National Research Foundation: Fitter and Turner

Job Description:

The National Research Foundation (NRF) supports and promotes research and human capital development through funding, the provision of National Research Facilities and science outreach platforms and programmes to the broader community in all fields of science and technology, including natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities.

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) spearheads South Africa·s activities in the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope, commonly known as the SKA, in engineering, science and construction. SARAO is a National Facility managed by the National Research Foundation and incorporates radio astronomy and geodesy instruments and programmes such as the MeerKAT telescope in the Karoo, the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) in Gauteng, the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry (AVN) programme in nine African countries as well as the associated human capital development and commercialisation endeavours.

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SARAO has a vacancy in the Engineering department for Fitter and Turner position to join our team based at Hartebeesthoek, Gauteng. The main purpose of the job is to assist with the antenna maintenance, upgrades and manufacturing of custom parts used on the radio telescopes to ensure the radio telescopes are able to operate 24/7 by providing the technical support for the scientific productivity of the
observatory. This will include but not limited to following and updating maintenance procedures, responding to emergency call outs, servicing of cryogenic and vacuum systems, developing and manufacturing mechanical system used at the observatory.

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Contract type: Long Term Contract
Job Level: Junior
Work Location: Krugersdorp, Gauteng

Key Responsibilities:

  • Practical knowledge and experience of mechanical engineering manufacturing, installation, testing and maintenance of mechanical systems.
  • Assume responsibility pertaining to adherence to manufacturing, installation, test and maintenance procedures and improvement of these procedures for practical execution.
  • Provide specific practical support relating to mechanical manufacturing, installation testing, maintenance and upgrades on the antennas and other scientific instruments.
  • Carry out maintenance on the antennas at the Hartebeesthoek site.
  • Assist with manufacturing of components to specification and within tolerance based on drawings provided.
  • Assist with maintenance planning schedules for the antennas at the Hartebeesthoek site.
  • Inventory and procurement of spare parts.
    Key Requirements:
  • Trade Test – Fitter and Turner
  • Truck driver·s license (Code EC old code 14 with PDP cat G)
  • 2 years work experience after a trade test in a relevant technical field
  • Computer literacy
  • Reasonable writing and communication skills
  • Maintenance of mechanical systems.
  • In service troubleshooting and resolution
  • Common and specialised machinery: lathes, milling machines,
  • Welding equipment, spray painting equipment, bending, drilling and cutting machines.
  • Drawing interpretation/draughting
  • In depth knowledge of mechanical systems, vacuum systems, helium/cryogenic systems.
  • Truck mounted crane operation (Truck mounted crane Code C32)
  • Working at heights
  • Government procurement processes
  • Mechanical manufacturing and fabrication processes
  • Maintenance schedules
  • Site safety
  • Imperial and metric system for tools and fasteners
  • Inventory/stock take
  • Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 85 of 1993
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Additional Notes:
Completed Fitter and Turner Trade Test its a key requirement
The website provides more details on the NRF initiatives and activities.

How To Apply:

Applicants should submit a comprehensive CV by logging to and apply online. Applications should be accompanied by a letter of motivation indicating the applicant·s suitability for the position. The names and contact details of at least three referees should be provided.
Closing Date: 20 April 2022
The NRF offers a challenging career and competitive remuneration package which is commensurate with qualifications and experience.
The NRF is committed to employment equity and redress and the appointment to the position will be made in line with the NRF Employment Equity Plan.
The NRF reserves the right not to make an appointment.
Correspondence will be sent to short-listed candidates only

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