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Women in Energy Feature – Refilwe Mokgosi, Chief Area Engineer for Springs and Nigel Energy Department at Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality

Bio 

My name is Refilwe Mokgosi, I am an electrical engineer registered as professional technologist. Employed as Chief Area Engineer responsible for Springs and Nigel Energy Department at Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. Previously appointed as Executive Director: Public Works in Emfuleni Local Municipality. I am responsible for Electricity Department, Roads AND Stormwater Department and Environmental Management and Planning Department.

I have been in the engineering industry for 21 years. I have been in held several positions with the electricity and energy industry in different municipalities (City of Tshwane, City Power, City of Ekurhuleni) and Eskom (Generation and Distribution).

I hold several qualifications, some being, B-Tech in Electrical Engineering Heavy Current, Government Certificate of Competency (GCC), Masters in Business Leadership (MBL) and Executive Development Management Program

I am ambitious, fearless, self-driven and I multi-tasking. I am immediate past President of Association of Municipal Electricity Utility (AMEU) President and Women in Electricity former Chairperson and Sponsor. I serve at the GCC commission of examiners at the Department of Labour, in several committees including ECSA IDoEW.

Socially I am wife and mother of two boys passionate about sports. I am Runner, Cyclist and aspiring swimmer. Completed 10 comrades’ marathons and 9 Two Oceans. Participated in several cycling events such as 94.7, Cape Argus, one day 3 stage Jock classic, Maluti Double 90, Double Century race and I’m recently aspired triathlon.

 

Questions

In your opinion, why do you think the energy sector in its current state has less female representation and do you see it increasing?

“The engineering profession and Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) registration database still reflects a higher number of male engineering practitioners compared to the female counterparts. While strides are being made to bridge the gap and ensure transformation of the profession, it is acknowledged that more still needs to be done.” The sector still has a significant imbalance between male and female employees. The sector largely been male-oriented in previous years which a concerted efforts to encourage more females to join different roles and we have seen greater improvement though there is still much to be done to level the playing field. If you compare 10 years ago to date, there is significant improving. This will not be an overnight change, but it will take few more years to have balanced sector.

 

What message do you have for other women entering a male-dominated sector?

My message to women entering this sector or planning to enter the industry is don’t allow any of your colleagues makes you feel you don’t belong here, do you best to master space. Like any other person when you are joining any company spent a lot of time learning the business, knowledge is important, do the tidy work “site visiting, ask as many questions as you could to understand your roles in the business, go extra mile for your sake. Networking is very important there are so much pool of experienced women you can tap into their knowledge. Look for them and make it your priority number one to engage and learn from them. We have groups such as AMEU “women in electricity” etc. they can join to acquire more skill and knowledge.

 

How did you end up in the energy sector and what advice would you give to other women wanting to follow a similar career trajectory?

Two of my brothers are in similar engineering sector one in mining and the other in telecommuting. They both inspired me so much growing up and all I knew that time was I want to be an engineer. Hence my choice of subject at high school level. A good mentorship is needed to assist in building a good care foundation.

 

What message do you have for other women entering a male-dominated sector?

I still say when women participate fully in an economy, they form resilient businesses and enable achievement of economic and development goals. The benefits of investing in women expand beyond their immediate families, to their communities and countries, too. Stand your grounds in what you believe and go out there and shine, I believe in you and all you need to do is to believe in yourself.

 

What opportunities do you see in Africa’s energy market?

The sector is expanding and it’s for us to crab the opportunity to play more in the renewable energy or alternative energy space. There are so many programmes that are available and waiting for us to participate. Read a lot especial the engineering magazines and newsletters. Join webinars and conference to expand your knowledge and grab opportunities.

 

What role do women play in the decision-making authorities regulating energy transition issues in your organisation?

Mostly women play a leadership role and provide direction. It is natural for women to produce solutions in a complex environment. Be part of committees that deals with industry policies, volunteer your time, and forget about the rest, and all will fall into places. As women you need to be self-driven and if you don’t have that character, you better build it because no one is going to come push you, you must push yourself to the limits.

 

Get in contact with us

If you know of any amazing women in energy who should be part of this campaign please reach out to us by sending an email to [email protected].

 

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