Ntshumaelo shares his love for engineering

Lekwa Consulting Engineers (LCE) is one of the well-known engineering companies in the country. The firm was established in 2002 by Kibiti Ntshumaelo and Gert Smit.

The company was initially based in Standerton in Mpumalanga before the founders decided to relocate its operations to Alberton in Gauteng and Ermelo in Mpumalanga, respectively.

Ntshumaelo, the brains behind the company, was born in Bethlehem in Free State 50 years ago and his passion for engineering started to burn when he was attending Mampoi high school where he excelled in mathematics and science.

Seeing that he was destined for success, Ntshumaelo decided to study towards a bachelor of architectural studies at Wits University, but after failing twice in the first year, he switched to civil engineering, which he completed in 1997.

With the quest to succeed, he started working for engineering consulting firm Knight Piesold in Rivonia, in Johannesburg, and this is where he learnt the tools of the trade.

Through his passion to study further and equip himself with knowledge and skills, Ntshumaelo went on to study towards a postgraduate diploma in civil engineering in 2002, and also completed a management advancement programme in 2004. He recently undertook a certificate in introduction to property development and practice at Wits Plus.

Speaking about the formation of LCE, Ntshumaelo said he was a non-executive when he partnered with Smit, as at that time he was working in the public sector.

“I joined the business as its managing director in 2006, with the opening of our Gauteng office in Alberton. I first started working in 1998 at Knight Piesold as a graduate engineer and then moved to Transnet Freight Rail specialist business unit, CoalLink as an engineer in 1999. I was then promoted to be depot engineer, where I worked until I was a senior infrastructure manager, and I left in 2002 to start LCE,” said Ntshumaelo.

“Having to take a risk of starting a company with Gert was not an easy decision to make, but based on our wealth of experience and passion, we gave it a try. Having to take on well-established companies was a huge mountain to climb. We had to believe in ourselves to get into the business and winning was our ambition.”

With his experience of over two decades, Ntshumaelo said his role and responsibility is to provide and drive business development, and also to ensure that operations of the business run efficiently and in line with required quality standards. “It is our key output that we carry out our work with public safety in mind. I provide strategic direction to the business and ensure high-level stakeholder management and also to uphold participation in the sector through our professional associations.

“Over the years we have undertaken a number of key and high-impact projects for our communities,” he said.

“LCE has 10 employees, and we intend to create more employment when the business expands. We want to give graduates a helping hand as a steppingstone towards their dreams,” he said.

“I am excited to see young blacks and particularly females making serious inroads in the sector, which is predominantly white male dominated.”

LCE’s works range from bulk water supply, water and sanitation reticulations, roads and stormwater networks, township developments, among others.

There are some projects that stand out for him.

“It is difficult to choose one project over the others, but our involvement in one of the presidential flagship projects in Mamelodi stands out the most. The project received a bronze award from the Gauteng Premier Awards in 2017. The project involved establishment and building of a new township east of Mamelodi comprising 1 800 housing units together with water surfaced roads and stormwater system,” he concluded.

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