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Leadership

The CSIR’s leadership structure comprises the CSIR Board, Group Executive Management and Executive Managers. They bring a broad range of expertise to continue steering an organisation that strives to transform the world in which we live.

Vuyani Jarana (Chairperson)
Vuyani Jarana, CSIR Board member
CSIR Board Chairperson

Vuyani Jarana is the Chairperson of the CSIR Board. He is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ilitha Telecommunications. Prior to this role, he was the CEO of South African Airways. He also held various roles at Vodacom before joining South African Airways. He is a C-Level business leader strategy, business development and business transformation expert.

Jarana holds an Honours and a Master’s in business administration, both from Stellenbosch University.

Dr Yunus Ballim
Dr Yunus Ballim, CSIR Board member

Dr Yunus Ballim is currently an emeritus professor at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (retired in 2021) at the University of the Witwatersrand. Prior to this role, he was the Vice-Chancellor at Sol Plaatje University, Kimberley. He has also held various positions in academia as well as industry.

Dr Ballim holds a PhD in engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Dr Thulani Dlamini (CEO)
CSIR CEO

Dr Thulani Dlamini is the Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR). He was appointed in this position in February 2017, but he is no stranger to the CSIR having previously served the organisation with distinction for many years.

He joined the CSIR in 2005 as the head of the National Laser Centre and in 2008, he was appointed in the position of Group Executive: Research and Development, a position he held until 2011 when he left the CSIR to join Sasol. At Sasol, he was the Executive Manager: Research and Development and later became Vice-President for Strategic Research and Technology.

Dr Dlamini holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master’s in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa.

He has served in many Boards and National Committees. He is a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and the South African Academy of Science.

Mahesh Fakir
Mahesh Fakir, CSIR Board member

Mahesh Fakir was an Operation Vulindlela consultant at National Treasury before becoming a member of the CSIR Board. Prior to his role at National Treasury, he was the CEO and Regulator/Board Member at the Ports Regulator of South Africa.

Fakir holds an MSc in development finance from the University of London, MSc in civil engineering and a Master’s in business administration from the University of Durban-Westville, now known as the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Michelle Govender
Michelle Govender, CSIR board member

Michelle Govender is currently the Senior Manager: Cyber Risk Emerging Technologies at Deloitte. Prior to her current role, she held various positions at Eskom. She is a cybersecurity leader with a demonstrated history of working in the energy utilities industry. She believes that leveraging emerging technologies to advance industrial environments is the key to growth and safety. She is passionate about preparing and equipping organisations to manage their industrial environments against exposure to cyber threats.

Govender holds a BSc in electrical engineering from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Maleke Joel Matolong
Maleke Joel Matolong, CSIR Board member

Maleke Joel Matolong is currently the Chairperson of the Finance Committee at the North-West Cricket Board. Prior to this role, he was a Senior Audit Manager at ARMS Audit. He is a supply chain management and turnaround expert.

Matolong holds a BCom in accounting from the University of Potchefstroom, now known as North-West University, and a Master’s in business administration from North-West University.

Dr Vuyo Mthethwa
Dr Vuyo Mthethwa, CSIR Board member

Dr Vuyo Mthethwa is currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: People & Operations at the Durban University of Technology. Prior to this role, she was the Managing Director at Hucad cc, a company she established, and for a brief period, she was the Executive Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor at Mangosuthu University of Technology. She has broad experience in leadership, human resources management, strategy and governance.

Dr Mthethwa holds a PhD in student governance from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mike Mulcahy
Mike Mulcahy, CSIR Board member

Mike Mulcahy is the Chief Executive Officer of GreenCape and the Chairman of the International Cleantech Network. Over the last decade, his work has been focused on unlocking the potential of the green economy. With experience in circular economy, energy, water, manufacturing and green finance, Mike hopes to bring a pragmatic contribution to the CSIR’s work of accelerating socioeconomic prosperity through leading innovation.

Mulcahy holds a Master’s in development finance from the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.

Jules Newton
Jules Newton, CSIR Board member

Jules Newton has been on a sabbatical since August 2021. Prior to her sabbatical, she was the Executive Director: Innovation (Green Business Value Chain portfolio) at Avocado Vision. Her areas of expertise include strategic partnership development; executive leadership development, education and training at scale; small, medium and micro enterprise development, management and support; rural economic development; green business value chains; and sales and fundraising management.

Newton holds a BA in education from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Dr Christine Render
Dr Christine Render, CSIR Board member

Dr Christine Render is an Engineering Consultant with 40 years’ experience working on industrial mega projects in a technical and management capacity, including leading the commercialisation of several “first-of-a-kind” technologies. She has been a Consulting Partner at Owner Team Consultation (Pty) Ltd since 2014, a position she still holds. Prior to her current role, she held various positions at Sasol Technology.

Dr Render holds a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Leeds.

Prof. Arnold van Zyl
Prof van Zyl, CSIR Board member

Prof. van Zyl was the President of Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University in Stuttgart, Germany. He has held various leadership positions, in both Germany and South Africa. He was the Vice-Chancellor at Technische Universität Chemnitz in Germany and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Stellenbosch University. He was also the CEO of ERTICO – ITS Europe in Belgium and occupied various positions at Daimler R&D.

Prof. van Zyl holds a PhD in engineering from the University of Cape Town.

Dr Thulani Dlamini (CEO)
CSIR CEO

Dr Thulani Dlamini is the Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR). He was appointed in this position in February 2017, but he is no stranger to the CSIR having previously served the organisation with distinction for many years.

He joined the CSIR in 2005 as the head of the National Laser Centre and in 2008, he was appointed in the position of Group Executive: Research and Development, a position he held until 2011 when he left the CSIR to join Sasol. At Sasol, he was the Executive Manager: Research and Development and later became Vice-President for Strategic Research and Technology.

Dr Dlamini holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master’s in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa.

He has served in many Boards and National Committees. He is a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and the South African Academy of Science.

 

Dr Rachel Chikwamba
CSIR Group Executive: Advanced Chemistry and Life Sciences

Dr Rachel Chikwamba holds the position of CSIR Group Executive for the Advanced Chemistry and Life Sciences division. In this role, she spearheads the implementation of the CSIR Strategy within the respective sectors. Dr Chikwamba collaborates closely with academia, as well as the public and private sector partners, both locally and internationally, to foster innovation that contributes to enhancing sectoral competitiveness and economic performance.

Dr Chikwamba has led a number of strategic initiatives for the CSIR.  Most recently, she led the CSIR commercialisation initiative, culminating in the launch of CSIR C Cubed, a dedicated capability that brings together CSIR intellectual property (IP), entrepreneurs and financial resources to accelerate the pace at which CSIR IP is translated into products and services that enhance economic competitiveness of industry and enable a capable state. Prior to this initiative, Dr Chikwamba led Project Synapse, an initiative that defined a renewed vision and mission of the organisation, strategic objectives, the programmatic focus areas, operating and business models, as well as the strategy implementation plan. This process culminated in the current organisational strategy. 

Dr Chikwamba formerly served as the Group Executive for Strategic Alliances and Communication. In this role, she led efforts to establish and foster organisational partnerships with local and global stakeholders in the public and private sectors. The primary objective was to leverage science, technology and innovation to advance knowledge and address challenges related to socioeconomic and industrial development.

Rachel has served and is serving on the boards of various organisations, focusing on agriculture and health. Notably, she has been a part of the Global Governing Board of ICRISAT, the Board of Directors of the Wits Health Consortium (Pty) Ltd and the South African Medical Research Council. In addition, she was recently appointed to the African Union (AU) Panel on Emerging Technologies. The panel is responsible for providing guidance to the AU and its member states regarding the effective utilisation of emerging technologies for economic development.

Dr Chikwamba holds a PhD in Genetics from Iowa State University in the United States of America (USA) and a Master of Business Administration from the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and has also held an Honorary Research Fellowship at St. Georges Hospital Medical School, University of London. Rachel joined the CSIR in December 2004, following her role as a postdoctoral research associate at Arizona State University, USA.

Adv Esmé Kennedy
CSIR Group Executive: Legal, Compliance and Business Enablement

Adv. Esmé Kennedy is the CSIR Group Executive: Legal, Compliance and Business Enablement. She joined the CSIR in August 2018 from Yokogawa South Africa (Pty) Ltd, where she was Executive Manager: Business Support Services. She has a wealth of experience, which spans over 15 years, eight of which were at senior management level.

She is a dynamic leader with a broad range of expertise in the legal and commercial fields in the mining, construction and energy sectors across Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, Europe, India and the Middle-East. She has worked for organisations such as Murray and Roberts, Areva, Shaft Sinkers and Placer Dome.

Esmé has a B.Proc from the University of Pretoria, LLB and LLM from Potchefstroom University and an MBA from the University of the North West, Potchefstroom Business School. She is an admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and has also worked as a practicing Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar.

Andile Mabindisa
CSIR Group Executive: Human Capital and Communication

Mr Andile Mabindisa is the CSIR Group Executive: Human Capital and Communication, effective 1 November 2020. He has been acting in this role since April 2019, after having joined the CSIR as the Group Manager: Human Capital Business Partnering in December 2018. Prior to joining the CSIR he was the Country Talent and Development Executive at Gibela Rail Transport (Pty) Ltd. Andile's career spans over 20 years and he has extensive experience in areas such as human resources management, talent management, employee relations, learning and development, leadership and management development, project management, as well as stakeholder management in the rail, oil, mining and manufacturing industries.

Andile holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) in Human Resources and a Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Relations from the then University of Natal. He also holds a Leadership Programme certificate from the Institute of Management Development in Switzerland.

In May 2018, he was recognised with a Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa’s CEO Award for excellence in learning and development in the rail and manufacturing industry.

Dr Sandile Malinga
CSIR Group Executive: Smart Society corporate, Sandile Malinga
CSIR Group Executive: Smart Society

Dr Sandile Malinga was appointed CSIR Group Executive: Smart Society, effective 1 August 2022. He joined the organisation from the South African Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), where he had been the Chief Operations Officer since 2016.

Prior to his role at ATNS, he was the founding Chief Executive Officer of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). During his tenure, between 2011 and 2016, he was instrumental in developing and leading the implementation of the organisational strategy, establishing partnerships with key industry stakeholders, leading the acquisition and fulfilment of commercial contracts and overseeing large research and development projects. Before joining SANSA, he was the Managing Director of the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory, under the National Research Foundation.

Dr Malinga holds a Master of Business Administration from Business School Netherlands and a PhD in physics from Rhodes University, where he started his lecturing career in 2001 before joining the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he held various academic roles serving as the Dean’s Assistant, and on various faculty committees and the University Senate. Dr Malinga has a wealth of Board/Council experience, having served on numerous oversight bodies, including the SANSA Board, the Sentech Board (as Chairman), the South African Council for Space Affairs, and as a co-opted invitee on the ATNS Board.

Dr Kaven Naidoo
Dr Kaven Naidoo CSIR Leadership
CSIR Group Executive: Business Excellence and Integration

Dr Kaven Naidoo is the CSIR Group Executive: Business Excellence and Integration, effective 1 September 2022.

Kaven joined the CSIR in 1999 as an aeronautical engineer within the Defence Aeronautics Programme in the then Defencetek Operating Unit. He subsequently participated in and led various projects for the Department of Defence, industry and the CSIR in the area of computational and experimental aerodynamics. Kaven attained the position of principal researcher before he was appointed as the Competency Area Manager for CSIR Aeronautics Systems in 2013 and has held various leadership roles in the organisation over the years.

He has led several national-level efforts in aerospace on behalf of the Department of Science and Innovation and has facilitated several dialogues on empowering growth of the sector in the region and on the continent. He has also served on the International Forum for Aviation Research, an alliance of the leaders of the world’s premier aeronautics institutes including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the German Aerospace Centre, the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and other national aerospace laboratories across the globe in a collaboration to address the world’s most pressing aviation challenges.

In 2020, Kaven was appointed as Divisional Operations Manager for Advanced Production and Security.

He holds a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and has completed the Executive National Security Programme with the Department of Defence.

Dr Motodi Maserumule
CSIR Group Executive: Advanced Production and Security

Dr Motodi Maserumule is the CSIR Group Executive: CSIR Advanced Production and Security division. Prior to his current role, he was the Executive Director: Defence, Peace, Safety and Security (DPSS). He joined the CSIR in October 2017 from the African Nuclear Energy Corporation, where he was the Group Executive: Research and Development.

Motodi is not new to the CSIR. He first joined the organisation in 1999 as a senior scientist in the then Defencetek operating unit. He then became the Competency Area Manager for Aeronautic Systems at the former DPSS and was appointed Executive Director: Modelling and Digital Science (MDS) in 2009. In this role, he was instrumental in transforming MDS into an operationally effective unit.

He has extensive experience in strategy development and implementation, leading technology concepts to commercialisation, driving transformation, strategic stakeholder engagement and business development.

He holds a PhD in Mathematics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, USA. He has completed programmes in management development and national security, as well as a course in mastering technology enterprise, offered by the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Motodi has received various local and international awards and has published research papers in reputable journals. He has professional memberships with the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematicians.

 

Esteé Opperman
CSIR Chief Financial Officer
CSIR Chief Financial Officer

Esteé Opperman chartered accountant [CA(SA)] is the CSIR Chief Financial Officer, effective 1 January 2024.

Este’s journey with the CSIR began in 2008 as the Finance Manager for the then Natural Resources and Environment unit. Since then, she has been actively involved in and led various projects within the finance portfolio. In 2019, Esteé assumed the role of Divisional Finance Manager for CSIR Advanced Production and Security.

With a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting sciences, a Bachelor of Honours in accounting sciences, as well as a Certificate in the theory of accounting from the University of Pretoria, she successfully completed the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors examinations. Concurrently, she fulfilled her Articles at KPMG, which concluded her journey to becoming a CA(SA).

Fabrizio Dionisio
Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation

Fabrizio Dionisio is the Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation for the CSIR Advanced Production and Security division. Prior to his appointment, Fabrizio was the acting Divisional Executive: Research and Technology Development at the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA).

Fabrizio is not new to the CSIR, having previously been with the organisation for 20 years in various specialist and management positions. He was the Contract Research and Development Manager at the former Modelling and Digital Sciences unit and Key Account Manager for the CSIR. He has extensive leadership experience in business development for local and international projects, strategy development, stakeholder management and project management.

He holds an MSc in Aeronautical Engineering from Wits University.

 

Nomsa Dlamini
Nomsa Dlamini, CSIR Smart Mobility Executive Manager
Executive Manager: Smart Mobility

Nomsa Dlamini is the Executive Manager for the CSIR Smart Mobility cluster. Before joining the CSIR, Nomsa served as Portfolio Director for Transport at MPAMOT Africa Pty Ltd. From January 2017 until May 2023, Nomsa held the position of Executive Manager for Asset and Maintenance Assurance at the Gautrain Management Agency. Additionally, within the same organisation, she assumed the role of Acting Senior Executive Manager for Technical Services before 2017.

Her leadership expertise has been refined through this extensive experience, setting her on a path marked by innovation and continual growth. Ascending through the ranks within the engineering field, Nomsa's career journey has led her to the forefront, where she now leads a team of seasoned professional engineers.

Nomsa's remarkable journey has been marked by outstanding achievements, one of which is her receipt of a Harvard South Africa Fellowship Scholarship Award. This prestigious scholarship paved her path to Harvard Business School, where she successfully completed the General Management Program, earning a certificate that further underscores her commitment to excellence.

Nomsa holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Master of Engineering qualifications from the University of Pretoria. Nomsa boasts a rich and extensive career spanning over two decades.

Johan le Roux
Executive Manager: Synapse Implementation

Johan le Roux is the Executive Manager for Synapse Implementation. He was until March 2020 also the acting Executive Manager for the Future Production: Mining cluster. Prior to this role, he was the Executive Director for the then CSIR Implementation Unit, a position he had held since November 2014. In this role he had oversight of enterprise creation for development; specialist services; strategic initiatives implementation; mining testing and training services and the environmental/water testing areas.

Johan first joined the CSIR in 1990 as a Project Manager for Technology for Small Business Development and Textile Technology Training for Industry. He has held various leadership positions at the CSIR, including as acting Executive Director for the CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing unit, from May 2005 to August 2008; the General Manager for the CSIR Strategic Initiatives Implementation Unit, from September 2008 to March 2013; and acting Executive Director for the Implementation Unit from April to December 2013.

Johan has established and contributed to many key South African industry support initiatives and advisory bodies, including the Automotive Industry Development Centre, the National Manufacturing Advisory Centre of South Africa, the National Cleaner Production Centre and the Small Enterprise Development Agency. He also represented the CSIR in the management and advisory structures of the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative, the National Foundry Technology Network and the Technology Localisation Implementation Unit.

He completed his studies in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch and has completed management and leadership development programmes at the University of Cape Town Business School, Groman South Africa and the Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.

Anne Gabathuse
Anne Gabathuse: Business Development and Commercialisation
Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation

Anne Gabathuse currently serves as the Executive Manager for Business Development and Commercialisation at Smart Society. With a career that spans over 13 years in the field of technology transfer, her vast wealth of experience has equipped her with an impressive skillset for managing and commercialising intellectual property. Anne's academic background features a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in biochemistry and a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering, both from the prestigious University of Cape Town. Her thirst for knowledge also led her to obtain a Master of Business Administration degree from the esteemed University of KwaZulu-Natal.

In her role at Smart Society, Anne's proficiency in technology transfer and intellectual property management plays an integral role in shaping business development and commercialisation strategies. Beyond her professional accomplishments lies an individual who is deeply passionate about pushing boundaries within the tech industry. Under Anne’s stewardship, Smart Society continues to carve its niche as a forward-thinking player within the research, development and innovation sector, amidst rapid innovation advancements.

Annes unique blend of passion, expertise, leadership qualities and constant drive for improvement makes her a forerunner in her field. She not only brings value to Smart Society with her extensive experience but is also set on shaping its future direction with great foresight.

Dr Luyolo Mabhali
Dr Luyolo Mabhali, CSIR Production Manufacturing Executive Manager
Executive Manager: Future Production: Manufacturing

Dr Luyolo Mabhali, currently serving as the Executive Cluster Manager for CSIR Future Production: Manufacturing, brings over 15 years of extensive experience in spearheading innovation within manufacturing, research and academia domains. Holding a PhD in engineering and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of the Witwatersrand and Wits Business School, his expertise spans from theoretical training to practical application, making him uniquely equipped to conceptualise and industrialise projects.

In his previous roles, Dr Mabhali served as a Research and Development Manager at the South African Mint Company, where he led a team dedicated to pioneering research in materials and processes crucial to the minting industry. He also served as a Research Group Leader at the then CSIR National Laser Centre, now known as the National Photonics Centre, focusing on laser additive manufacturing and surface engineering. Additionally, he worked as a senior engineer at ArcelorMittal South Africa, specialising in process modelling and coke production. Dr Mabhali has also contributed as a part-time lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology, imparting knowledge in physical metallurgy.

Dr Mabhali is currently pursuing a PhD in innovation management. This academic journey, coupled with professional experiences, has cultivated a diverse skill set encompassing strategy formulation, project management, International Organisation for Standardization certification processes, governance, risk and compliance frameworks, innovation management, implementation of sustainability initiatives and advanced manufacturing, among others.

Sipho Mbhokota
Executive Manager: Defence and Security

Sipho Mbhokota is the Executive Manager for the Defence and Security cluster. He joined the CSIR in 2014 as the Competence Area Manager for the Integrated Systems Group within the former Defence, Peace, Safety and Security unit.

His career in the defence and security sector spans over 20 years, with 10 of those years spent as a member of the South African Air Force, where he was a Systems Engineer in the VIP Squadron, as well as a Project Engineer on the RSA Airbus A400M Aircraft Acquisition team. Prior to joining the CSIR, he was the Divisional Manager for Engineering Services at Armscor’s Dockyard in Simon’s Town.

Sipho holds Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering degrees from the University of Pretoria. He also has a Master of Business Administration qualification from the University of Stellenbosch.

 

Bongi Ntsoelengoe
Executive Manager for Future Production: Mining

Bongi Ntsoelengoe is the Executive Manager for Future Production: Mining. She joined the CSIR on 6 April 2020 from Kumba Iron Ore Limited, a division of Anglo-American plc, where she had been the Manager of Technology, since January 2014. In her role as Manager of Technology, she was responsible for leading Kumba’s digital technology strategy and innovation roadmap, which has seen the company roll out some significant technologies, such as full autonomous drilling fleet at Kolomela Mine, advanced process control for plant operations, autonomous braking system for haul trucks, as well as remote-piloted aircraft systems (drones), as a new tool for surveying and other applications. She has been recognised as a leader in the field of mine modernisation, which led to her being a panellist at several conferences and, most recently, at the 2020 Investing in Africa Mining Indaba.

Bongi has over 15 years’ experience in the mining industry, having worked in iron ore and base metal commodities. Her career started after graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand with a BSc in Metallurgy and Material Engineering. Bongi holds a Master of Business Administration from GIBS, University of Pretoria, and a BSc (Hons) Metallurgical Engineering, University of Pretoria. She also has a Certificate in Business Management, University of South Africa, and an Advanced Management Programme Certificate, University of Navarra, IESE Business School.

She has held various positions in the mining industry, which has given her experience in the processing of minerals, delivering capital projects, technology research, innovation and modernisation across the mining value chain, including the marketing of commodities. Bongi also served as a member of the innovation steering committee at the Minerals Council of South Africa and she is also a Council Member for the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

Dr Bethuel Sehlapelo
Executive Manager: Smart Places

Dr Bethuel Sehlapelo is the Executive Manager for the Smart Places cluster. He joined the CSIR in July 2018, as the Executive Director for the former Built Environment unit. Prior to joining the CSIR, he was the Executive for Innovation Funding and Pre-Commercialisation Support at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). Bethuel has extensive senior and executive management experience in technology-intensive enterprises, having worked in organisations such as the Ekurhuleni Municipality, Rand Water, the former Department of Science and Technology and Denel (Swartklip Products), among others. His responsibilities included governance and strategic management oversight on institutions, as well as the management of R&D and its implementation into products, development and implementation of national programmes, policies and legislation on innovation. His involvement and experience in such organisations span a period of more than 20 years.  

He has served on the boards of various organisations, such as the Tshwane Rapid Transit, Mintek, Water Research Commission, National Nuclear Regulator, Central University of Technology (Council) and Mega Africa Holdings.

He holds a PhD (Chemistry) from the University of Natal, MSc (Chemistry) from Queen’s University, Canada, BSc (Chemistry and Biology) from the National University of Lesotho, and has completed an Executive Leadership Programme with the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership.

Dr Kenny Tenza
Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation

Dr Kenny Tenza is the Executive Manager: Business Development and Commercialisation for the CSIR Advanced Chemistry and Life Sciences division.

Prior to joining the CSIR, Kenny was at Sasol Technology where he held various positions, such as Principal Intellectual Property (IP) Technical Advisor: Chemicals, Principal Research Scientist and, most recently, Acting Senior Manager: IP Management. Prior to joining Sasol Technology, he was a National Research Foundation overseas postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University, in the United Kingdom.

Kenny is an internationally recognised IP practitioner who has experience in business valuation and the full spectrum of IP management and commercialisation at technical and strategic levels.

He is an Advisory Board Member at InnoVenton: Institute for Chemical Technology and Downstream Chemicals Technology Station at Nelson Mandela University and he is an independent Non-Executive Director at the Vaal University of Technology (Pty) Ltd.

He holds an MSc and a PhD in organic chemistry from the Universities of Pretoria and St Andrews, in Scotland, respectively.

Dr Lulama Wakaba
Executive Manager: Next-Gen Enterprises and Institutions

Dr Lulama Wakaba is the Executive Manager for the Next-Gen Enteprises and Institutions Cluster. He joined the CSIR in October 2021. Prior to joining the CSIR, Lulama was an independent consultant in the enterprise development arena. In this role, he developed commercialisation strategies and incubation processes for technology-based enterprises.

Most of Lulama’s formal education is in physics and applied mathematics, culminating in a PhD degree from the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign. He subsequently gained experience in various industries, ranging from financial services to airports management.

While working in the financial services industry (at an international investment bank), Lulama developed and implemented quantitative trading strategies for equity markets. In this role, he worked across the entire innovation chain spanning idea-generation and selection, research and development, and the deployment of trading strategies in live environments.

Lulama is not new to the CSIR, having previously been with the organisation as a Senior Researcher and a Strategic Research Manager in the former Modelling and Digital Sciences unit. He then left the CSIR to serve as the Group Manager for Technical Research and Development at the Airports Company South Africa.