Managing our facilities goes beyond bricks and mortar

New chief director for facilities Thabani Mhlongo has an MSc degree in engineering management from the University of Pretoria, as well as a master’s degree in business management and another one in public administration, both from Stellenbosch University.

With over 24 years of experience within the buiding environment, Thabani Mhlongo brings operational and strategic approaches to his new position as the chief director of facilities at the NWU.


The Facilities Department is responsible for a variety of facilities management and related services at all campuses of the NWU. Thabani’s role is to provide leadership in directing and enhancing infrastructure and facilities management, construction and space optimisation, as well as occupational safety.


Why space optimisation?


Space optimisation across the campuses is critical in view of the growing demand for space. At the same time, the provision and management of facilities puts enormous pressure on the university fiscus, necessitating a new approach to managing costs while accommodating space requirements.


Thabani says he plans to critically evaluate the university’s infrastructure master plan in line with its spatial plan, and to see how the NWU’s vision and needs can be serviced. “I also want to identify the new requirements and current infrastructure gaps to see how these can be better addressed in line with the university’s strategy,” he says.


His appointment took effect on 2 September.


The man behind the title


Hailing from Vryheid, a coal-mining and cattle ranching town in KwaZulu-Natal, Thabani has held positions at various organisations across the country. Before his appointment at the NWU, he was the senior manager for technical services at the South African Weather Service.


He describes himself as strategic, methodical and very process driven. He is a marathon enthusiast and ran his 10th Comrades Marathon this year.


The NWU looks forward to reaping the benefits of hard work, determination and strategy that Thabani has brought with his new position.