The SANReN Team

Meet the SANReN Team…

Ajay Makan: Ajay is Head of Operations at SANReN since 1 April 2014. He is primarily responsible for effectiveness and efficiency improvements of the business operations, financial management and programme management of strategic projects at SANReN. He provides strategic, tactical and operational support to the SANReN director and the SANReN team. Previous to joining the SANReN  team, he was a senior project manager with the CSIR Meraka Institute. He has 18 years project management experience; managing multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder, multi-year and multi-country projects which have focused primarily in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for development (ICT4D) domain. He has managed projects across the value chain from research to development; first proto-typing to production and manufacturing; to large-scale roll-out and implementation including operational set-up.

Zuki Makalima: Zuki started his career at CSIR Meraka Institute in 2009 and heads up the Project and Procurement Management team. He has several qualifications: a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physical Science and Applied Mathematics from the University of Fort Hare (UFH), a Bachelor of Science in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and A Bachelor of Science in Information Systems (Hons) in software Engineering from the University of South Africa (UNISA). His career started in 1994 and he has had the privilege of working for well recognised companies in South Africa and in the United States of America (Transtel, Telkom, Intelsat(USA), Multichoice and the then Department of Communications in South Africa). Zuki is an example of a man with a hunger for knowledge, especially in the field of Telecommunications and Information and Technology (IT). His dreams are to make a significant contribution in the telecommunications industry and obtain a PhD one day. He is a man with a vision and lives by a quote from Oprah Winfrey: “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life because you become what you believe”.  His role is building telecommunications infrastructures based on fibre technology for the South African Research and Education community.

Nqabomzi Mashologu: Nqabomzi is the Group assistant at SANReN. Her main role is to give administrative support to the SANReN director and the SANReN team. She is currently pursuing her studies and empowering herself with short courses that will help her grow in her role. She loves challenging herself.

Thokozani Khwela: Thokozani is currently a senior project manager at SANReN responsible for the rollout of the SANReN network and services projects. He has extensive experience in both the public and private sector as a project manager. His other activities are in support of infrastructure procurement. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) Electronics degree, an MBA degree and an MSc. in Strategic Focus degree.

Dr Renier van Heerden: Dr Renier van Heerden is a senior researcher at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa in the field of Cyber Security and currently Services Development and Incubation manager (acting) at SANReN.  The following domains are his interest: password security, network attack and network ontologies. Prior to joining the CSIR he worked as a software engineer in advanced optics applications for South African based Denel Optronics and as a Lecturer at the University of Pretoria. Renier obtained a degree in Electronic Engineering, a Masters in Computer Engineering at the University of Pretoria and PhD at Rhodes University. Renier also obtained protea colours in  Mindsport, Wargaming and was the national champion 2010 and 2011 for the Ancients discipline. Currently he is an active participant in the Flames of War wargaming community.

Kasandra Pillay: Kasandra is co-ordinating the Performance Enhancement and Response Team (PERT) initiative at SANReN which is currently focusing on the SANReN Data Transfer Pilot Service, helping South African researchers to move their datasets, between sites, faster. She was appointed to the SANReN Engineering team in March 2014 after working as a project engineer in the control engineering department at Sasol, Secunda. Her qualifications include MEng and BEng Hons (Technology Management), University of Pretoria, and BSc Engineering (Electronics), University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is also registered as a Professional Engineer (Pr. Eng.) with the Engineering Council of South Africa. Her interest area is Services Management in National Research and Education Networks.

Ntuthuko Sambo: Ntuthkos’s career started off in an Intership programme at the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), formerly the Department of Science and Technology,  in 2006. He then joined the CSIR as an Intern in 2007, and was made permanent in 2008. He is currently an engineer at SANReN, primarily responsible for equipment planning and site rollouts, a liaison between the SANReN and Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET) technical teams and involved in other activities in support of the SANReN network. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN). Previously, he worked within the CSIR Meraka Institute’s Wireless Africa programme where he was involved in wireless mesh networking development using open source packages such as Open-WRT and DD-WRT.

John Hay: John is a Networking expert and well known authority on Internet Protocols. He has experience with all kinds of networking services, routing, firewalls, wireless networks, Network Time Protocol (NTP), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and network diagnostics and troubleshooting. He is passionate about monitoring networks; in fact, he is passionate about anything that can be monitored! John is a FreeBSD developer and has commit privileges and is authorised to do work on the FreeBSD source tree. He is also responsible for the South African domain for FreeBSD. He is also passionate about time and maintains the public stratum 1 ntp servers for South Africa ( and His interests extend to energy efficiency, monitoring of electricity usage, electronics, and embedded processors for control and monitoring. His daily work commute is done in a green Puma electric car. John’s enthusiasm for technology and inspiring kids in science and technology has spilled over into his spare time. He is involved with the FIRST programs since 2007, i.e. First Lego League (FLL) and First Tech Challenge (FTC). He has coached teams and been a referee. Mostly recently, he has been Head referee at the FIRST Open African championship 2015. His commitment is such that he has converted the lounge at his home into a FTC field! In his spare time he enjoys camping, travelling, 4x4ing and wildlife with family and friends.

Johann Hugo: Johann is a Networking specialist. He has experience with all kinds of networking services, routing, firewalls, Voip, IPv6 networking, FreeBSD unix systems, radius servers, outdoor wireless mesh networks, telecommunication networks, embedded hardware etc. He was involved with the roll-out of the first SANReN links and since 2010 he is responsible for maintaining the National Eduroam servers ( He has helped several South African Universities to connect to Eduroam and assists them with debugging on a regular basis. In his spare time he maintains a community wireless mesh network, plays with electronics and embedded processors, helps with the Voortrekkers, does some woodworking, adventures off to remote locations in the bush with his family and friends in his Land Rover Defender and the rest of the time he likes spending at home with is wife and four kids.

Mlungisi Majola: Mlungisi joined SANReN in September 2015 as a senior project manager and is responsible for the rollout of the SANReN network and services projects. He has extensive experience in the telecommunication sector as a project manager and his experience includes exposure to energy, transportation and the defence industries. His passion is to contribute significantly in building Broadband infrastructure that supports the creation of a knowledge-based economy using the best project management tools and techniques available. He is PMP certified by PMI and holds an MBA degree, B-Tech degree and diploma in electrical engineering.

Schalk Peach: Schalk Peach joined SANReN on 1 November 2016. He is a researcher with the SANReN CSIRT team specialising in cyber ranges, computer network experiments, and network device testing. He is currently studying towards his Master’s degree in Computer Science, focusing on network emulation using Linux container technologies.

Thuso Bogopa: Thuso joined SANReN in November 2018 as a Systems Administrator. He holds a BSc Information Technology from the PC Training & Business College. He started his career through a graduate programme as a Linux Administrator trainee at the Cape Innovation and Technology Institute (CiTi) where his passion for Open-source technologies arose. After the completion of the graduate programme he worked as a front end developer at a media company in Cape Town. Prior to joining SANReN, he worked for a Sandton based software company as a Systems Administrator. Some of his professional certifications include the RedHat Systems Administrator (RHCSA), SuSe Certified Administrator (SCA) and ITIL v3 Foundation certificate. He draws inspiration from solving complex technological problems and discovering new things that potentially enhance productivity aligned to his role.

Sulayman Maajied Moos: Maajied joined SANReN in December 2018 as a Network Engineer. He holds a BSc Mechatronic Engineering degree which he obtained from the University of Cape Town in 2014. He started his career at a start-up called KlazRobotics where he worked on PCB design and embedded programming. Following this, he moved to MTN as a systems engineer where he was introduced to the ICT and enterprise environments. Maajied enjoys working with people from various sectors and technical backgrounds in order to accomplish a unified goal.

Glen Ngoepe: Glen joined SANReN in December 2018 as a Network Engineer. He holds a BSc Computer Science degree obtained from the University of Limpopo in 2014, where he worked as a computer lab assistant for two academic years at the university’s General computer labs. He began his career at SITA as an intern in the Network Operations Centre (NOC) in 2015, and this is where his passion for networks started. He then studied further to obtain a CCNA certificate which enabled him to have a broader understanding of various network protocols and technologies. In November 2016, he joined Vodacom as a Service Assurance Engineer in the Client Operations Service Centre (CSOC) for Vodacom Business service managed clients. He was exposed to many network technologies and was also part of a team with more experienced network engineers. This motivated him to complete his CCNP certificate. Glen is passionate about learning new things, and he likes to always keep up-to date with the latest technologies.

Siyabonga Peter: Siya joined SANReN in January 2021 as a Network Engineer. He holds a National Diploma Electrical Engineering from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and a Bachelor of Technology in Telecommunication from the Durban University of Technology. He started his career at Telkom SA as technician, later moving to MTN SA as a transmission engineer. A few years later he joined Huawei Technologies SA as a Microwave Quality Assurance Supervisor. He was later appointed as a Regional Transmission Operations and Optimization Engineer. Siya enjoys new challenges and working with people. He is passionate about new developments in technology and innovation.