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The Water Nanotechnology Unit within the DST/Mintek NIC is comprised of the research node based at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the development centre at Mintek. The focus areas of the Unit  are  to  develop  water  treatment technologies  that will remove or  destroy pollutants  (organic compounds,  microbes,  heavy metals  and salts)  from  impacted  water. The  Unit  thus continues to undertake   research  and   development  in   novel  polymeric   membrane  materials   and  adsorbent composites for water treatment and wastewater remediation. 


The NIC Water Development Group, based at Mintek, is headed by Dr. Keneiloe Sikhwivhilu. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand with specialisation in Catalysis and Nanotechnology, part of which was conducted at the University of Kentucky, USA. She also acquired post-doctoral training in polymeric water filtration membrane development from the University of California, Los Angeles, USA. Her Unit comprising of both post-doctoral and pre-doctoral scientists and engineers; carries out R&D pro-jects on nano-enabled filtration membranes and nanomaterials for water treat-ment and reuse. 

She is also the National Principal Investigator for the India-Brazil-South Africa Trilateral Initiative’s (IBSA) Nanotechnology Water Platform, where she is a leader and coordinator of collaborative projects between the three member countries within the platform. She also serves on the executive committees of the South African Nanotechnology Initiative (SANI) and the South African Solar Energy Association (SASEA).

Dr. Phillemon Matabola

Dr Matabola current and future research is directed towards polymer and material science research, with the focus on the R&D of polymer and nanotechnology based materials for water treatment applications. He is involved in the synthesis, characterisation and assessment of polymer membrane sheets and capillary ultra-filtration membranes and interested in exploring the potential of electrospun nanofibers for water purification.

Mr. Mokae Bambo

Mr Bambo focuses on various microscopy and micro-analysis techniques, membrane technologies, and the modification of polymeric membranes for water and wastewater treatment. He also develops polymer-based nanocomposites, clays and organoclay-hybrid materials for their application in water treatment.

Ms. Lufuno Nemadodzi 

Ms. Nemadodzi is involved in the development of new adsorbents for the removal of heavy metals and organic pollutants in water. Her work entails synthesis, characterization and assessment of the adsorbents, she is also involved in the scale up and pilot assessment of the adsorbents both in simulated and operational environments.

Contracted Employees and Students

Dr. Sinethemba Nongauza

Dr Nongauza is a Post-Doctoral Fellow. His current research focuses on the development of new membrane formulations, and also in piloting projects for water reuse. In the latter, he develops pre-treatment protocols for various feed waters and conducts membrane post-mortem investigations.

Mr. Bongani Mlasi

Mr Mlasi is an Engineering intern in the Water Nanotechnology Unit. His work entails pilot plant designing/engineering and scaling up of in-house developed membranes and water treatment systems. He works with scientists within the Unit to develop, enhance and test the membranes / nano-systems in simulated and operational environments.

Ms. Masaku Kgatle 

Ms Kgatle is a PhD student and her current research involves the synthesis and characterization of new nano-patterned polymeric membrane formulations for fabrication of membranes with tailorable performance and energy efficiency. She is also involved in the assessment of membraned on various types of feed water.


The water NIC research node is situated at the University of Johannes-burg (Doornfontein Campus) and headed by Dr. Richard Moutloali.  There are various students registered at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), comprising PhD and MSc registered students. They focus on a variety of projects, including New Membrane Formulations, Absorbent Composites, the use of Electrochemical Methods for water treatment and the Characterisation of Real Water Samples.