Autonomous Operations group at Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth. An aviation career spanning 20 years as a pilot/instructor in the South African Airforce and the commercial sector. With 30 years of experience building remotely piloted aircraft, 8 of those as the owner of a hobby shop specialising in electric flight and airborne camera systems, and the holder of an RPAS pilots license I am excited to be able share my skills and promote what is a very dynamic part of industry through opportunities like the BRICS Skills Challenge.

Russell  Phillips


Associate Professor in Mech Eng and member of the MandelaUni Autonomous Operations group at Nelson Mandela University. Commercial pilot, Fight Instructor, Test Pilot, Aviation Technical Approved person, designer of the Whisper range of aircraft and an RPL holder. Model aircraft hobbyist since 1978. I hope to be able share my skills and help advance the UAV industry through opportunities like the BRICS Skills Challenge.

Akshay  Lakhani


Controls and Automation specialist at eNtsa, Nelson Mandela University, with an MEng Mechatronics degree. I have several years of experience in industrial automation, embedded system and autonomous systems. I have worked with many different communication systems and would like to help the BRICS challenge promote drones to the new generation.

Elisha Markus

MANUFACTURING and ENGINEERING - Industrial Robotics Installation and Maintenance

I am senior lecturer at the Central University of Technology Free State South Africa. I have a doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering with emphasis on Industrial Robotic Control. I joined the competition so that I can gain international exposure and learn from the experience.

David  Setlhake

MANUFACTURING and ENGINEERING - Intelligent Manufacturing (Automation)

Currently the Didactic Area Manager for Central and Southern Africa at Festo South Africa. I have a Bachelor of Technology degree in Electrical engineering and 21 years of experience in industry and in the education sector. My experience includes Mechatronics, Automation, Electrical Machines and Protection, Electrical Engineering, Power Systems, Assessor, Examiner and Moderator, Project Management, Qualification development, Training and Lecturing, Sales and Marketing. I have represented South Africa as a national expert on the international and national platforms for the past four (4) years in Mechatronics.
I am passionate in developing young talent.

Etienne  Nell

MANUFACTURING and ENGINEERING - Metal joining challenge (Welding)

Currently the Business Development Manager at the South African Institute of Welding. I am a qualified Boilermaker/Welder and certified International Welding Inspector Comprehensive Level (IWI C), International Welding Specialist (IWS) as well as Commissioned and Authorised Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspector (NBBI) United States.
I have represented South Africa as a national expert on international platforms for the past fourteen (14) years and managed skill competition at the SAIW. My latest endeavour is project managing a Government initiative for the establishment of Welding Centres of Excellence across the country.
I have a passion for skills development and the need for change to meet the future demand.

Malcolm  Blom

MANUFACTURING and ENGINEERING - Metal joining challenge (Welding)

I am currently an employee at Eastcape Midlands College as a welding lecturer and facilitator and have been working for the college for the past nine years. In the nine years at the college I have been part of apprenticeship programs, learnership programs and skill development programs. I was also part of the international fillet welder program in which two of our students took part in the young welder of the year competition at SAIW and where they competed at the WorldSkills South Africa Nationals.
I am a qualified Welder with an international Welding Practitioner diploma. I was previously employed at Transnet Uitenhage having fifteen years experience in Rail Freight Manufacturing and Refurbishing as well as Container Manufacturing, spent two years with Hi Tech Automotive developing chassis parts and jigs for production and one year with Welfit Oddy’s in tank manufacturing.
I have made my- self available for this challenge to gain experience and believe that it can improve my abilities as a welding facilitator and know that I will gain a lot of knowledge in the process.

Bradley  le Roux

MANUFACTURING and ENGINEERING - Metal joining challenge (Welding)

I’m Bradley Le Roux from Boland College, Worcester campus.
I’m a Welding specialist (SAIW), Welding inspector Level 2 (SAIW), qualified welder and I’m currently welding lecturer with 11 years’ experience in DB Thermal Welding.
I have a passion for welding and the training of the new generation in welding techniques.

Ronald  Murray


I am a qualified lecturer (professional national diploma) in CNC programming and I am a Fitter & Turner (Red Seal) at Northlink College (Centre of specialisation). I am proud to showcase 25 years of industry experience. I am more than competent of being part of the BRICS Challenge, due to the fact that I am equipped with the necessary knowledge and experience within this skill. The opportunity on this platform is and will play a huge role in the growing trend of our development with novel technologies. The exposure to global interest/industries is extremely needed in enhancing skills.

Sakhumzi Lamani


I’m Sakhumzi Lamani employed by Buffalo City TVET college in East London as a Senior Lecturer in Mechanical engineering department. I have 9 years of lecturing experience of Nated subjects teaching Fitting and Machining Theory, Mechanotechnics, Motor Trade theory, Mechanical drawing and Design and Mathemetics
My Qualifications are:
1. BTech Degree in Mechanical Engineering
2. National Professional diploma in Education
3. N5 Certificate in Electrical Engineering
4. ICDL Certificate
5. A Qualified assessor, Moderator and Facilitator
I am proud to be one of the BRICS experts, looking forward to experience the development of our future engineers.

André  Human

TRANSPORT - Aircraft Composites

I have started my working career in 1976 when I started as an apprentice with SAA. I was with SAA for 32 years and did maintenance on all aircrafts. In 2008 I made a career change and moved from aircraft maintenance and started to work at Aerosud Aviation where the main focus is manufacturing of aircraft components and parts. During my 40 years plus doing aircraft composite structures I have completed numerous composite course in America at ABARIS training centres in Atlanta as well as Reno Nevada. With all the experience and skills that I have gained during the years I do believe that I have the knowledge and skills to contribute to the BRICKS Skill Challenge.

Paki  Mokoena

TRANSPORT - Aircraft Composites

I have started my career in 2000 as an apprentice in the SAAF. I was with SAAF for 4 years and joint up with DENEL Aviation. I started working at Aerosud Aviation in 2016. As Aerosud Aviation is a world renowned company on manufacturing aircraft components and parts I do believe that with all the experience a gained during the past 18 years that I will be contributing to the BRICKS challenge.

Itumeleng  Serumula

TRANSPORT - Aircraft Composites

I am Itumeleng Serumula and my career in Aircraft Composites Structures began in July 2008 when I was enrolled in the Aerosud Aviation apprenticeship programme whereby I qualified in June 2011. I was a team leader in the production of aircraft parts and components at Aerosud Aviation, in 2013 I joined Denel Aviation in the production environment also as a team leader, and at Denel we also manufactured various components and parts for some of the biggest aircraft manufacturers. Presently I am a training facilitator at the Aerosud Aviation Apprentice Training Centre and will be facilitating and sharing my knowledge and experience with the youth of South Africa. It would be a privilege to be part of the BRICS Skill Challenge and will dedicate all the necessary time and help to ensure that this event will be successful.

Ofi  Mokgojoa

TRANSPORT - Aircraft sheetmetal

I started my career at DENEL Aviation in 1998. I continued my career with Aerosud Aviation and are currently still with Aerosud Aviation, working at the Aerosud Aviation Apprentice Training Centre as an Aircraft Structures Facilitator. As Aerosud Aviation is a world class manufacturing company I believe that I have sufficient experience and it would be a privilege to contribute to the BRICKS Challenge.

Abdur-Rahman  Mahomed

TRANSPORT - Non destructive testing

Abdur-Rahman (Mo) has been involved in the NDT industry for the past 16 years. He has level 3 certifications in multiple methods including PAUT and UT and is currently employed as the Level 3 Consultancy Manager/Chief Examiner at AFRICAN NDT CENTRE (PTY) LTD.
ANDTC is an aviation/aerospace company involved in inspection, training and level 3 consulting.
He has made himself available for the BRICS challenge because the advancement of PAUT in the South African market is one of his passions.

Andre  Klaassens

TRANSPORT - Non destructive testing

Andre has been involved in the Aviation industry for over 30 years. He is level 3 certified in UT and is currently employed as an Aviation Level 3 Consultant at AFRICAN NDT CENTRE (PTY) LTD.
ANDTC is an aviation/aerospace company involved in inspection, training and level 3 consulting.
He has made himself available for the BRICS challenge because he has always been an ardent student of the Aviation and Aerospace industries.

Evashan  Maistry-Thavar

TRANSPORT - Non destructive testing

Evashan (Evo) has been involved in the NDT industry for the past 9 years. He has level 3 certifications in multiple methods including UT and is currently employed as the Training Manager at AFRICAN NDT CENTRE (PTY) LTD.
ANDTC is an aviation/aerospace company involved in inspection, training and level 3 consulting.
He has made himself available for the BRICS challenge because he is interested in understanding the role of the NDT market internationally.


No Specialist information available.


No Specialist information available.


No Specialist information available.


No Specialist information available.


Tanay Extramarks

A qualified management professional who brings with him over 13 years of experience in the field of Corporate Management, Education and Skill Development, while working with reputed global organizations. He started his career in learning and development for the finance and banking sector, and has since grown to being a senior Corporate General Manager. He is presently employed at Extramarks with the responsibility of managing the company’s overall digital education business in Africa, and has managed various critical projects in the past, including the skill development initiative, international content strategy, and international sales strategy.

Through his formal education in business management and computer applications, and rigorous experience in digital education space, his primary strength and expertise lies in bringing the best corporate management practices, business planning and driving the sales strategy in digital education. He emphasizes continuous self-development and has earned certifications from National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSEIL) and Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI).