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Change the world


Nelson Mandela University’s engagement institute, eNtsa, marked a significant milestone in the Eastern Cape’s automotive component and marine manufacturing industries, with the launch of its new engagement and innovation facility.


Collaboration partners from Nelson Mandela University, through eNtsa, and the Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC-EC), with MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Mlungisi Mvoko. Back, from left, Riccardo Temmers, Executive Manager: Future Skills and Sustainable Energy; Professor Danie Hattingh, eNtsa Director; Edem Foli, uYilo Programme Manager and Thabo Shenxane, CEO, AIDC-EC. Front, from left, Dr Martin Sanne, Nelson Mandela University/AIDC-EC Automotive Chair; Professor Marshall Sheldon, Executive Dean of Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Technology; MEC Mvoko; Professor Sibongile Muthwa, Nelson Mandela University Vice-Chancellor; Phumzile Zitumane, AIDC-EC Board Chairperson and Julien de Klerk, eNtsa Engineering Engagement Director.

This new facility is set to provide product and material testing to the automotive and marine manufacturing industries, with funding support creating access to subsidised cost testing, bringing innovation and precision to the forefront of product localisation.

Located at Mandela University’s Ocean Sciences Campus, the engagement and innovation facility hosts advanced testing equipment such as environmental testing, corrosion testing chambers, a collaborative robot test bed, 3D scanning and the capacity to host new expansions to support future industry needs.

These include testing for structural integrity, hydrogen infrastructure, additively manufactured products and many more.

At the launch on 15 March 2024, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, said the new facility was yet another way in which the University demonstrated its engagement philosophy of being in the service of society.

“We are a university that would love to live out the ethos of our namesake, Nelson Mandela. So, in everything that we do … we use the canon of education as a gamechanger,” said Professor Muthwa.

“This engagement and innovation facility will also serve as a space to give our research ambitions additional traction. Its launch is further demonstration of our intention to lend equal ground to our three academic missions of learning and teaching, research as well as transformative engagement.”

Engineering Engagement Director at eNtsa, Julien de Klerk, said the facility included capacity earmarked for future expansions to align with industry priorities.

“This expansion of facilities aligns with eNtsa’s aim to engage with manufacturing sectors, including automotive and marine, creating opportunities for engineering skills transfer, component testing for localisation and programmes which enable industry transformation,” he said.

This initiative was successfully carried out by two collaborating parties, with the valuable support of multiple stakeholders.

The Automotive Industry Development Centre - Eastern Cape (AIDC – EC) provided the initial funding for the establishment of a facility aimed at being a central hub for testing and training in the automotive sector of the province, supported by Mr Mlungisi Mvoko, the Eastern Cape Member of Executive Council for Finance and Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs, and Tourism.

“In 2021, Nelson Mandela University and the AIDC-EC signed a MOU, which provided a foundation for collaboration that has enabled several projects initiated in alignment with provincial and national priorities,” said Professor Muthwa.

MEC Mvoko commended this collaboration, saying he hoped to see it carried out at other institutions of higher learning.

“Our involvement in this initiative is testament to the growing relationship between government and the automotive industry, and we are excited to play an active role in supporting this industry,” he said.

Furthermore, the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) enabled this impactful project through funding towards the expanded facilities for technical support and training opportunities to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa’s marine manufacturing sector.

The facility is equipped with technologies and projects co-funded through the national Technology Station Programme, a national network of innovation and SMME support which is an initiative of the Technology Innovation Agency and the Department of Science and Innovation.

The new facility will complement and enhance eNtsa’s current testing laboratories located on Nelson Mandela University’s North Campus, which have been supporting South Africa’s automotive, petrochemical, and manufacturing industries for more than two decades.

Through industry-specific projects conducted within this establishment, University researchers, student interns, and graduate trainees will have the chance to participate in valuable hands-on experience within diverse teams and projects.

The engagement and innovation facility will be used to support small, micro and medium-sized enterprises that require testing of their products in order to access contracts with automotive sector Original Equipment Manufacturing companies (OEMs).

The launch of this new facility underscores eNtsa’s commitment to innovation and excellence in South Africa’s manufacturing industry. By investing in cutting-edge technology and infrastructure, eNtsa is paving the way for the future of South African automotive and marine development.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777