#02 2020

Meet the new team members

By Tim Parker-Nance, Senior Developer, Elwandle Coastal Node

The Elwandle Coastal Node welcomed five new staff members in January 2020 under the Shallow Marine and Coastal Research Infrastructure (SMCRI).

Belicia Matsha, the new SMCRI junior data systems technician, has a BSc Mathematical Sciences degree from the University of Limpopo, with majors in Computer Science and Statistics. Prior to joining SAEON, she participated in a one-year internship programme with the Medical Research Council at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), where she worked as part of the data team in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga.

Belicia’s portfolio includes data systems, specifically dealing with data verification, pre-upload transformations and conducting error audits.

“My interest in the Data Management field and my keenness to apply what I have learned so far is what attracted me to SAEON,” she says. “I believe the supportive team at the Elwandle Node will give me the opportunity to learn and grow.”

Cholofelo Molatedi, the new SMCRI junior data infrastructure technician at the node, has a BTech degree in Information Technology (Business Applications) from the Tshwane University of Technology. Her academic training included working with database management tools such as SQL/PLSQL, UML modelling tools as well as project management tools and methodologies such as Agile and Scrum.

Cholofelo’s training exposed her to R programming, VB.net, A+, N+, diagnosing and solving hardware and software faults. Before joining SAEON, she worked at ABSA Bank for five years, starting in the Fraud Division where she was employed as a junior fraud analyst. Later she moved to the Corporate and Investment Banking space.

“My journey with ABSA has exposed me to supporting internal and external stakeholders,” says Cholofelo. “Joining the SAEON team is a huge transition from the banking sector and I see an exciting opportunity to develop my career in the Science and Technology field as part of an amazing team.”

Imkitha Makoyi, the new SMCRI junior biodiversity data technician, has a BSc in Environmental Sciences (2012) and an Honours degree in Geography (2016) from Walter Sisulu University. After completing her degree, she worked for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality as a Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) intern for two years. She then joined Lamacs Solutions in Port Elizabeth as a GIS operator.

During her Honours studies, she worked for ABSA as an external sales clerk. On completion of her studies, she moved to Pretoria to work for the Department of Environmental Affairs as a GIS intern, followed by a position at the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) at Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, as a Biodiversity Information Management intern.

Says Imkitha: “Now I am back home and looking forward to working with the SAEON team.”

Werner Kuntz, the new SMCRI junior marine technician at Elwandle Node, originally hails from Lydenburg in Mpumalanga. Having studied Oceanography at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, he joined SMCRI as an intern at the Elwande Node in 2018.

Werner plays a vital role in the maintenance and operations of the long-term ecological research, and the retrieval and deployments of the continuous monitoring platform moorings, also providing technical field support and workshop services.

He describes his time at the node as a very rewarding experience. “The best part is the variety of work; it makes it especially enjoyable as every day brings new challenges,” he says. “I like being out on the ocean, skippering, deploying instrumentation or sampling an estuary. I continue to learn and grow, as the job includes working with a wide array of instrumentation deployed and serviced from Elwandle’s extensive fleet of SMCRI research vessels.”

Jethan d’Hotman, the new SMCRI junior instrument technician at the Elwandle Node, recently completed his MSc in Physical Oceanography at the Nelson Mandela University under the supervision of Professor Juliet Hermes, manager of SAEON’s Egagasini Node. Before and during the MSc, he worked closely with scientists and technicians on the Agulhas System Climate Array (ASCA) aiming to quantify the volume, heat and salt transport of the Agulhas Current.

Jethan is primarily involved in the maintenance and operations of the various oceanographic instruments, including set up and configurations of current profilers, thermistors and CTDs, as well as data downloads. He will be assisting with managing the various instrumentation and assisting with boat and diving operations. He is also looking to expand the Smartfin citizen science project to surfing communities in the Eastern Cape.