June Month Celebration with Obakeng Moatshe: A young “Chief Engineer” securing water and infrastructure

In recognition of the national Youth Month, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) through its structure of Learning Academy gives recognition on youth development in young future water sector Scientists and Engineers. Among such youth is Obakeng Moatshe, a 31 year old qualified engineer who holds BEng-Mechanical Engineer Degree.

As a recipient of a bursary, he pursued his mechanical engineering studies at the University of Pretoria. His passion for engineering was ignited by his inquisitive and innovative mind from his early school days. Born and bred in dusty township of Hammanskraal, Obakeng refused hostile childhood environment to determine his future but kept his eyes locked on educational target. Obakeng Moatshe is now a Chief Engineer at DWS and works with commitment to ensure that the Department’s mandate of ensuring water quality is realized.

“The Department has played a pivotal role in my education support by funding my undergraduate studies from second year level up to graduation. Even after the completion of my degree the Department continued to support my development through the Learning Academy graduate programme and short courses as required by (ECSA) Engineering Council of South Africa”, said Moatshe.

As the Chief Engineer, his managerial responsibilities include to ensure full operations of the Departmental schemes and compliance to policies. He is also responsible for technical maintenance and authorisation of operational expenses for Departmental projects under Central Operations.

Moatshe scope of work also goes beyond the Department, by overseeing the operations and maintenance of 27 dams, weirs, pump stations that are collectively under the contractual care of Municipalities, Water boards and Water Users Associations.

“The Department’s responsibility is to provide quality water and dignified sanitation to the society. It is therefore my responsibility as an Engineer to ensure infrastructure maintenance that would provide secured and quality water supply to our key stakeholders (domestic users, Eskom, farmers, mines, etc.). As engineers we have to ensure that the Department does not continuously incur costs due to failing infrastructure” he added.  

Moatshe said it is important for the country to commemorate the sacrifices of the Youth of 1976. He said youth of today, should use education as a vehicle to honour what those youth fought for, and at the same time use it break the chains of poverty in the societies. He encouraged the youth to venture in engineering field and explore great opportunities that are brought by this intriguing and rewarding career.   

Thapelo Motseo

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