Johannesburg – The chief engineer of Prasa, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, is not officially registered with the profession’s statutory body, Netwerk24 reported on Wednesday.
In 2006, the Engineering Council of South Africa (Ecsa) rejected Dr Daniel Mtimkulu’s application to register with it.
Mtimkulu, who is head of engineering services at Prasa, was introduced at a press conference on Monday as the designer of the Afro 4000 locomotives that have been reported as unsuitable for South African infrastructure.
According to Rapport, he bought the locomotives, worth R600 million, despite warnings that their height was too great.
They were built in Spain and began to ship in December 2014.
At Monday’s press conference, Prasa CEO Lucky Montana, flanked by Mtimkulu, dismissed Rapport’s article and said there was nothing wrong with the locomotives.
Mtimkulu claimed to have studied engineering science at the University of the Witwatersrand before going on to study in Germany and get his doctorate.
Wits’ registration office could find no record of Mtimkulu having been a student.
According to the Engineering Profession Act and Ecsa regulations, an engineer working for a government entity has to be registered. Ecsa told Beeld that Mtimkulu was not registered with it.
In 2006 he applied to register, but his application was rejected because he did not hand in training and project reports. These were needed as proof that he had received training from a registered engineer.
Ecsa told Beeld that at the time of his application, Mtimkulu only had a BTech qualification and a national diploma.
Only those with a BSC degree in engineering and more than 3 years’ experience may apply to register as a professional engineer. Someone with a BTech qualification and more than 3 years’ experience may register as a professional engineering technologist.
Prasa spokesperson Moffet Mofokeng said Mtimkulu had a genuine PhD.
By Tuesday evening, Mofokeng had not responded to repeated queries about Mtimkulu’s Ecsa registration. He said Mtimkulu had been chairing a meeting since 14:00 that day.
In an sms sent around 18:00, Mtimkulu asked Beeld to call him later. His phone was then switched off.