News & events

Addressing contemporary and future PM professional needs

Concerned about the lack of success of project management in the public and private sectors, Professor Pantaleo Rwelamila saw fit to develop a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Project Management (PM) to be offered by Unisa’s Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL). Rwelamila, who is the project leader for the programme, is a professor of Project Management and Project Procurement Systems at the school.


Pantaleo Rwelamila (Professor of Project Management and Project Procurement Systems, and a Project Leader for the newly approved Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management: Unisa SBL)

The programme was born out of the lenses of curiosity that developed from a dynamic base gazing at the current and future of project management as a discipline. It is an NQF level 08 qualification and was among the newly developed programmes by Unisa that were accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in 2019. This particular PGD will offer modules such as Managing Project Execution and Control (PGM4811), Managing Project Procurement and Contracts (PGM4815) and Integrated Project Management Practice (PGM4817).

Answering the questions

“If you look at the public and private sectors, there is lack of understanding of what project management is about; therefore, it is not applied effectively. Probably the training of project management has many question marks. This course will cover all the information and knowledge required in project management and will not follow a particular way of thinking; it is going to encompass everything. It is suitable for anyone who has the desire to become a professional project manager irrespective of to which field of study or sector they belong,” explained Rwelamila.

Providing examples with the local authority, from the metros downward, he says most services that they have to offer to the citizens are projects. He alluded that most of them are not managed by people who have the required skills and had adequate training to properly manage projects, and, as a result, they fail. According to Rwelamila, most failed projects depict umbrella dimensions, such as projects failing to meet budget and schedule expectations (inefficient projects) and weak impact on customers and other stakeholders.

PM no longer ‘by default’

Rwelamila argues that nine out of ten project managers across sectors in South Africa and across the African continent are accidental project managers. Also, nine out of ten public and private organisations predominantly involved in projects across sectors in the country and across the African continent are project based organisations by default.

“A significant number of project management training programmes in the country and across the continent provide project management knowledge-base for project management awareness and very few for project management professional practice. It is high time that project management training programmes in South Africa and across the African continent focus on project management professional practice. The SBL’s PGD in Project Management is aimed at that,” concluded Rwelamila.

Applicants need to possess a three-year degree or a qualification equivalent to that, irrespective of the course of study. Due to the impact of Covid-19, and the commitment by Unisa to apply excellence in its approach of teaching and learning, the course will only commence in January 2022 with admissions to take place in late 2021.

*By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2020/10/14