The unsung heroes during the storm

Knee-high water damaged the CPUs in the Faculty of Natural Sciences labs

It is Tuesday morning 10 October 2017, just before 10am at MUT. The rain is pouring and the wind is blowing at an unprecedented speed. The world seems to have come to a standstill for MUT. No one dares to go outside. An alarmed Prof Nokwethemba Ndlazi rushes to MarComms: “Please can we tell staff not to leave until it is safe to do so?” she pleads. That is done within seconds via SMS.  As soon as the storm is over, all hell breaks loose at Umlazi. Surrounding schools are out; little children are let out of school. ‘Go home and be safe’, must have been the instruction from schools. Teachers from across Umlazi are in their cars, MUT staff are in their cars. There is utter chaos on the roads as everyone wants to get into and out of Umlazi as soon as possible. At MUT, it is even more difficult to exit through the gate. Traffic congestion is unbearable on Mangosuthu Highway. Every driver has thrown etiquette out of the window. The down pour continues. At the rate it is raining and the traffic is moving, staff will not get out of campus. Big-ups to Sandile Security! In the absence of traffic cops, the team is deployed by Mr Sizwe Nkabinde, Head of Protection Services.  Accidents are avoided, children and pedestrians could cross the road safely in what has become utter disregard of the law by selfish motorists. Now MUT staff can squeeze into their different directions with ease.

Under such circumstances, MUT students who reside in town are still waiting for the busses – seven hours later. The gridlock around the city does not allow public transport in and out of Umlazi. The students are hungry, tired and cold. It’s 7pm now. Prof Ndlazi is with the students, assuring them buses will be coming. It is still 11pm, the Operations Department is still working. The drivers, under the stewardship of Mr Shandu are ferrying students to external residences, supplementing the buses from the
service provider.  Food is organised on the spot. Xolani Mkhonde from Maintanance, driving the University van, helps locate a shop that is still trading – since the Kwa- Mnyandu Mall had closed earlier in the day and the Mega City is inaccessible.  “This young gentleman showed great commitment to the course of the University”, says Prof Ndlazi.

The new SRC rises to the occasion. They are keeping the student body calm amidst the extremely dire conditions.  “Ultimately we managed to get students seated in very wet lecture rooms in the FNS Campus.  This ensured that students are not in the rain and are also not exposed to danger from the storm”, says Prof Ndlazi.

The next day, staff and students arrive to a ghost campus. Even big trees that dominated MUT landscape for years have been toppled. MUT has been transformed! Team Operations starts. It is a tall order indeed, but when ‘Two-Minutes’ is there, consider the job done. He does it with vigour and all smiles, and say, “We will be done soon”.  Somewhere at Student Affairs, Thembi Kweyama, Acting Dean of Students, is motivating for students to get a prepared meal. It is not much, but a much needed relief to students who have lost so much.

And we save the best for last.

Amid all the uncertainty; we got paid! Our IT&N and Finance staff have been working tirelessly from the SRC offices, so staff can be paid. Some of these teams were working the wee hours of the morning on two consecutive days after the storm was over. We are grateful. Some staff are paid even before 12pm, saving all of us from the wrath of the banks. You know those debit orders, don’t you?

Other big ups to team MUT! Vice-Chancellor Prof Ramogale, said on this day: “It is critical that basic services are undertaken and that staff get their salaries against all odds”. In a climate of uncertainty and fear, without strong and visionary leadership, people panic.” Patrick Dodson. IMG

Yet another feather in the cap for MUT’s leadership.

 

MUT is applauded by DHS for accepting Research Chair

It’s official! Prof Ramogale, middle, receives a certificate from Mbulelo Tshangana, left, while Prof Agbola looks on

Addressing 350 delegates at the Human Settlements Conference hosted by MUT in Durban from 5-6 October 2017, the Acting VC, Prof Marcus Ramogale said the conference was “a culmination of a bright vision of the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and MUT.”  The Research Chair in Human Settlements, which was officially given to MUT on the night of the first day of the conference, is a zenith of the efforts by the Acting DVC: Teaching and Learning, Gona Govender, who was Dean of Management Sciences at the time. Together with Brendan Boyce from DHS, he developed a proposal at the request of Hon Lindiwe Sisulu, MUT’s Chancellor and also Minister of Human Settlements. Prof Babatunde Agbola, the newly appointed Research Chair/Professor in Human Settlement at MUT, said the main focus for the Chair was to conduct research on relevant issues; particularly those raised during the conference, and then advise relevant institutions accordingly. Prof Agbola added that he was going to use the partnerships created through the conference to strengthen his division.  The Director General: DHS, Mbulelo Tshangana applauded MUT for accepting the Chair. Neville Chainee, Deputy Director at DHS, said he was particularly touched by Prof Agbola’s commitment. Prof Agbola is held in high esteem by the government officials and the NHBRC that was instrumental in recommending him. The conference delivered papers that spelled out the situation in the housing environment, particularly in KZN. One of the major focuses of the conference was how innovative building technology could be used to provide solutions to the current problems facing the building and housing industry, a point picked up by KZN MEC for Human Settlements, Ravi Pillay.

MUT Puts its Academic Programme on hold as clean-up is underway

13 October 2017

Press release statement

Submitted by Bheki Hlophe, Media Relations & Publications Officer

MUT PUTS ITS ACADEMIC PROGRAMME ON HOLD AS CLEAN-UP IS UNDERWAY

MUT has been hard hit by the storm that hit the province on the fateful Tuesday – 10 October 2017. In most parts of the University water was kneed-high, having pushed through closed windows, or otherwise flowed from the streets and found its way to the computer labs, and students residences. Most of the computers in the labs were completely damaged and this is heart-breaking for the University which is Historically Disadvantaged. The damage is estimated in millions of rand.

Massive trees were uprooted, one fell over a car. The University grounds became massive dams with water puddles attracting the eye from a distance. Most of the offices’ and lecture halls’ floors have to be redone as they were soaked in water which rushed through the doors. Carpets have had to be ripped off. There might be a need to install a surface which will be able to stand the next storm attack.

The worst part about the storm has been that it caused power cut; electricity only returned on the night of 12 October, when things slowly began to get back to normal. On the second day workers were still busy cutting the trees which were toppled over, and taking the rubble to the nearby dump; and continuing with lecture and office cleaning and mopping.

Computer laboratories, printing rooms and the University’s Information Technology are all damaged. All these are causing detrimental effects towards the University’s business operations. Prof Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor, is at pains talking about the damage at hand.  “At this point, we are prioritising the living conditions for students as Residence A on main campus was hard hit. I have urged my teams to ensure that students’ and staff members’ lives are safe.”

The University’s email system has not been working since Tuesday and the University has organised meals for students. “We are hopeful that this difficult situation will not have a negative impact on examination preparations. One of our strategic goals is to improve the pass rate and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that this setback does not disadvantage our students’ success during examinations”, said Prof Ramogale.

The University will welcome every assistance that would ease the burden caused on students already. Please call Ms Mbali Mkhize, senior Director: Marketing & Communications 031-907-7347/8 or email emkhize@gmail.com

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MUT Staffer presents a paper in Spain

Sanele Mngadi

Sanele Mngadi, Business Analyst: HR& Payroll, presented a paper at the 18th European Conference on Knowledge Management: ECKM 2017, at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC), Spain, on
7- 8 September 2017. The paper’s title was: Evaluating factors affecting social media adoption as a knowledge sharing instrument amid #FeesMustFall campaign.  Sanele said the Knowledge Management (KM) phenomenon was a fast growing field. It encompasses all disciplines. ”I believe there is room for all aspiring KM scholars from all backgrounds: Engineering, Pharmaceutical, and all other streams.”  Sanele thanked the Research Directorate for giving him a chance to take part in the conference. He said that if Admin staff became more and more qualified, that would make it possible for MUT to tap into their skills. That would free up the academic staff to do their Master’s and PhDs. He has observed that some have heavy workloads that may delay them.

One-World, One Qualification Campaign – From National Diploma to Diploma

One-World, One Qualification Campaign, posters and pull-up banners

The One-World, One Qualification Campaign is an MUT bespoke campaign aimed at communicating to its key stakeholders the newly introduced single national qualification framework for higher education in South Africa. This step by government is meant to level the playing field and to enable students to move easily and more effectively from one programme to the next, as well as between institutions. These changes are guided by a policy document called the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF). As a result, all public and private higher education institutions in the country were required to revise their qualifications to ensure alignment with this new framework. The initial campaign focuses on the shift from ‘National Diploma’ to ‘Diploma’. The second phase of the campaign will be to raise awareness on the phasing out of B.Techs. The campaign was on 4 October 2017, launched by the Acting DVC: Teaching and Learning, Mr Gona Govender to all academic heads and other academic support heads. “I envisage that these heads will escalate this to their departments. My next step will be to talk about this campaign during the SRC Inauguration on 6 October 2017. These stakeholders are the building blocks of the MUT academic agenda,” said Govender during the briefing with QMD, MarComms and the Registrar. A comprehensive communication plan has been developed and should allay fears about the change from National Diploma to Diploma.

 

IRDCE hosts a Community Engagement Day

Some of the community members that displayed their products at the event

The 29th of September 2017 was a landmark – the IRDCE hosted Community Engagement Day themed “Towards responsible citizenship”. The event was attended by wide-ranging stakeholders such as eThekwini Municipality, KZN DoE, KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, ExtraMarks SA, NWU, South African Sugar Association and community engagement project beneficiaries. Prof Busi Nkonki-Mandleni, director at IRDCE said: “The purpose of this day was to create a dialogue between community engagement external stakeholders who are also project beneficiaries and MUT. We wanted to hear from external stakeholders how they envisaged working with MUT in advancing their communities.”  To date IRDCE has registered 16 community engagement projects under the three flagships which are housed in the three faculties, and which are planned to make a meaningful contribution in the advancement of disadvantaged communities to bring about responsible citizens.

MUT hosts the 2nd National conference on Human Settlement

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is honoured to host the 2nd National Conference on Human Settlements which will take place at the Elangeni/Maharani Hotel from 5-6 October.

MUT is the second University to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Department of Human Settlements. The partnership with MUT is part of a coherent and rigorous five pillar Professionalisation strategy by DHS which is also designed to elevate the stature and standing of MUT in the research community. It aims to draw in an appropriate configuration of partners, agencies, government departments and private sector actors such that a new resource is created; one that is focused on technology and innovation and  adds a new dimension to Human Settlement’s value chain. As such the conference is also a culmination of collaborative work between NDHS, KZN DHS, eThekwini Municipality, MUT and NHBRC.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu of DHS, said the Conference theme for 2017 is “Human Settlements Development and Technological Innovations. This theme is timely and seeks to solicit participation of researchers, practitioners and academics among others, to share their ideas, experiences and findings with this community of practice. In this way, knowledge sharing on broad human settlements development and particularly technology and innovation issues serves as the main thematic area for the 2017 conference.”

MUT has recently appointed a Research Chair in Human Settlement, Professor Babatunde Agbola, a seasoned academic to head the portfolio. Prof Agbola received his PhD in 1983 from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He has been a lecturer at Nigeria’s Premier University, the University of Ibadan, Nigeria since then. Prof Agbola has been a visiting lecturer at a number of universities, in both Africa and the US. Both the Department of Human Settlements and NHBRC validated Agbola’s credentials and agreed that he was recruited after MUT had failed to get a candidate with relevant credentials.

Agbola, whose actual position is Research Chair/Professor in Human Settlement, said his role was to “design and develop course materials for the Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Settlement and offer Master’s Degree Programmes, also in Human Settlement. I am also able to conceptualise and implement a multi-disciplinary research agenda relevant to Human Settlement Development and Management, and seek means to professionalise the human settlement sector.” He added that he intended to turn the programme into a Department of Human Settlement, and eventually into a Faculty of Environmental Design and Management where all aspects of the building and allied building environment courses will be taught. As Prof Agbola puts it, this latest move is going to make MUT a University of first choice.

Such an addition will give MUT staff with PhDs all the more reasons for staying as it will give them a chance to supervise post-grad students. It is also an indication of how seriously MUT and the government view the issue of human accommodation.

For more information on the conference speakers, please contact, Hlophe@mut.ac.za

Notes for the Editors:

  1. Bio for Prof Agbola
  2. Conference programme

MUT DVC: Teaching & Learning hands over EAC donation to Bobbi Bear

Gona with Eureka

Eureka Olivier, Director at Bobbi Bear could not contain her appreciation when Gona Govender, acting DVC: Teaching & Learning accompanied the Mrketing and CommunicationsMarcomms team to hand over more than 300
teddy bears donated during the Empowered
Administrators Conference (EAC).  Bobbi Bear is an emergency home that offers a safe house to child victims of rape; abuse; and violence.  The centre has qualified staff volunteers who provide counselling services; medication; and provide
support to the victims through the court processes.  Although they are an emergency home, they
provide a safe home to victims, a process that takes anything from a week to 3 years. Eureka
explained to the DVC that the centre has been providing solace to child victims for 20 years with no
stable financial support, only through generous donations from good citizens who give clothing items, food, toys, and money.    After listening to many heart-breaking incidences that Bobbi Bear deals with almost on a daily basis, the acting DVC said, “I am deeply touched to learn that we have people who volunteer their time for such a great civic duty. As MUT, we believe that every child has to take his or her rightful place in society.  We would like to pledge our support, as an academic institution and commit that MUT will empower Bobbi Bear staff on proposal writing and database management skills.  I am certain that this support will assist you attract funding to keep your doors open for the benefit of the
future of our country.”   Bobbie Bear was identified by Marcomms as a worthy beneficiary of the EAC Corporate Social Investment (CSI) component.  Bobbi Bear is conveniently located on 48 Seadoone Road, Doonside, along the bus and taxi routes to service communities from; Port Shepstone, Stanger; Tongaat and the greater Durban.

Meet the 2017/18 Miss & Mr MUT

Seated, Queen: Nontobeko Ntanzi, from left to right, First Prince: Sicelo
Makhoba, First Princess: Thembelihle Cele, King: Andile Ntinga, Second
Princess: Sihle Nkosi, Second Prince: Sipho Moyana

 

SASCO WINS SRC ELECTIONS AT MUT

26 September 2017

Media advisory

Submitted by Mbali Mkhize, senior director, marketing & communications

Email address: mbali@mut.ac.za  

SASCO WINS SRC ELECTIONS AT MUT

For a 4th consecutive year, SASCO has won elections at MUT.

The results are as follows:

SASCO: 5 seats

SADESMO: 04

Independent candidates: 2

The independent candidates are SASCO members. Therefore; MUT 2017/18 SRC is made up of seven SASCO members and four SADESMO members. Portfolio allocation will be done on Thursday 28 September. The inauguration of the MUT 2017/18 SRC will take place on 06 October 2017.

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