Ditebogo Kgomo works in one of the most misunderstood and feared sectors – that of nuclear power.
It is often hard to think of nuclear power and not recall the Fukushima or Chernobyl disasters,
yet 35-year-old Kgomo has found a home in the nuclear industry as the senior manager for compliance,
assurance and enforcement division at the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR).
The petite go-getter, who has two Masters degrees, heads a team of inspectors and administrators at the regulator.
The NNR is directly accountable to Parliament, through the Minister of Energy, on nuclear
and radiation safety issues and it reports to the Department of Energy, on administration matters Ditebogo Kgomo powers her way.
One can’t help but wonder why she choose to be in a complicated and what is often seen as an intimidating sector.
“It can be an intimidating fi eld. It is male-dominated but you fi nd that generally people are giving. Most people do want to share the knowledge that they have [with you].
It depends on you as a young person to actually want to receive that knowledge,” she explains.
Kgomo has firmly established herself in the South African nuclear industry, having worked her way up the ranks.
She made the most of the opportunities available to her when she finished high school, even when they required leaving her comfort zone. Her path up the career ladder was not an easy one.
Kgomo failed maths in matric because the maths teacher, who was also the school principal, seldom had the time to teach the class. This did not bode well for someone keen to study medicine.
“I couldn’t get into Medical University of SA and then I decided to go the University of the North,” she recalls.
Ditebogo Kgomo powers her way University staff referred her to the bridging programme to improve her maths marks.
With hard work, she passed maths and in 1997 registered for a Bachelor of Science (BSC) degree at the University of the North.
In her first year, Kgomo applied and secured a bursary from the then Atomic Energy Corporation (AEC), which later became the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa).
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