Funeka Nyaqela-Mathe’s work enables her to contribute to improving the lives of communities by planning and implementing better transport systems.
Alumna Funeka Nyaqela-Mathe stayed off-campus during her first year, and then moved to the Lost City residence.
She cherishes lots of fond memories from her student days. “We participated in everything. I remember a trip to Johannesburg for athletics. Although we did not qualify at that event, we thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Gauteng and staying in a hotel for free.”
Take what you get and grow into it,says transport expert
Walking into the modest but tastefully furnished offices of Funeka Nyaqela-Mathe in Mahikeng’s Golfview suburb, one can’t help but notice the passion she displays for transport planning, project management and civil engineering.
Before giving her undivided attention to the interview with the NWU & U, she has a quick phone conversation about an upcoming project that she is clearly excited about.
It’s been a full 10 years since she started working for Aganang Consulting Engineers and she says it feels just like yesterday that she graduated with a BCom Logistics Management degree from the NWU’s campus in Mahikeng.
The right decision pays off
Like many other students who’ve been through the system, this degree was not her first choice. Given her humble background from Witpan village in the Ngaka Modiri District, Funeka opted to study logistics because a bursary was available for this qualification. As things turned out, studying in this field was an excellent decision as it opened doors to a vibrant career with Aganang.
The company works on transportation, engineering, construction management and information systems projects for local, provincial and national government, conducts research on transport in communities and advises clients on how to use the findings to implement projects.
Get to know the lay of the land
Funeka strongly advises students not to be too quick to aim for the top, but to learn as much as possible along the way. Today she is an executive director with 20% shareholding in the company, as well as its marketing head. She also manages the Mafikeng, Rustenburg, Klerksdorp and Lejweleputswa branches, which have several offices in the Free State, Northern and Western Cape and Limpopo.
Funeka has been instrumental in formulating integrated public transport development plans for rail, bus and taxi transport, and has worked on key projects such as a safety audit for the North West Department of Roads and Public Works.
Another exciting project is the Rural Road Asset Management System at three of the province’s district municipalities, the aim being to assess the road network of the Bojanala, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Ngaka Modiri Molema districts.
The company employs 150 employees across the country, has employed 15 civil engineering interns from the North West Province and created at least 200 temporary jobs for people in the local municipalities where it operates.
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Meet Funeka’s family
Funeka is married to Terrance Mathe, a qualified chartered accountant who is also an alumnus of the campus in Mahikeng. The couple has a son, Maisa, who is nine years old, and a daughter, Mmalerato, who is six.