Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

15 September 2022

Soshanguve Automotive School of Specialisation and John Orr Engineering School of Specialisation represented the Gauteng Department of Education amongst the creations of students from universities at the SASOL Innovation Expo at Carnival City on Thursday, 8 September 2022.

John Orr Engineering SOS showcased their solar-powered car, ‘Panya-Panya’ while Soshanguve Automotive SOS showcased their solar train called Modjadji, which is named after the late Rain Queen, Makobo Modjadji, who died in June 2005.

The school has a railway line in their premises, the blue train has mirrors, wipers and carpets.

It consists of four solar panels to power it up, a motor and a 46V battery that can run the train up to a speed of 60km/h.

This follows the launch of these innovative Schools of Specialisation.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the provincial government is changing the education landscape and investing in critical skills needed in the country.

“We are here to change the education system in our province.

If we cannot prepare our learners for the skills that are needed in this economy, we would have betrayed you.

Gone are the days where our education system is deemed inferior because we are providing access to quality education through Schools of Specialisation,” said Lesufi.

The solar powered train.

Civil technology (construction) pupil Lethabo Nkadimeng, who came up with the idea to build the train in 2020, when he was in grade 10, said he was proud of the end-product as they had worked hard to put it together when time was not on their side.

“We had to carry both the co-curriculum and extra curriculum syllabus in a short time,” he said, emphasising that academically they had to perform above 90% to pass.

The structure was manufactured and done by the mechanical engineering pupils while the electrical engineering pupils did the auto electrical work, which is the lights and wipers.

The mechanical engineering pupils also had to connect the motors and all the wheels to run the train while the civil engineering pupils dealt with the wooden flooring and carpets,” said Nkadimeng.

Acting school Principal Tladi Mashiane said a lack of finances had been a problem while the students were working on the project and that it had taken them two years to complete it.

“Automotive items are very expensive so we had to compromise and go for a cheap motor in order to complete the programme in time,” he said.

He proudly said he wished more people could come and see the excellent work his learners were doing at the institution.

“The train is amazing, not to mention how it looks from the outside and inside,” he said.

“It’s really excellent, a job well done to the team. 

The train is top class and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.”

Executive Vice President in Human Resources and Stakeholder Relations at Sasol, Charlotte Mokoena said the company’s goal was to support the National Development Plan (NDP), to target and produce 20 000 artisans by 2030.

“Sasol and the Gauteng Department of Education share a clear vision about the future we want to create for our children, and we are committed to creating an enabling environment for them to realise their fullest potential.

“We promise society wherever we operate, including in our home country of South Africa, that we will be a catalyst for positive change.

The world is changing, and we need to keep abreast of the change,” said Mokoena.