Sihle Magaga is a Chemical Engineer who obtained his BTECH from the Vaal University of Technology in 2011. He is currently employed by Rand Water and has been with the organisation for the past three years.
Sihle’s day-to-day tasks include Process Plant Design and Infrastructure Asset Management. Sihle describes obtaining a Professional Engineering Technologist status with ECSA as an amazing milestone in his career.
To add to what has already been a fulfilling career journey, Sihle is the Director of two Non-Profit Organisations (African Hands for Youth and African Hands for Youth). Both organisations focus on the capacitation of high school learners through academic tutoring, mentorship and career guidance within the engineering field. Let’s not forget to add that he is an avid Mountain Biker.
An Aeronautical Engineer performs and supervises engineering work concerned with the design, development, manufacture, operation and maintenance of aircraft and spacecraft of all types based on the engineering sciences underlying flight dynamics, aerospace structures and propulsion systems.
Practising Aeronautical Engineers generally concentrate in one or more of the following areas:
Aeronautical Design Engineer: are those involved with the design of aircraft or aircraft systems
Aeronautical Systems Engineer: are those involved with the specification, in-service management and fleet engineering of aircraft or aircraft systems
Aeronautical Certification Engineer: are those involved with ensuring that aircraft systems meet the requirements of Airworthiness Regulations. These would typically be engineers employed by the Civil Aviation Authority or within companies requesting certification of their products and whose responsibility it is to ensure compliance with certification requirements
Aeronautical Flight Test Engineer: is a specialist field requiring first an engineering degree and then additional training as Flight Test Engineer at one of the Test Pilot/Engineer schools. Flight Testing forms part of product development as well as verification testing towards certification of aircraft and systems
Aeronautical Research Engineer or Academic: are those employed by universities and research organisations. Their focus is on development of new knowledge/techniques/technologies and in teaching students
An Agricultural Engineer plans, performs and supervises engineering work related to the development and/or improvement of infrastructure,
machinery and processes for agricultural production, the post-harvest handling and processing of agricultural produce, and similar
engineering processes in associated environmental and biological contexts. This may include the use and development of agricultural land, environment, infrastructure
(buildings, roads, river crossings, dams, irrigations systems, electrification etc.), machines, equipment and processes.
Agricultural Renewable Energy Engineering
Agricultural Product Processing Engineering
Agricultural Structures and Facilities Engineering
Agricultural Waste Handling and Management
Hydrology and Agricultural Water Use Management
Natural Resources Engineering
Rural Infrastructure Engineering
The planning, design, development, operation and maintenance of industrial-scale processes to convert raw and recycled
materials to products through chemical and physical processes using engineering science such as thermodynamics, fluid
mechanics and transfer processes.
Typical tasks that a Chemical Engineer may undertake include the following (note that this is not an exhaustive list):
Conducting research, advising on and developing commercial-scale processes to produce substances and items such as petroleum derivatives, chemicals, food and drink products, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals or synthetic materials such as polymers and plastics
Specifying chemical production methods, equipment, materials and quality standards and ensuring that they conform to specifications and accepted industry practices and standards
Establishing control standards and procedures to ensure safety of production operations and safety of workers operating equipment or working in close proximity to on-going chemical reactions or processes
Designing chemical plant and equipment and devising processes for manufacturing chemicals and other products while meeting targeted efficiencies
Performing tests throughout stages of production to determine degree of control over process variables including composition, temperature, density, specific gravity and pressure
Developing operating procedures to be employed during design and operating phases (including start-up, shutdown and emergency)
Preparing estimates of production costs (capex, opex and lifecycle) and production progress reports for management
Performing laboratory studies of steps in manufacture of new products and testing proposed process(es) in small scale operation such as a pilot plant
Plant operation and/or management
Optimising of processes for improvement of prescribe performance indices such as profitability, sustainability, energy, environmental and carbon efficiency
Develop process control philosophies and/or advanced process control (APC) systems
Evaluate environmental and legal considerations
Participate in and lead risk assessment studies (such as hazard and operability studies) during the design or operations phase
A Civil Engineer plans, designs, organises and oversees the construction and operation of civil engineering projects such as:
Geotechnical: township services earthworks, excavations, soil conservation and geotechnical processes;
Hydraulic Engineering systems: water resources and supply, pipelines, canals, water treatment, stormwater and drainage, sewerage systems; sanitation waste disposal, coastal engineering.
Typical Tasks that a Civil Engineer may undertake include
Conducting research and developing new or improved theories and methods related to civil engineering
Advising on and designing infrastructure such as bridges, dams, harbours, roads, airports, railways, canals, pipelines, treatment works, waste-disposal and flood-control systems, and residential, commercial, industrial and other large buildings
Determining and specifying construction methods, materials and quality standards and directing construction work
Establishing control systems to ensure efficient functioning of infrastructure as well as safety and environmental protection
Organising and directing maintenance and repair of existing civil engineering infrastructure
Analyzing the behaviour of soil and rock when placed under pressure by proposed structures and designing structural foundations
Analyzing the stability of structures and testing the behaviour and durability of materials used in their construction
Electrical engineers form a collective group of engineers who conduct research on and design, advise, plan and direct the
construction and operation of electronic, electrical and telecommunications systems, computer and software systems, components,
motors and equipment. They organise and establish control systems to monitor the performance and safety of electrical and
electronic components, assemblies and systems.
Electrical Engineers perform some of the following functions: planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of materials,
components, plant and systems for generating, transmitting, distributing and utilising electrical energy; electronic devices,
apparatus and control systems for industrial systems, bio-medical, robotics and consumer products; computing, communication and software for
critical applications, instrumentation and control of processes, through the application of electrical, electromagnetic and information
Within the broad collective field of electrical engineering, engineers generally practice in areas of their specialities:
Electrical Power Engineering: covers electrical systems, components, motors and equipment, electrical engineering materials, products and processes.
Telecommunications engineering: is a broad specialisation of electrical engineering encompassing the design, construction and management of systems that carry out the transmission, processing and storage of information as electrical or optical signals and the control services based on this capability.
Computer and Software Engineering: addresses the relationship and interactions between software, hardware and external systems in solving real engineering problems. Computer engineering concentrates its effort on the ways in which computing ideas are mapped into working physical systems. Computer engineering rests on the intellectual foundations of electrical engineering, computer science, the natural sciences and mathematics. Engineers also practise in combinations of the above specialities as well as in areas involving other disciplines, for example Mechatronics Engineering-involving robotic, prosthesis and process control.
Electrical Power Engineers: conduct research and advise on, design and direct the construction and operation of electrical systems, components, motors and equipment, advise on and direct their functioning, maintenance and repair and study and advice on technological aspects of electrical engineering materials, products and processes.
Industrial Engineering has its roots in the work of Fredrick Taylor, and Gillian and Frank Gillbreth,
all of whom focused on the improvement of worker productivity in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Since then, the discipline has grown to encompass any methodical or quantitative approach to optimizing how a process, system, or organization operatesii.
This is reflected in the more specific definition of Modern Industrial Engineering that has been adopted by the Southern African Institute for
The science of integrating resources and processes into cohesive strategies, structures and systems for the effective and efficient
delivery of quality goods and services. It draws upon specialized knowledge and skills in the mathematical, physical, behavioral, and economic and management sciences, and combines them with the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design,
to find optimal and practical solutions which contribute to the success and sustainability of a venture, thus making a fundamental
contribution to the creation of wealth.
Mechanical Engineers undertake the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of materials, components,
machines plant and systems for lifting, hoisting and materials handling; turbines, pumps and fluid power; heating,
cooling, ventilating and airconditioning; fuels, combustion, engines, steam plant , petrochemical plant, turbines;
automobiles, trucks, aircraft, ships and special vehicles; fire protection; nuclear energy generation, lifts and escalators;
mechanical aspects of particular materials products or processes; through the application of engineering sciences: mechanics,
solid mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics.
Typical tasks that a Mechanical Engineer may undertake include:
Advising on and designing machinery and tools for manufacturing, mining, construction agricultural and other industrial purposes advising on and designing steam, internal combustion and other non-electric motors and engines used for propulsion of railway locomotives, road vehicles or aircraft or for driving industrial or other machinery
Advising on and designing hulls, superstructures and propulsion systems of ships; mechanical plant and equipment for the release, control and utilization of energy, heating , ventilation and refrigeration systems, steering gear, pumps, pipe work, valves and other associated mechanical equipment
Advising on and designing airframes, undercarriages and other equipment for aircraft as well as suspension systems, brakes, vehicle bodies and other components of road vehicles Advising on and designing non-electrical parts of apparatus or products such as word processors, computers, precision instruments, cameras and projectors
Establishing control standards and procedures to ensure efficient functioning and safety of machines, machinery, tools, motors, engines, industrial plant, equipment or systems Ensuring that equipment operation and maintenance comply with design specifications and safety standards.
Extractive Metallurgical Engineering: perform research, plan, design, develop, and operate commercial-scale processes for the extraction of metals or intermediate compounds from ores by chemical or physical processes, including those at high temperatures.
Typical Tasks that an Extractive Metallurgical Engineer may undertake include:
Conducting research, developing methods of extracting metals from their ores and advising on their application
Design, development and implementation of process projects
Operation and optimisation of process plants
Metallurgical and Materials Engineer:
Metallurgical and Materials Engineers perform research, analysis, design, production, characterisation, failure
analysis and application of materials, including metals, for engineering applications based on an understanding
of the properties of matter and engineering requirements.
Typical Tasks that a Metallurgical and Materials Engineer may undertake include:
Develop, control and advise on processes used for casting, alloying, heat treating or welding of metals, alloys and other materials to produce commercial metal products or develop new alloys, materials and processes, evaluate and specify materials for engineering applications, and do quality control and failure analyses.
Investigate properties of metals and alloys, develop new alloys and advise on and supervise technical aspects of metal and alloy manufacture, processing, use and manufacturing.
Do residual life evaluations and predictions, failure analyses, and prescribe remedial actions to avoid material failures.
The Mining Engineer (ME) designs and prepares specifications for mineral-extraction (Mining) meth-odology,
processes and systems and the management of the operation of Mining engineering processes for different
types of mineral depositions and minerals.
Typical tasks performed by MEs
Typical tasks that a ME may perform, include but are not limited to one or more of the following:
Conducting fundamental or operational research and advising on occupational health and safety and environmentally responsible mineral excavation methodology, processes and systems
Designing and specifying mineral excavation (production) processes, application of mining resources and mining technical support services required, occupational health, safety and environmental considerations and quality assurance
Establish production/operational control standards and procedures to ensure compliance with legislatory and site-specific requirements
Manage occupational health, safety and environmentally-related hazards and accompanying risks
Performing tests throughout the life-cycle stages and mineral excavation processes to deter-mine the degree of control over variables identified during the strategic and tactical Mine
Design and Planning processes
Develop an appropriate site-specific Risk Management Policy, Procedures and Standards (Codes of Practice)
Prepare Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility Reports and Life-of-Mine Exploitation Strategies and Plans, Business Plans and Bankable Documents based on site-specific assumptions, premises, constrains and best practice standards e.g. SAMCODES (i.e. SAMREC and SAMVAL)
Converting mineral resources into mineral reserves
Education and Training of candidate Mining Engineering Practitioners