Lukanyo Mekuto CPUT's youngest PhD graduate.

CAPE TOWN – Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has hired the youngest student to be awarded a doctorate at Cape Peninsula University of Technology after learning he was jobless.

De Lille tweeted her decision after meeting 28-year-old Lukhanyo Mekuto on Wednesday‚ and her spokesman‚ Zara Nicholson‚ confirmed that the newly capped PhD graduate would advise the city on recycling grey water as part of its emergency drought interventions.

Nicholson said paperwork had yet to be finalised but Mekuto would also help with water department training programmes.

Mekuto‚ the son of a domestic worker and a gardener from Philippi‚ could not be reached for comment about his new job but he told TimesLIVE earlier that he was delighted to have received an award from the National Research Foundation for his PhD work on purifying mine waste water.

Growing up‚ Mekuto decided he would not follow the same path as his peers. “The mistake we in the township make is that we want to go with the crowd. I decided in Grade 10 that I was not going to do that any more‚” he said.

“I tell learners‚ ‘define who you are and what you want’. Once you’ve done that‚ you have to make a conscious decision to go after what it is that you want.”

Mekuto said he had decided not to let his upbringing define his future. “I have come through the NSFAS [National Student Financial Aid Scheme] system. NSFAS paid for my BTech up to my PhD‚ so in my view no funding is no excuse‚” he said.

Mekuto obtained his BTech in 2011‚ followed by a postgraduate degree‚ a Master’s completed in 18 months and now his PhD‚ which took him three years. He tutors high school pupils in mathematics and physics over weekends.


PHOTO: Lukanyo Mekuto CPUT’s youngest PhD graduate.
Image: CPUT



CAPE TOWN – The Department of Social Development has condemned the murder of an infant boy at Mitchells Plain Day Hospital after he was allegedly choked to death by his mother.After the incident the 32-year-old mother allegedly hid her son’s lifeless body under a mattress. She was arrested and charged with murder at the weekend.

In a statement the department said it would help the police in their investigation of a neonaticide (baby murdered within 28 days of life).

“As the custodians of the Children’s Act of 2005, social workers from our Mitchells Plain local office have intervened to protect the other four children the woman has.

“We condemn this brutal murder and the alleged circumstances of this incident in the strongest terms possible,” the department said.

“We continue to appeal to expectant mothers and fathers, and parents of newborn children, to approach our social workers for assistance and family planning interventions.

The mother is set to appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Cape Argus/IOL