African Fusion talks to SAIW president Morris Maroga about his career, his outlook for the welding industry in South Africa and his ideas about a different approach to skills development.
Morris Maroga completed his metallurgical engineering degree at Wits University back in 1999. “After completed my final year engineering project under Andy Koursaris, SAIW’s former president, I remember him insisting that I stay for an extra two weeks – when I was desperate to get away from all of the study. I spent those weeks converting my final year project into a paper,” Maroga recalls.
He joined Eskom directly from university and started looking at the creep life of in-service power stations. “After about a year, I was moved to Lethabo Power station near Vereeniging, where I began to get involved in systems engineering for steam boilers and high-pressure (HP) piping, branching from metallurgy into the mechanical side of engineering,” he tells African Fusion.
“I have a broken service history at Eskom, though. After four and half years, I was approached by DCD Dorbyl to become its welding and quality engineer. At that time, I was just completing my welding MEng at Wits, which included welding, NDT and fabrication courses and, soon after, I was registered by the SAIW as an International Welding Engineer (IWE),” he adds.
Morris Maroga rejoined Eskom in 2005, initially looking after inspection and testing at the Koeberg nuclear power plant. Then in 2006, when the Medupi and Kusile contracts were awarded, he returned to Megawatt Park to take on the role of lead design engineer for the new-build boilers. “The designs were finalised during 2010, after which I was given the boiler engineering manager’s post, which included oversight of all new-build and operational boiler plant,” he says.
Today, Maroga is Eskom’s corporate specialist for materials and welding – one of the most challenging technical posts in the organisation.