Women in the pub­lic sec­tor

Public Sector Manager - - Contents -

Elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer Nomsa Mo­jele helps en­sure our air­ports meet in­ter­na­tional safety stan­dards

Nomsa Mo­jela is an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer who heads the South African Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity team re­spon­si­ble for help­ing en­sure our air­ports

meet in­ter­na­tional in­fra­struc­ture safety stan­dards.

Ever won­dered who is re­spon­si­ble for the run­way lights that safely guide land­ing air­craft af­ter dark or in ex­treme weather? Nomsa Mo­jela, 37, is Aero­drome In­fra­struc­ture man­ager at the South African Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (SACAA). She ex­plains that aero­nau­ti­cal ground light­ing il­lu­mi­nates air­port move­ment ar­eas to en­sure the safe op­er­a­tion of aero­planes at night or in low-vis­i­bil­ity con­di­tions.

“The lights must con­form to stan­dards in terms of their colour, pat­tern, cov­er­age and bright­ness,” she says. “The aero­drome elec­tri­cal in­spec­tor en­sures that all li­censed air­ports in South Africa com­ply with these stan­dards.”

Mo­jela comes from Mamelodi in Tsh­wane. She holds a diploma in elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing from Tsh­wane South TVET Col­lege.

As head of the Aero­drome In­fra­struc­ture sec­tion, Mo­jela has six in­spec­tors re­port­ing to her: three elec­tri­cal in­spec­tors and three civil in­fra­struc­ture in­spec­tors.

Her sec­tion's du­ties in­clude check­ing pre­ci­sion ap­proach path in­di­ca­tors, aero­drome elec­tri­cal sys­tems, gen­er­a­tors, and the switch­ing and trans­former rooms at air­ports.

Pre­ci­sion ap­proach path in­di­ca­tors pro­vide guid­ance in­for­ma­tion to help a pi­lots ac­quire and main­tain the cor­rect ap­proach to an air­port or aero­drome. They con­sist of a wing bar of four sharp tran­si­tion multi-lamps.

“They are gen­er­ally lo­cated on the left side of the run­way,” Mo­jela says. “They are con­structed and ar­ranged in such a man­ner that a pi­lot mak­ing an ap­proach will see the two units near­est to the run­way as red and the two units much fur­ther from the run­way as white.”

This al­lows the pi­lot to judge the cor­rect land­ing an­gle, pre­vent­ing the air­craft from un­der­shoot­ing or over­run­ning the run­way.

“The aero­drome elec­tri­cal in­spec­tor ver­i­fies the cor­rect­ness of the an­gles on these lights. They would also in­spect the elec­tri­cal sys­tems on the air­port, by en­sur­ing that the air­port is pro­vided with ad­e­quate sec­ondary sup­ply in the event of power fail­ure.”

Ca­reer high­light

Be­fore join­ing SACAA Mo­jela worked in the en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment at Transnet.

“Af­ter com­plet­ing my N6 in record time, I ap­plied for a Transnet Prop­erty lead­er­ship pro­gramme, which opened doors for my en­gi­neer­ing ca­reer,” she says.

“I was the first black woman to qual­ify as an ar­ti­san un­der this pro­gramme. Be­cause I did so well, I was of­fered per­ma­nent em­ploy­ment by Transnet Prop­erty.”

She worked at Transnet for six years be­fore mov­ing to SACAA in 2010. It was her first job in avi­a­tion. She now can't imag­ine her­self not be­ing in the in­dus­try.

Mo­jela ini­tially worked as an aero­drome elec­tri­cal in­fra­struc­ture in­spec­tor in SACAA's Aero­dromes and Fa­cil­i­ties depart­ment. In Septem­ber 2016 she was ap­pointed man­ager of Aero­drome In­fra­struc­ture.

“This was the great­est high­light of my ca­reer so far,” she says.

Learn­ing to be a leader

Mo­jela is proud to work for SACAA, she adds, be­cause the or­gan­i­sa­tion saw her po­ten­tial and en­trusted her with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of head­ing the sec­tion.

“I still have a lot to learn in terms of be­ing a leader. I'm lucky to be a man­ager in an or­gan­i­sa­tion that prides it­self in hav­ing a ro­bust lead­er­ship-devel­op­ment pro­gramme, as well as coach­ing and men­tor­ship ini­tia­tives.”

Mo­jela thor­oughly en­joys her job. She is glad to be part of a team that en­sures South African air­ports main­tain the in­ter­na­tional stan­dards set by the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“I also en­joy trav­el­ling to dif­fer­ent coun­tries to learn about in­dus­try best prac­tices,” she says.

“Even the sky is not the limit. I will reach for higher goals, and be­come one of the great women in avi­a­tion.”

Work­ing twice as hard

Mo­jela says the avi­a­tion in­dus­try is still male-dom­i­nated. As a black fe­male man­ager she finds her­self hav­ing to work twice as hard to get her mes­sage across.

“How­ever, SACAA as an or­gan­i­sa­tion has a very strong lead­er­ship sup­port pro­gramme for their man­agers.”

She en­cour­ages young peo­ple to be in­ter­ested in a ca­reer in avi­a­tion, but warns that they must be willing to work.

“Young peo­ple should work hard and fol­low their dreams in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try. They should ap­ply for ev­ery op­por­tu­nity pre­sented to them.The SACAA web­site has lots of bur­sary op­por­tu­ni­ties ad­ver­tised on pi­lot cadet pro­grammes, avion­ics, air­craft main­te­nance en­gi­neer­ing, and more.”

Mo­jela's am­bi­tions in­clude be­com­ing one of the top fe­males in South African avi­a­tion. “For me, even the sky is not the limit. I will reach for higher goals, and be­come one of the great women in avi­a­tion.”

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