Engineering’s Dean, Prof Wikus van Niekerk, receives exceptional honour

The Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Stellenbosch University, Prof Wikus van Niekerk, received the distinguished honour to be elected an Honorary Fellow of the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineers (SAIMechE). SAIMechE is the senior body representing the discipline of mechanical engineering in South Africa and was established in 1892.

The President of the SAIMechE, Prof Debby Blaine, says: “Last night, 4 August 2020, SAIMechE held its first virtual, 129th National AGM. As President, I had the pleasure of announcing the election of our Dean, Prof Wikus van Niekerk, as an Honorary Fellow of the Institution. The grade of Honorary Fellow of SAIMechE is granted to ‘a person intimately connected with mechanical engineering science or practice whom SAIMechE specially desires to honour for exceptionally important services rendered to the Institution or to mechanical engineering’. An Honorary Fellow must be nominated by two Fellows of SAIMechE and then receive a unanimous vote by the National Council in order to be elected. Council may only elect two Honorary Fellows in a year. This year, 2020, it was SAIMechE’s privilege to elect Prof Bob Tait formerly at UCT and our own Prof Wikus van Niekerk as Honorary Fellows.”

She continues: “Prof Van Niekerk has been a long-time member of SAIMechE and served as National President for the 2016-2018 term. He continued as National Treasurer for the 2018-2020 term. His contribution to engineering, and specifically mechanical engineering in South Africa, is undisputed. He has contributed significantly to the fields of noise and vibration as well as renewable and sustainable energy, he held the SASOL Chair for Vehicle Engineering at the University of Pretoria, was the founding Director of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University, and has been a leading advocate for renewable and sustainable energy in our country and globally. He has always been a strong supporter of young engineers and their career development, especially encouraging minority groups in mechanical engineering to participate in leadership positions.

“It was with great honour that Past President and Honorary Fellow Stefan de Nagy Koves Hrabar proposed his nomination, which I seconded. We are delighted that Prof van Niekerk’s hard work and dedication to excellence and equity has been recognised by this honour. Wikus has once again made us proud.”

Regarding his Honorary Fellowship, Prof Van Niekerk notes: “It is an honour to accept this award from the Institution. I am convinced that the SAIMechE will prosper in the years to come with a group of young and dynamic leaders taking over the reins.”


Prof Wikus van Niekerk.