Engineers Of Change’ Honoured at SAIEE 2019 Annual Awards
December 9, 2019  

Supplied by Minx Avrabos from SAIEE


Excellence in engineering was in the spotlight as the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) “celebrated visionaries, the engineers of change” at the 108th SAIEE Annual Awards Dinner held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg last week.

The black-tie event, which coincided with the organisation’s inaugural national conference, honoured the best in the industry for their contributions to the sector.

Guest speaker, Saray Khumalo, the first black African women to reach the summit of Mount Everest, received a standing ovation as she shared her journey of courage and perseverance.

Surprise act, Arias Anonymous, delighted guests as the duo transformed from chef and manager to a singing sensation, serenading the crowd with classic arias.

Jacaranda FM’s Scenic Drive with Rian presenter, Philicity Reeken, brough her signature energy as the MC and was joined by SAIEE’s President and CEO, George Debbo and Sicelo Xulu, during the awards ceremony.

The recipients in six award categories, including the winners of the SAIEE National Students Project Competition, was announced.


Monde Soni

Sponsored by Actom, the award recognises an engineer who energetically works towards promoting electrical science for the benefit of the Southern African community.Soni, a senior planning engineer at Eskom, facilitated the establishment of the SAIEE Load Research Chapter. He wrote a paper for CIGRE SA on “Bulk Energy Integration Studies” – a relatively new subject internationally and more particularly in developing countries. His methodology for bulk energy storage modelling and simulation is considered the first to be developed in South Africa. He currently also serves as an SAIEE Council Member on the institute’s education and technology & knowledge leadership committees.

Pictured from left:  Monde Soni, Casbah Zwane (Actom) and George Debbo (SAIEE). 



Thembinkosi Cedric “TC” Madikane

Sponsored by Fluke, the award honours an individual who excels in electrical engineering and demonstrates above-average participation in the SAIEE and its activities.

Madikane is a highly respected engineer with more than 24 years’ experience in the industry. He heads up his own engineering company, Igoda Projects, that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Madikane has a long history with the SAIEE, joining the institute as the Student Chapter Chairperson while he was studying at the then University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal). In 2006, he was crowned the SAIEE Engineer of the Year Award. Madikane’s contribution and involvement in the SAIEE never ceased throughout the year and he was eventually appointed as the SAIEE President in 2016.  Pictured fom left: Francesco Pagin (Fluke), George Debbo (SAIEE), TC Madikane and Sicelo Xulu (SAIEE).


Bertha Dlamini

A new category of the awards, it seeks to recognise an individual for her contribution to promoting and inspiring women in engineering.

Dlamini needs no introduction in the industry as a passionate advocate for the accelerated participation of African women and youth in Africa’s power and energy sector. Using her vast network, she mobilises global stakeholders to work together to break down the barriers for women and young people in the industry. She is currently the President of African Women in Energy and Power (AWEaP). She has also been a strategic advisor to the Association for Municipal Electricity Utilities (AMEU) where she played a critical role in advancing gender mainstreaming in South Africa’s energy sector.
Pictured from left: 
Sicelo Xulu (SAIEE), Bertha Dlamini and George Debbo (SAIEE).


Stanley Bridgens

This prestigious award recognises the significant contributions of an engineer to the sector and is selected by the SAIEE President.

Bridgens has made a massive contribution to the electricity supply industry over the course of his long career. He’s a Fellow and Past President of the SAIEE, serving as a member of the institute for over 54 years. He started as an apprentice electrician in 1959 at the then Johannesburg Electricity Department (now City Power) and left after 43 years as the utility’s director. He is recognised as a pioneer in the early implementation of a pre-payment metering philosophy. After he retired, he joined the SAIEE’s administrative staff and introduced much-needed financial management and governance processes and procedures that the institute still uses today. Pictured from left:  Sicelo Xulu (SAIEE), Stanley Bridgens and George Debbo (SAIEE).


Michelle Govender

Sponsored by SGB-SMIT POWER MATLA, the award recognising the most outstanding young achiever in electrical or electronic engineering of the year.

Govendor is a force to be reckoned with as an Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) registered engineer and cybersecurity specialist for the World Bank-CIGRE African Utilities Initiative. She also serves an advisor for the Electricity Power Research Institute (EPRI) and as a member of the SABS SC 27 Technical Committee. Govender is passionate about connecting the youth with the engineering industry and is currently working on an initiative to connect aspiring founding engineers who are keen to start their businesses with South African engineers and CEOs.

Pictured from left: 
Michelle Govender, George Debbo (SAIEE) and Adolf Erasmus (SGB-SMIT POWER MATLA).


SAIEE Central Gauteng Centre

The SAIEE Central Gauteng Centre team with George Debbo (SAIEE) and their chairman, Teboho Machabe.

This award, which was introduced as a new category in 2018, seeks to honour the best among SAIEE’s centres, recognising their contributions to the institute and the engineering profession.

It’s been a busy year for the SAIEE’s Central Gauteng Centre as they distinguished themselves in hosting regular industry events, establishing three student chapters and recruiting a substantial number of new members. Established in 2015, the centre is still relatively young, but have wasted no time in making their mark as positive, disruptive and energetic force in the SAIEE. Showing their collective influence in the industry, they hosted, among others, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan and the former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Prof Arthur Mutambara, at their events in 2019. 


Deswill Willemse & Kai Goodall

Final year electrical, electronic and computer engineering students from academic universities and universities of technology compete to complete an intensive design project as part of the competition every year.

Engineering students, Deswill Willemse from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and Kai Goodall from the University of Cape Town (UCT) beat out 15 other students with their final year projects. The pair was flown up to Johannesburg to accept their prizes in person.
Pictured from left: 
Kai Goodall, George Debbo (SAIEE) and Deswill Willemse.