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SAHHA Chairman

Brian Monakali

Brian has a diverse work experience that spans strategy, business development, long-term planning, business improvement and engineering, locally and internationally. He has a good track record of achieving results over the past 23 years of his career. 15 of these years at an executive level in the Mining, Transport and FMCG industries. This includes various leadership roles at Transnet, Lonmin Platinum, Unilever and the Municipality of Port Elizabeth. Brian currently serves as the Director of Energy and Logistics Strategy at South32.

He led the founding of the South African Heavy Haul Association (SAHHA), and is also its Chairman. He is the current Vice Chairman of the International Heavy Haul Association Board of Directors (IHHA). During his tenure in this role, he successfully led the development of the Global Vision 2030 for Heavy Haul, which was successfully launched at the IHHA conference 2023, in Brazil. He led the conference planning committee that delivered a successful IHHA conference held in Cape Town in 2017, attended by 1200 delegates from over 30 countries.

Brian has a BSc degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Cape Town, Masters degree in Industrial Engineering from Wits University, and an MBA from Wits Business School. Brian is also a qualified Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, a registered Professional Engineer with ECSA and has a Government Certificate of Competency (GCC).

Prof. Hannes Gräbe

Prof. PJ (Hannes) Gräbe is full professor and Head of the Department of Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT) at the University of Pretoria. He holds the Chair in Railway Safety, sponsored by the Railway Safety Regulator (since 2016), and previously the Chair in Railway Engineering, sponsored by Transnet Freight Rail (from 2008 - 2018).

Prof. Gräbe’s research focuses on the behaviour of railway foundation materials subjected to cyclic loading and the characterisation of track component performance and behaviour through field and laboratory experimentation. He combines his experience in track technology, geotechnology and advanced laboratory testing for the development of novel condition monitoring techniques, maintenance models and numerical analysis of track structures. This includes a new research focus on the instrumentation of railway formations for unsaturated soil behaviour studies. His research finds application in the improvement of rail transport on the Transnet, Gautrain and PRASA rail networks. Most recently he has been successful in obtaining funding under the NRF National Equipment Programme through collaboration with colleagues in the Departments of Civil, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering for the development of a unique research vehicle that is equipped to carry out cutting-edge condition monitoring on road and rail infrastructure.

During the last 5 years, Prof Gräbe served on the Transnet Freight Rail School of Rail Advisory Board and is a founding and board member of the South African Heavy Haul Association (SAHHA). Internationally he served on the RAILENIUM Scientific and Strategic Committee, an advisory board that oversees industry and government funded research projects carried out in Europe by various universities, laboratories and research organizations. His international collaboration stretches from African countries such as Ghana and Tanzania to France, the UK and the USA.

Prof Gräbe has received best paper awards in Railway Engineering from the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (Railway & Harbour division) as well as the SAICE (Geotechnical division) Jenning’s Award for the best Geotechnical Paper. During 2019 he delivered the 6th Stephen Marich Annual Lecture in Railway Engineering in Australia. Following this event, he was invited to become an IRT Rail Research Associate (International), Monash University.

Prof. Gräbe is registered with ECSA as a professional engineer, a fellow of both the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and the South African Academy of Engineers (SAAE) and a B-rated NRF researcher (since 2019).

Jaco VD Westhuizen

Jaco van der Westhuizen is an accomplished executive with over 30 years of experience in engineering, operations, and project management roles. He currently serves as General Manager of Engineering & Capital Projects for Transnet Port Terminals. Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer of Mitsubishi Power Africa where he significantly grew the business. He has also held senior positions with companies such as Steinmüller Africa, DSD Power Africa, and Clyde Bergemann Africa.

Throughout his career, Jaco has leveraged his technical expertise in areas like bulk solids handling, manufacturing, construction, and maintenance services to drive organizational development and continuous improvement. He is skilled in strategic planning, financial management, and stakeholder relations. Jaco holds a Master's Degree in Bulk Solids Handling as well as Engineering Management and is a registered Professional Engineer. With his diverse industry experience and leadership capabilities, he has a proven track record of positioning organizations for sustainable growth and operational success.

Kubendren Naidoo

Mr. Kubendren Naidoo is a highly experienced bulk materials handling Engineer with 20 years of experience and expertise in various aspects of Bulk Material handling equipment and processes. He currently serves as the General Manager Asset Management at Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), where he leads a diverse Engineering, Maintenance and technology teams. He holds a B.Sc. Mechanical Eng. degree from the University of Kwa Zulu Natal and Government Certificate of Competency (GCC Factories).

Prof. Pilate Moyo

Pilate Moyo is a Professor of Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Cape Town. His research is focused on developing structural health monitoring and structural assessment technologies integrating finite element modelling, full-scale field testing, and advanced data analysis algorithms. His research seeks to improve infrastructure management and maintenance by providing robust, practical tools. He has published widely in these areas and regularly acts as a consultant on infrastructure performance assessment.

Nkululeko Gobhozi

Mr. Nkululeko Gobhozi Pr. Eng. is a highly experienced Railway Engineer with 21 years of expertise in various aspects of railway technology. He currently serves as the Chief Engineer at Transnet Freight Rail, where he leads a diverse engineering team focused on Technology Management. He holds a B.Sc. Elec. Eng. degree from the University of Cape Town, a GDE in Industrial Engineering, and an M.Eng. Degree from the University of Witwatersrand, specializing in Systems Engineering.

Mr. Gobhozi has made significant contributions to the field, authoring numerous papers for respected institutions and forums such as the International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA), International Council of Systems Engineering (INCOSE), UIC, and the Institute for Railway and Signal Engineers (IRSE). He is a registered Professional Engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and has served as a member of the Transnet Research and Development Board. Additionally, he holds a directorial position on the board of the International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA).

Sakkie Swanepoel

Izak Swanepoel started out his career as a mechanical engineer at Sishen Iron Ore Mine. Over the years since then he has furthered his formal education in accounting, economics and business administration. His commodity experience is in iron ore, base metals, industrial minerals and coal; and his work experience includes engineering maintenance, strategy and business optimisation, and marketing and logistics. He is currently service as a General Manager: Marketing & Logistics, at Exxaro. He also serves as Board Member in various subsidiary companies with his employer. He is currently responsible for marketing and logistics at one of the South African mining houses.