ENGINEER of the month: Lwazi Mlomo

Born to a South African and a Namibian mother and father in the year that Namibia attained its independence, Lwazi Mlomo is a perceptive civil engineer specialising in Project Management, and is one of the young crop of the country’s skilled labour force that has the development of the country at heart.

As a team player of D & P Engineers and Environmental Consultants, Mlomo has set out to fully exploit his skills in Structural Engineering and Project Management to grow the company, empower many capable Namibians and realise the benefit of all in construction. Mlomo says that the economic development of Namibia can be effectively stimulated by building the technical capacity of the workforce, through quality engineering education programs such as the one he studied at the then Polytech of Namibia.

“A competent technical workforce base can provide several paths to economic development such as the attraction of technically oriented multi-national companies, who can invest effectively in developing Namibia once there is a cadre of qualified local employees available. Furthermore, the effective utilization of foreign aid funds and providing a legacy of appropriate infrastructure projects and technically competent people to operate and maintain them as well as empowering small business start-ups by technically competent entrepreneurs such as D and P Engineering. Namibia will go forward if engineers take part in the development processes such as the ones I have set out to follow,” he says.

Mlomo’s engineering history started at Windhoek Consulting Engineering and is at D&P Engineers so far.

He specialises in structural engineering which is a sub-division of civil engineering in which he was trained to understand, predict, and calculate the stability, strength and rigidity of built structures for buildings and non-building structures, to develop designs and integrate their design with that of other designers, and to supervise construction of projects on site.

Mlomo has always had a fascination with how things come to be especially programs like the Mega Structures on National Geographic and from the challenges that he witnessed it was clear that these were the same he was also interested in overcoming.

“The main thing I strive to do whenever I am implementing a project is to have every stakeholder benefit from all jobs that we do.

Think about a building. You have the structure, the plumbing, the electrics, the aesthetics, the interior design so there is no way one person could take care of this on their own. As a result I work as part of a design team with all the different people involved in designing a building, including architects, mechanical engineers and electrical engineers. This way I can make sure that my structure doesn’t ruin the layout of a room or get in the way of pipes, avoiding problems during construction.

It is also a great way to haul in benefits of all players in the line industry such as architects and quantity surveyors. As a Namibian, I put first the benefits of the country and its people at the forefront in all my engineering projects and always encourage the participation of local engineers and technicians in major developmental projects over foreign ones because we have interests that surpass personal ones,” he says.

Having spent a sizable portion of his formative years in South Africa, Mlomo witnessed the rise of sophisticated structures in that country, so when he moved to Walvis Bay, an interest in developing infrastructure in Namibia was sparked.

“As an engineer my role in national development refers to the application of the knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice in the provision of social amenities like good education, infrastructure, medical care and social services. Through what I witnessed as a young child in South Africa, I am still motivated to contribute to our country’s development by exploiting all of my knowledge. It is a feasible dream to see areas like Maltahohe and Kongola having state-of-the-art facilities and offering a good standard of living.”

The great amount of satisfaction in looking at a final product and knowing that you designed it from the foundation up until the end is one of the reasons why Mlomo excels in his field.

Also, project management side of his work so far has also shaped him into a more capable team player and D&P because he has been part of the processes from lobbying for a project, doing its feasibility studies, designing it all through to its construction process.

“Besides implementing the mandated main functions of a structural engineer, my personal goals are to improve Namibia’s infrastructure. The nature of my job entails so much travel that I have been to many parts of Namibia and have identified the need to develop small towns and areas out of the capital city. Because of the centralisation of goods and services in our country, the situation is that most people are flocking to Windhoek in the hopes of finding employment.

The end result is very small productive populations in smaller towns and many unemployed people roaming the streets of Windhoek. This breeds many societal problems that add to the already existing problems that government is facing.

As a structural engineer, I am here to bring development to other less-to-do places than Windhoek to ease congestion in Windhoek. That way, more people can opt to stay in these places because of the opportunities and quality of living that can be offered there,” he says.

His very devoted stance on the development of the country however is with challenges as Mlomo moans the obstacle of working in harmony with ‘old-school’ engineers who are alien to the tech savvy techniques of current year engineering.

The most challenging project that he says worked on to date was in 2012 to 2013 when he worked on renovations on Maerua Mall.

“There were four different locations of renovations being carried out in the mall at the same time and I had to supervise all of them. All four different areas where at different levels of renovations and I was accountable for all the efficiency of structural engineering involved. There I learn the virtues of attention to detail, concentration and multitasking in structural engineering. However, for every challenge there is always a solution and I always find a way around them. The aim is to do well in all that you do and get the results of your finished project attest to your expertise,” says Mlomo.

Notable Projects with D&P Engineers and Environmental Consultants

  • Namwater Hot Dipped Galvanized Reservoirs
  • Oranjemund Business Park
  • Oranjemund Health Facility
  • Ministry of Finance-Upgrades of the existing Fiscas building.
  • Vaalgras Primary School
  • Rundu Regional Training Health Centre
  • Khaan-Lithpos 1
  • Osona TRFR
  • Doring SS Commissioning
  • Maltahohe Village Council offices
  • Noordoewer Sewer Treatment Plant
  • Grootfontein Municipality Civil Services
  • Gobabis District Forestry Offices
  • Olushanda Irrigation Scheme
  • Stampriet Civil Infrastructure
  • Otavi Civil Infrastructure
  • Katima Mulilo Infrastructure

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