Two MUT players join Sharks female team

Nobuhle, left, and Anesipho at the Sharks’ training ground

Two of the University female rugby players are now part of the senior Sharks team. On 31 March 2021 Anesipho Malgas and Nobuhle Mjwara trained with the rest of the Sharks team. The second year Accounting and Office Management and Technology students respectively, said they were very excited about getting an opportunity to play for the Sharks. “We are very happy. We love this game,” said Anesipho. Anesipho plays scrum half (10), while Nobuhle plays flanker (6) and a second-row forward (4). Nobuhle has to jump and grab those throw-ins from the hooker during the lineout. Anesipho has to deal with so much focus as she kicks the conversion after a try has been scored. These are usually match winners.

This news will not come as a surprise to their coach, Thabani ‘Sgebengu’ Yaka. Sgebengu was emphatic that Anesipho and Nobuhle were going to make it. Both players have been playing rugby for some time, despite their ages. Anesipho said she started playing rugby in 2016, while Nobuhle started in 2015.  “I fell in love with the sport. My family supports me,” said Anesipho. Anesipho lives in Umlazi Township’s S section with her grandmother. The rest of her family is in Queenstown, Eastern Cape. Nobuhle lives with her family in the township’s V section.

Acting VC welcomes Class of 2021

Professor Ramogale 

MUT Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marcus Ramogale has warmly welcomed new students that enrolled with the University during the course of this week. Professor Ramogale thanked the freshmen for choosing the University. “Thank you for choosing MUT as an institution where you will begin your journey to being a professional,” said Professor Ramogale. He appealed to the students to support the University’s efforts in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic and highlighted that there have been some gains in these efforts. “While the Coronavirus is still waging its war against all of us, we have learnt to refuse to let it triumph over our lives. With this in mind, I trust that things will be much better for us all in the coming year,” said Professor Ramogale. Professor Ramogale said that the University also took advantage of its size, and the prevailing atmosphere. “We treat each other as one big family. Just as we care about all of you, we would like you to show that you care for your fellow students by continuing to put each other’s safety first this year,” said Professor Ramogale.

Professor Ramogale informed students about how well the University prevented the spread of COVID-19 in residences. This was mainly as a result of the University’s campaign to “save lives, save the academic year”.  “We shared messages everywhere and tightened our security systems to ensure that the virus was not imported into our residences.”

Professor Ramogale added that the University management also ensured that all the required protocols were adhered to, and that they worked with the student body to shield the students, and everyone from the pandemic.

He also highlighted the role played by academic deans in ensuring that students were not just taught online, but that the new delivery mode was effective and favoured students. Coupled with this form of teaching, the Acting Vice-Chancellor said the University added a platoon system as part of its teaching and learning. “This is a great asset towards assisting you to study independently. You are on a new journey to make history for yourselves and for the future, so embrace the opportunity with grace and a positive spirit. I look forward to engaging you online and I am hopeful that you will also support our efforts to save the 2021 academic year and to save lives. Please remember to always ‘mask up’, maintain social distancing and sanitise your hands always,” said Professor Ramogale.

MUT registers 2400 new students and counting  

University’s fresher

This week MUT reached a milestone in its efforts to register new students for the 2021 academic year. The University has now registered about 2400 students and counting. Among the new students that registered with the University this week were Siyabonga Zulu, from Inanda, north of Durban, and Wendy Ndimande, from the Folweni Township in the south of Durban. Siyabonga joins the University after being out of the school system for a couple of years. Siyabonga is very happy to have registered with MUT for a Diploma in Agriculture (Animal Production), while Wendy will spend the next three years studying towards a Diploma in Public Administration. The two are excited to call MUT their academic home for the next few years.

MUT soccer team aims for maximum points in their match on Monday

The MUT team preparing for the Monday match

The MUT soccer team is ready for its fourth match, which captain Mfundo Maseko said “is a must win, as we are chasing the league”. The team is playing Adams Academy on Monday, 5 April 2021, at 3pm. So far the team has five points from three matches. A very confident Mfundo said all the players were ready for the match. Mfundo said they had a big pool of players who wanted to make a mark. The team won its last match against Magabheni Stars with two goals to nil.

The University team is affiliated to the SAFA eThekwini SAB League Central B. Some of the other teams in this league are Jahman Stars, Chatsworth Rangers, M City, Umlazi Young Lions, and Umbumbulu Academy.

MUT statement on University closure on Tuesday, 6 April 2021 

Submitted by the Department of Marketing and Communications, 6 April  2021

Please cite Ms Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications 

MUT statement on University closure on Tuesday, 6 April 2021 

The Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) management can confirm that they decided to close the University this morning (Tuesday, 06 April 2021) because of the following reasons:

  1. One of the recognised labour unions at MUT, NEHAWU has embarked on a strike with effect from 01 April 2021 due to issues related to annual salary increases for staff.
  2. As part of the Picketing Agreement, which was signed between MUT management and the labour union, staff who wished to participate in the strike and who wished to picket, can only do so in the mutually agreed picketing designated areas.
  3. Today, we have found a situation where those who were picketing did not remain in the designated picketing areas and have moved to areas which would obstruct the main entrance of the University.
  4.       In addition, some of the picketers have set alight tyres in front of the main entrance of the University.

Due to the above-mentioned situation, MUT had to request assistance from the local South African Police Services to clear the main entrance to the university. In order to avoid any injuries to staff and students, as well as damage to University property, we have decided to close the University.

MUT management has arranged a meeting with both recognised labour unions as well as the executive members of the Student Representative Council for tomorrow (Wednesday, 07 April 2021) to discuss the issues and to return to our normal operations.

Ends

 

 

Bheki Hlophe (Mr)
Publications and Media Relations officer: Marketing & Communications
Mangosuthu University of Technology
T: +27 31 907 7195  M: +27 61 283 2257
E: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

Update on 2021 Registration

Kindly be advised of the following EMC Resolutions taken at its meeting held on Friday, 26 March 2021:

  1. Finalisation of the 2021 Registration Concessions which was subsequently signed by both the SRC and Management;
  2. Registration of new students continues from today until Friday, 9 April 2021. In this regard HoDs are to work closely with Mr Gqamane and his team to ensure registration targets for First Time Entering Students are met;
  3. Registration of returning cash paying students will commence on Wednesday, 31 March 2021 and for NSFAS students as soon as confirmation is received; and  
  4. Registration of ALL students closes on Friday, 9 April 2021 and lectures commences on Monday, 12 April 2021.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Mike Naidoo
Registrar

MUT first-year registration takes off to the delight of students

Thobani Gumede, right, from Jozini, north of KwaZulu-Natal, has registered for the Office Management and Technology, while Ayanda Gwala has registered for a  Diploma in Agriculture

This week, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) started the registration of first-year students for the new academic year. Prospective students have approached the decision with enthusiasm and have started booking their places at the university.

Zolisa Gqamane, Deputy Registrar: Academics Affairs, said the number of students who are registering at the University are increasing by the day despite slow pace of first-year registration across the country.

To ensure that no student is left behind, MUT has also decided to open its gate for prospective students who are unable to register from their respective homes to come and register on campus. So far, over 1500 first-year students and counting have registered.

Zolisa explained that the University was still not opened to walk-ins but the institution was giving students who applied and were accepted an opportunity to register on campus instead of doing it remotely.

Prospective students that have been offered places to study at MUT are encouraged to register with the university.

Civil Engineering and Surveying tutors make a positive impact on students

Dr Bwapwa, middle, with Ngcebo, left, and Minenhle

The role of tutors at the University is becoming more prominent. Dr Joseph Bwapwa of the Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying said his six tutors played a major role in decreasing his heavy load and had a positive impact upon the performance of students. Dr Bwapwa teaches about 400 first semester students. He said that his tutors play a supporting role.

“They are able to articulate to the students the manner in which the lecturers would like to get the message across to the students. They effectively compliment the lecturers’ work,” said Dr Bwapwa. Dr Bwapwa added that the tutors are able to emphasize the practical part of the course, and give more attention to the particular issues that may be bothering the students. They also give us the real picture of what is happening with the students as well as give our feedback to the students.

Two of these tutors are Minenhle Ximba and Ngcebo Kunene. Both are on the exit level. Minenhle completed his S4 in record time; now he is looking for in-service training.  He has been a tutor for three semesters. He said that being a tutor can be challenging, but he was prepared for the job. Minenhle learnt time management, communicating well with students, and has sheared stage fright, which he said was his weakness. Both Minenhle and Ngcebo said they have learnt a lot from Dr Bwapwa, what they have learnt is now benefiting the students.

“We are now able to handle student issues, listen to students, and give them space and freedom to talk to us as equals,” said Minenhle. Minenhle said that the good relationship with Dr Bwapwa started when he was doing S1. He said that it was the one word that Dr Bwabwa said which did the trick, “Commitment”. Now both Minenhle and Ngcebo said they see the value of investing more time in their work, just like Dr Bwapwa, who leaves the office very late.

They spend more time with their students and they are also on WhatsApp with them to ensure the students’ problems are attended to in time.

Friendship brings two learners from KwaMaphumulo to MUT

Bongeka, left, and Nobuhle, at MUT

The friendship of two young learners from KwaMaphumulo in the north of KwaZulu-Natal, has seen them registering to further their studies at MUT. Bongeka Buthelezi and Nobuhle Mthiyane have enrolled for Marketing and Accounting, respectively. Both girls said they were happy with their decision to study at MUT. Their hard work paid off. More than 40 000 prospective students applied for the limited places at the University. To finally hold that student card which is proof that they are now bona fide students of the University brought big smiles upon their young faces.

The two met in Grade 10 at Vukile High School in KwaMaphumulo, and they put plans in place for their future together. They studied together during the hard Lockdown in 2020 and still managed to ace their matric. They plan to shape and own the future together. They have committed to helping each other with their studies and maintain friendship until they enter the workplace.

The two friends wish to one day make a difference in their community and encourage other learners to focus on their studies and make their parents proud. Nobuhle could not wait to go back to KwaMaphumulo and show her parents that she is finally a university student.

Chemical Engineering student takes part in annual Dusi Marathon

Nqobile, front, in the last Dusi

An S4 Chemical Engineering student has made the University proud by placing 11th position in the annual Dusi Canoe Marathon that took place from 18 to 20 March 2021 in Umsunduzi and Umgeni rivers.

Nqobile Makhanya, who is from KwaXimba near Cato Ridge in Durban was taking was participating in the Dusi Marathon for the 11th time. Commenting on his performance, Nqobile said he was not happy with his performance. He had a few problems on days one and two. At one time his 12kg kayak got stuck in the rocks, and Nqobile had to spend valuable time pulling it out. His kayak also capsized as Nqobile was trying to put the splash cover on.  He said he had to swim to get himself to a safe position. In the meantime, five participants peddled past him. But he was able to peddle past at least three of them. Nqobile said he wanted to be part of the top 10.

“The last day was fine, there was no problem. I got positon 11,” he said.

Nqobile started canoeing in 2008. Two years later he took part in his first competition. He said he decided to take up this kind of sport as it is very popular in his area, KwaXimba, also home to former MUT canoeist, Mzamo Zondi.

MUT on a road to transform the culture of teaching & learning

Dr Makua

Dr Manyane Makua, Acting DVC: Teaching & Learning, presented his landmark assessment of the MUT online teaching and learning agenda at the virtual Senate meeting held on Thursday, 18 March 2021. The presentation follows one of the drastic steps that he is taking to transform the culture of teaching and learning. In trying to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of online teaching, Dr Makua spearheaded a measurement and evaluation of his portfolio. Based on this, he presented a few reflections that will ensure that online teaching must be more student-centric and with more quality assurance mechanisms. Dr Makua emphasised the need for a more effective and customized online content.

“We need to deploy appropriate interventions so as to assist our students. We cannot put content will not be discernible to our students. We must guide the students on their online journey, and we must put ourselves in the shoes of the students as they navigate the online milieu by thinking carefully about the target group, content, learning outcomes, pedagogical approach, how we organize the content, learning resources, and assessment of the teaching and learning resources. Do not deny yourselves opportunities to move with the times. Keep on reading so you can adapt to the new normal as it is here to stay”, said Dr Makua.

The SRC welcomed the presentation and applauded Dr Makua’s office for the support it has given students as they navigate online learning. Dr Bheka Ntshangase, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, also expressed positive sentiments. Dr Ntshangase indicated that as a faculty, they now realise the gap and what is required for an interactive online approach to work.

 

View Presentation>>>

Faculties ready with their plans

File photo: An excited first year student

MUT’s academic deans have confirmed that their faculties are all set to adapt to the new normal, thus ensuring that even if Lockdowns occur MUT students will not be disadvantaged. At the virtual Senate meeting held on 18 March 2021, all three deans presented their faculty plans. The plans serve as a blueprints on how each faculty will onboard new students to digital learning and reiterate online training for returning students.

In addition, the plans also provide mechanisms on how the platoon system will be delivered. Though each faculty may have its unique approach to the platoon system, it is a fact that there will be a bespoke platoon system for each faculty. As part of the faculty plans, there are also procedures for how mainstream assessment and continuous assessment will be conducted. This is a great stride for the University as it lays a foundation for the new normal.

MUT to distribute laptops to non-NSFAS funded students first

Students will receive laptops same as these shown by IT&N staff, Sylvester Mchunu, left, and Nkosi Mnguni

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is ready to distribute laptops to all its 2021 registered students starting with those not funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The laptops are part of the plan to distribute devices to aid students as they take-on blended learning that universities around the world adopted with the advent of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The university will be distributing laptops to non-NSFAS funded students whose laptops have already been procured and the process for distribution established,” said Dr Marlo de Swardt, Senior Director: Information Technology and Networks (IT&N). “The process for NSFAS funded students will start in April after the NSFAS contracts with the University and students have been finalised.”

Speaking at the meeting of the Executive Management Committee on 17 March, Dr de Swardt explained that the University had developed and tested a system for students to apply for laptops online on the ITS i-Enabler system.

The total cost of the laptop is R5,341.75, which will be charged to the students’ accounts. Non-NSFAS funded students have to pay a deposit of R1,335.44 (25%) before they receive a laptop. Students will have until they complete their studies to settle the balance of the laptop.  Students can only apply once and applications open after registration, which starts on 23 March.

EMC applauds advances in DIPR

David Bleazard

A sterling presentation on the costing of modules at EMC by the Acting Director: Institutional Planning and Research at the DIPR, David Bleazard received an applause from EMC. This presentation gave impetus for the DIPR to make an even bigger impact on the management of the University’s crucial information.

David has more than 30 years’ experience in higher education, including 10 years in strategic planning and managing information at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Since 2018, he has worked on a contractual basis for MUT, the Department of Higher Education and Training, and Central University of Technology. “Strategic Planning is not a magic bullet to solve all the problems of a University or any other organization, but it does provide a way of mobilising resources to get the different parts of a complex organisation moving in more or less the same direction at more or less the same time,” said David.

As a veteran of higher education administration, David said he wanted to empower young people with knowledge he had gathered over more than three decades. David said educating young people is the most important work that anyone can do in South Africa today. “Young people are the future of the country and we need to prepare them for the challenges ahead.  Having worked in other universities of technology, I have been struck by the maturity of MUT’s planning, implementation, and evaluation processes,” David said. “If everyone is aligned in pursuit of the University’s goals, MUT can move mountains.”

Staff bid goodbye to late Zulu King

MUT staff mourned the passing of His Majesty

As a way of bidding goodbye to the King of the Zulu nation, His Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, MUT staff wore black to symbolize their mourning. Staff took photos, and shared with Marcomms. His Majesty was interred on 17 March 2021, midnight, as per tradition. The King’s passing impacted mostly on the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal who shared many teachings that the late King imparted on them.  Speaking to Marcomms, MUT staffer at DIPR, Mapule Sikhosana, Senior Secretary: DIPR,  explained how the events of the King’s passing have showcased the rich Zulu culture which have given a sense of pride and reminded people the importance of knowing and embracing culture and its many benefits.

Minister’s response to the SAUS demands

DATE: 14 March 2021

TO: All media

ATTENTION: News Editors/ Reporters

RESPONSE BY THE MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND INNOVATION, DR BLADE NZIMANDE ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN UNION OF STUDENTS LETTER OF DEMANDS

The South African Union of Students (SAUS) sent a letter to Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande on 10 March 2021. The following is the Minister’s response to the SAUS demands:

Financial clearance and the clearance of historical debts for all students to ensure smooth registration.

The University of Western Cape set a good example in this regard. The Department of Higher Education and Training is not in a financial position to be able to support institutions to clear all student debt of fee-paying students. We are aware that there are many students whose families struggle to keep up with fee payments, and indeed many families who have also been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, given the difficult fiscal situation, all government departments, including the Department of Higher Education and Training have been subject to budget reductions in 2020 and 2021. I am aware that many institutions are doing what they can to assist students in need, and to allow them to make payment arrangements to be able to register, where this is possible. However, institutions also have to remain financially sustainable in order to continue to operate effectively, and financial decisions are made at the level of university councils. The historic debt of NSFAS-qualifying students is being addressed through a process between NSFAS and institutions. NSFAS-qualifying students with historic debt are able to register when they sign an Acknowledgement of Debt (AOD) form, while the process is underway.

Justice for the family of a person who was killed by police on the 10th of March 2021 at WITS University. We demand an end to police brutality targeting protesting students and we are against victimization of students and student leadership.

I am deeply distressed by the death of Mr Mthokozisi Ntumba in Braamfontein on 10 March. The issues relating to the police investigation into the matter will be dealt with by the Minister of Police.

Immediate provision of post-graduate funding. We are advocating for advanced diploma qualifications to be included in the funding framework.

Postgraduate funding is an issue that does require attention, as there is limited funding available from the National Research Foundation. However, in 2021, the new NRF policy does consider funding of students who were NSFAS recipients. This is an important matter that needs to be addressed in the policy review process that will be undertaken in 2021 by the Department of Higher Education and Training, as outlined in my media statement on 11 March 2021.

4) Allocation of NSFAS funding for first time entering students (FTENs) or new students. All first years must be unblocked for registration whilst government is still resolving the funding matters.

This matter has been addressed, and we have committed that first-time entering students will be able to register following the commitment to reprioritize funding from the Department of Higher Education and Training to address the NSFAS shortfall for 2021.

5) Laptops must be provided to students as the academic year starts. The agreement last year was that students will receive laptops before the start of the 2021 academic year.

This process is being managed by NSFAS. As reported by the Executive Officer, NSFAS has placed a first order for laptops, and these will be made available to students, in line with the agreed processes, as soon as they are available. NSFAS has indicated that the first deliveries will be made in April 2021.

6) We demand all student allowances to be provided in March because the academic year starts in March. Landlords are already harassing students for payment.

These processes are being managed by individual universities in line with their registration dates. However, NSFAS funding to students is only released once students are registered and confirmed for funding. It is also important to note that NSFAS will receive its first tranche from the fiscus on 1 April 2021 in line with National Treasury’s processes.

7) Increase in students enrolment quotas to allow admission of matriculants. This includes the 20 000 students from UNISA.

The Department of Higher Education and Training works together with institutions to agree on an enrolment plan, which is outlined in a Ministerial Statement. The current enrolment plan covers the period 2020 to 2025. It is critical that all institutions adhere as closely as possible to their enrolment plans, as they guide both the funding of the system, as well as ensure that
institutions have the capacity to support quality education for their students. Should the system expand beyond the agreed enrolments it will be unable to provide effective teaching and learning. The matter relating to UNISA’s decision to reduce its enrolments based on over enrolments in 2020 is currently in the courts.

8) Free registration for all students during the 2021 academic year. We reject the imposition of minimum initial payment (MIP).

As with payment plans for students who have fee debt, registration and minimum initial payments are determined at institutional level, in line with council-determined financial policies. NSFAS-qualifying students are not expected to make upfront payments. 9) Students must be provided with their academic records and certificates, even those who owe the universities.

All institutions have confirmed to the Department that they have mechanisms in place to ensure that students with debt are able to receive academic records and certificates of completion for the purposes of further study and accessing employment opportunities. The Department works directly with institutions where necessary to facilitate queries on these matters. I agree that no student should be prevented from accessing employment or other opportunities because they have outstanding fees.

10) We demand zero percent fee increase for the 2021 academic year. Student leaders were not consulted when this decision was taken.

Fee consultations take place at institutional level. In addition, student leaders are represented on university councils, where budgeting and fee decisions are taken. For the 2021 academic year, the Department and universities have reached another fee compact to ensure fee increases are kept at affordable levels and to ensure the sustainability of universities. All institutions rely on student fees for their core operating income and additional funding is not available from government to support a zero percent fee increase. Institutions have to remain financially sustainable in order to meet their operational commitments and their academic responsibilities.

11) We are demanding free quality education for the poor and the missing middle. The increase of VAT from 14% to 15% is meant to cover for free education.

I acknowledge that the demand for student funding is significant. Government has committed to providing fully subsidized support to students from poor and working class backgrounds and has been doing so since 2018 through the NSFAS. As already indicated, the Department of Higher Education and Training will be doing urgent work to review the current funding policy of government, to examine its overall affordability and sustainability. This will also entail examining the funding requirements to support missing middle and postgraduate students.

12) We demand suspension of academic exclusion for the 2021 academic year because of the impact of COVID-19.

Decisions about academic matters are the domain of individual universities, within their relevant academic policies. I recognize that 2020 was a difficult year for many students as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown and the move to emergency remote multi-modal teaching and learning. However, all institutions put in place plans and mechanisms to support students and to provide opportunities for catch-up and support/completion programmes.

13) SAUS & SRC members are demanding the 100% return of all students to campuses under level 1 of the lockdown. Students who are from homes without connectivity are already excluded from online registration.

I support that students who have challenges with connectivity should be able to return to campuses where they are able to access the relevant connectivity and support from institutions. However, individual institutions must manage these processes in line with their own resources and strategies and the ability to provide a safe environment for the return of students and staff in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. I will be releasing directions to support and guide institutions in managing the return of students and the start of the 2021 academic year.

14) We demand the extension of the registration period to the 30th of April 2021 considering the difficulties that students and institutions are facing.

After discussion with Universities South Africa, it was agreed that the registration period would be extended for two weeks, to ensure that all first-time entering students, in particular those who qualify for NSFAS, are able to register.

15) We demand NSFAS appeals to be opened and finalized within the next two weeks. Currently students who intend to appeal are excluded from registration.

I am informed by NSFAS that it is working hard to finalise appeals so that students are not prevented from registering in time to start the 2021 academic year. I urge student structures to continue engaging with the management teams of all our public universities, utilising the communication structures that are already in place for this engagement. Many of the matters that you have raised with me require that students and university management work together at institutional level. Given the above explanations, many of the issues that have been raised will require careful consideration and planning at the national level and will be addressed through the work that the Department of Higher Education and Training will be doing in collaboration with other government departments, including National Treasury, the Department of Science and Innovation and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

-Ends-
Issued by:
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation
DST Building (53), CSIR Campus
Meiring Naude Road
Brummeria
Pretoria
Enquiries: Ishmael Mnisi 0660378859

MUT registration postponed to 23 March 2021 

Issued by Bheki Hlophe – 082 432 1805

14 March 2021

 

MUT registration postponed to 23 March 2021 

Please cite Mike Naidoo, MUT Registrar 

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has postponed its registration to 23 March 2021 to give the University more time to solve all NSFAS challenges that all universities are currently facing.

Registration was initially scheduled for 15 to 26 March. In letters to new and returning students, MUT Registrar, Mike Naidoo said that the Executive Management Committee of the University took the decision to postpone registration on Friday, 12 March in an attempt to ensure that the process commences seamlessly.

Naidoo added that “given that some students are still writing their supplementary examinations; it would have been difficult to continue with the registration without students having received their results”.

The Registrar also said that Executive Management was aware of the inconvenience that the latest decision would cause, “but at the same time believes that this is in the interest of all students”.

Naidoo also reminded students that the Executive Management was also concerned about COVID-19 challenges and the decision to postpone registration was also taken to ensure that the safety of students comes first.

Ends

 

Bheki Hlophe (Mr)
Publications and Media Relations officer: Marketing & Communications
Mangosuthu University of Technology
T: +27 31 907 7195  M: +27 61 283 2257
E: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

MUT extends deepest condolences on the passing of Zulu King, His Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu

His Majesty, the King of the Zulus

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is saddened by news of the passing of Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. His Majesty passed away in hospital in the early hours of Friday, 12 March 2021. The king is a nephew to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who is MUT Founder and cousin to the king’s late father, Bhekuzulu kaDinuzulu.

Speaking on behalf of the MUT community, Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal, said: “A very sad moment for South Africa. His Majesty was not just a symbol of unity and stability, but was also a tireless peacemaker. We will remember his life with the greatest measure of love and gratitude. May his soul rest in peace. The University extends deepest condolences to the Royal Family and the Zulu nation during this difficult time. Our flags will be flying on half-mast until the King is laid to rest.”

Among other notable contributions, His Majesty resuscitated the reed dance (umkhosi womhlanga) to encourage girls to preserve their virginity until they were married; shielding them from sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancy. Lala ngoxolo Hlanga Lomhlabathi, Mdlokombane!

Commercial fruit farm for MUT graduate and PhD candidate

Delivery this week! Qinisani Qwabe

The trend of MUT becoming the institution where students who want to start their businesses study continues. This time it is an MUT graduate, who is reading for a Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Qinisani Qwabe who graduated with a Diploma in Community Extension at MUT in 2015 is conducting a study in Sustainable Agriculture at UFS. He is looking at the role of indigenous vegetables and their significance to rural livelihoods within the context of food security and socio-economic status.

Qinisani now owns and runs Ubuntu AgriRenaissance (PTY) Ltd, an agriculture business in KwaDlangezwa, north of KwaZulu-Natal. Ten local residents, mostly young and elderly females, are involved in the running of his business. Qinisani says he grows indigenous vegetables because of their advantages.

“Think of how unifying amadumbe are. Folks in rural areas would spread out a traditional mat, sit, and just enjoy the boiled amadumbes. This has a positive impact as it keeps the people united,” said Qinisani.

After realizing the viability of his business, Qinisani came up with a new branch for his company. He called it Ubuntu AgriRenaissance Fruit and Vegetable Cart. It deals with food supply that is mainly sourced directly from other farmers and sold around the Durban Area.

“At present, I have one lady that assists with the packaging and branding of products. This is in-line with my entrepreneurial vision of being one of the well-known, eco-friendly food producers and suppliers while making a positive contribution to people’s livelihoods through employment opportunities and supplying fresh produce that is necessary for a healthy lifestyle as proclaimed by the Food and Agricultural Organization,” said Qinisani.

HRM professor takes over the reins of People Practices Board

Professor Naidoo

Human Resources Management Professor, Logan Naidoo has been appointed to serve as chair of South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) for the remainder of term that started in November 2018 ending in November this year. The decision was communicated to Professor Naidoo by the SABPP Chief Executive Officer, Xolani Mawande, who informed him to start in his new role towards the end of last month (26 February).

With this latest appointment, explained Professor Naidoo, “we will direct some activities of the committee and can ensure that previously disadvantaged institutions are heard as clearly as the rest.”

Professor Naidoo, who is also a Director of the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP), said being appointed as Chair of this body augurs well for both the higher education sector and the University. Professor Naidoo is a veteran of the SABPP; he has been a member since the 1990s. He also chairs the South African Human Resource Universities Forum of SABPP (HEC). He said that a combination of all the positions he holds gives him “a megaphone to contribute positively to the HEC. My appointment adds to the diversity of the HEC and provides the necessary perspective from still under-resourced and previously disadvantaged institutions and the communities they serve.”

As far as MUT goes, Professor Naidoo said the three positions give him a bird’s eye-view. “We are in the forefront of some important issues that are being discussed at national level, such as accreditation criteria and process and professional membership registration criteria for academics, and collaboration on research,” he said.

In addition, Professor Naidoo said they would be able to bring to MUT some of the leading practices that have been proven to work at other Universities.

MUT extends deepest condolences on the passing of Zulu King, His Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu

Issued by Bheki Hlophe – 082 432 1805

12 March 2021

MUT extends deepest condolences on the passing of Zulu King, His Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is saddened by news of the passing of Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. His Majesty passed away in hospital in the early hours of Friday, 12 March 2021. The king is a nephew to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who is MUT Founder and cousin to the king’s late father, Bhekuzulu kaDinuzulu.

Speaking on behalf of the MUT community, Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal, said: “A very sad moment for South Africa. His Majesty was not just a symbol of unity and stability, but was also a tireless peacemaker. We will remember his life with the greatest measure of love and gratitude. May his sole rest in peace. The University extends deepest condolences to the Royal Family and the Zulu nation during this difficult time. Our flags will be flying on half-mast until the King is laid to rest.”

Ends

 

Bheki Hlophe (Mr)
Publications and Media Relations officer: Marketing & Communications
Mangosuthu University of Technology
T: +27 31 907 7195  M: +27 61 283 2257
E: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

Passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, King of the Zulu Nation

STATEMENT ON HIS MAJESTY KING GOODWILL ZWELITHINI KA BHEKUZULU

BY PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP INKOSI OF THE BUTHELEZI CLAN AND TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION

It is with the utmost grief that I inform the nation of the passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, King of the Zulu Nation.

Tragically, while still in hospital, His Majesty’s health took a turn for the worse and he subsequently passed away in the early hours of this morning.

On behalf of the Royal Family, we thank the nation for your continued prayers and support in this most difficult time.

May His Majesty our King rest in peace.

Media Statement by the Minister of Higher Education

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND INNOVATION ON 2021 FUNDING DECISIONS FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS AND THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE 2021 ACADEMIC YEAR

11 March 2021

Programme Director;
Deputy Minister Bhuti Manamela;
Senior Management of the DHET;
NSFAS CEO, Andile Nongogo;
USAF leadership;
SACPO leadership
SAUS and SATVETSA leadership;
TVET College Governors Council
Leadership from Unions;
Members of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen;

To all prospective students, parents and South Africans at large, Good Morning.

Let me take this opportunity to thank my cabinet colleagues and the President of our Country, President Ramaphosa, for providing funding support, under trying circumstances, to keep the commitment that we have made as government during Minister Tito Mboweni’s Budget vote speech on the 24th February 2021, “that Government remains committed to ensuring that deserving students are supported through higher education”.

I therefore have called this media briefing following Cabinet’s deliberations on this matter.

Before we do that I want to briefly reflect on the tragic incident that took place yesterday in Braamfontein, where a man lost his life in the midst of a public protest in which the law enforcement agencies became involved.

Our sincere condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased. I have directed that the Wits University Council, the Wits Management and requested the relevant Law enforcement authorities agencies to provide us with an explanation on what caused this tragedy, and to take whatever steps to ensure justice is done and appropriate responsibility is accorded.

Cabinet met yesterday and discussed the matter of the funding shortfall at NSFAS, which I reported on earlier this week. The particular issue under discussion was the shortfall in funding for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for 2021 which has delayed NSFAS in being able to communicate funding decisions to students and institutions for first-time entering students in public universities.

Cabinet agreed that funding should be reprioritised from the budget of the Department of Higher Education and Training in order to ensure that all deserving NSFAS-qualifying students are able to receive funding support for the 2021 academic year.

Further reprioritisation can only be considered as part of the Medium Term Budget process of government, which takes place later this year.

This decision has been taken in the context of funding cuts and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following this decision, NSFAS will be able to release funding decisions, and the registration process at public universities can continue as planned.

No NSFAS-qualifying students have been affected by these delays, as universities had agreed to extend the registration period to ensure that students without funding decisions would not be prevented from accessing a place that they qualify for.

Cabinet also agreed that a comprehensive review of the student funding policy of government is urgently required and has instructed that the Department of Higher Education and Training, immediately commence with this work and report back to Cabinet.

The purpose of this process will be to look carefully at the funding requirements to support students in financial need in the post-school education and training system, to model the holistic requirements of students, including those from poor and working class backgrounds as well as the missing middle.

Government is very concerned about the issue of growing student debt in the system, as are the universities. This is an issue that will also be considered as part of the policy review.

Some of the demands that are being received by government and universities relate to the debt of students who may not be funded by NSFAS but who are struggling to register because they have not been able to pay debts, and but are doing well academically. In some instances, universities have made arrangements with such students to sign acknowledgement of debt agreements. In this regard, I will be engaging with the university leadership teams to explore ways in which we can try to ensure that final year students who are on track to graduate and are performing well are able to register for their final year through such acknowledgment of debt arrangements.

What should be clear from the above is that Government is firmly committed to implement the policy of providing fee free (fully subsidised) higher education support to students from working and poor backgrounds, whilst also putting a sustainable mechanism in place to support students from the so-called ‘missing middle’ income bracket.

I will now provide further detail about NSFAS funding for 2021 as well as the start of the 2021 academic year.

NSFAS will now be able to release funds for new students qualifying for NSFAS bursary support. As I already indicated, continuing students who meet the qualifying criteria have already been allowed to register. This process is extremely urgent as some universities are already starting their academic programmes, and others will be commencing during March and April.

I appeal to institutions and to NSFAS to ensure that this process is completed as smoothly as possible.

I would also like to appeal for calm at our institutions of higher learning. Where there are matters of dispute and grievances, structures are in place for SRCs and institutional management to engage on, and I urge that student leaders and institutional leaders make use of these mechanisms to resolve problems amicably. We cannot afford at this time to endure disruption to the 2021 academic year, which is already starting later than usual due to the extended 2020 academic year and the delayed NSC examinations.

The 2020 academic year was a difficult year for everyone. Students and staff at our public institutions had to adjust to remote forms of teaching and learning and institutions had to manage the academic year during different phases of the national lockdown.

I commend the institutional management teams and staff of our institutions for their hard work during the 2020 academic year. I also wish to extend my special congratulations to the students of our institutions who continued with their academic programmes despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the lockdown. This clearly demonstrates the character and commitment of the class of 2020.

I also acknowledge that yesterday I received communication from the South African Union of Students (SAUS), which represents all public university SRCs, outlining a number of demands of students. I will respond to this communication as soon as I am able to do so.

Now that the issue of the funding shortfall has been addressed, we will be able to finalise the funding NSFAS Bursary Guidelines for university students. These will be finalised within the next week and released to institutions as soon as possible. It should be noted that the changes are being kept to a minimum in order not to affect the administration of the DHET Bursary Scheme in public institutions. The Guidelines for funding of students in public TVET colleges were released late last year.

However, it is important that I clarify the core parameters of NSFAS funding policy for 2021. NSFAS funding is provided primarily for the funding of students completing a first undergraduate qualification. In the past, however, NSFAS has provided funding for some limited second qualifications in key areas.

Students who are already funded on these programmes will be able to continue as long as they meet the academic criteria. However, there will be no funding available for new entrants on second or postgraduate qualifications, as the latter is the responsibility of the National Research Foundation.

The only exception is that students who have completed Higher Certificates and gain access to a degree or diploma programme are able to receive funding, if they meet the academic and financial criteria.

The Department will continue to work with institutions and other funding agencies to expand the funding opportunities for students who do not qualify for NSFAS in particular in scarce skills areas. In this regard, we will also engage further with SETAs where support may be available for programmes in particular areas and indeed also to address areas of postgraduate funding where possible.

The following is applicable in relation to the DHET bursary scheme for 2021. Tuition fee and accommodation fee costs are provided for in line with the Guidelines for the Department of Higher Education and Training bursary scheme for 2021, subject to the agreed CPI-linked sector-wide increases of 4.7% (tuition) and 6.7% (accommodation). Institutions must note that no funding can be provided by NSFAS in excess of these increases and neither can such costs be passed onto NSFAS bursary recipients. I wish to thank the university councils and managements for their understanding in adhering to these conditions.

I must also urge that all our universities stick to the agreed enrolment plans in line with the Ministerial Statement on Enrolment Planning (2020-2025). I will provide further detail on the numbers below.

All NSFAS-qualifying university students on the DHET grant scheme (i.e. those students who were registered prior to 2018) will be subject to the funding cap of R98 700.

In respect of student allowances for students on the DHET bursary scheme the following is applicable:

All students receive the learning material allowance, which remains at R5200 for the 2021 academic year. This allowance can be utilised by students to purchase electronic devices to support their studies, in line with the applicable university policies and schemes, where these are in place. Some institutions will make use of the NSFAS process for the provision of laptops to students.

The living allowance which is provided to full-time students in contact study remains at R15 000 for the 2021 academic year, and the incidental allowance remains at R2900 (for students receiving the R15000, the incidental allowance is included). This is provided to students who live in catering accommodation where their meal costs are covered through the bursary. UNISA and distance-learning students who are taking an equivalent full-time course load, and who qualify for NSFAS, will also be eligible for this incidental allowance.

The travel allowance, which is provided to students who live at home or in accommodation that is not accredited (and therefore do not receive an accommodation allowance) remains at a maximum of R7500 for the 2021 academic year. In respect of the allowances provided, the policy provisions outlined in the 2020 Guidelines will remain in place for 2021.

The 2021 Guidelines will confirm the detail on all these issues once released.

I must indicate that the student funding policy of government which is provided to support students from poor and working class backgrounds (that is from families earning less than R350 000 per year) is a comprehensive one, because it provides support for both academic access and success.

We know that while access to appropriate support for students in full time study is one of many factors that support student success, it is indeed one of the most important. This is why government has committed such substantial funding to support students in public TVET colleges and universities. In many respects student support exceeds the earnings of many workers earning minimum wages and those who even earn below the minimum wage.

Government also has to ensure that it is able to meet other critical social obligations including social grants, support for school nutrition programmes, and effective support to the health system. These are the difficult balances that cabinet has to take into account when determining support for social expenditure.

I acknowledge that this period has been stressful for many prospective students wishing to enter post-school institutions as well as for their families.

I hope that today we have provided some assurance of the commitment of our government to addressing the funding needs of students from poor and working-class backgrounds in our higher education system, albeit under extreme difficult fiscal conditions. I look forward to a successful and peaceful academic year, and once again urge for all stakeholders to ensure constructive engagement around all issues they may face.

578 468 learners wrote the grade 12 examination in 2020. Of these, 210 820 learners achieved an NSC pass at Bachelor’s level; 150 600 learners achieved at Diploma level and 79 117 learners achieved at Higher Certificate level.

The available spaces for first time entering students for 2021 in the public university system as per the enrolment plan are 184 315 for the system as a whole.

In the scarce skills-areas the available first-time entering spaces are 67 863. Of these 16 647 are in the field of studies in Engineering, 17 161 in the field of study in Life and Physical Sciences, 10 155 in the fields of study of Human Health, 943 in the field of study of Animal Sciences, 211 in Veterinary Sciences and 22 746 in Initial Teacher Education.

One of the key sectors forming part of the sectoral master plans targeted for economic reconstruction and recovery as announced by President Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address is the agricultural industry.

I am pleased to announce that through the National Skills Fund (NSF) and the Agri-SETA joint funding, we will be providing bursaries to approximately 4000 students who are studying at agricultural colleges, using the NSFAS criteria. Such students are currently not being funded by NSFAS.

This funding will also ensure that we continue to step up support for black small-scale farmers and the implementation of the poultry master plan and the sugar master plan, amongst others.

We will ensure that we work very close with the Department of Agriculture and Agrarian reform to also restore the physical infrastructure of these Agricultural Colleges.

In conclusion, I want to take this opportunity to restate our vision and mission of a department of higher education and training that “of a South Africa in which we have a differentiated and fully-inclusive post-school system that allows South Africans to access relevant post-school education and training, in order to fulfil the economic and social goals of participation in an inclusive economy and society.

The Department’s mission is to develop capable, well-educated and skilled citizens who are able to compete in a sustainable, diversified and knowledge-intensive international economy, which meets the development goals of the country. This is our vision and mission to which Government is fully committed to.

I wish you all a safe, healthy and peaceful academic year. Let all remember to keep to all COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Thank you.

Research Prof Beesham takes ‘dark energy’ to international stage

Professor Beesham

Aroonkumar Beesham, Research Professor in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, has been selected to join an elite group of professors from Europe and Asia to discuss the “Recent Developments in Cosmology and Modified Gravity” in a series of webinars organised by the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India. The webinars take place from 9-11 March 2021.

Professor Beesham said he was selected to take part in the webinars because of his body of research in the field, and his familiarity with the conveners. He worked on alternative gravity theories, black holes, cosmic censorship hypothesis and currently dark energy in cosmology.

Professor Beesham said his topic will be “Dark Energy”, which he describes as “a mysterious form of matter that pervades the entire universe but can only be detected indirectly”. He said this energy was first inferred in 1998 by observations of distant stars and galaxies at the very edge of the universe by two groups of scientists. Dark energy is now regarded as the main unsolved problem in cosmology, said Professor Beesham.

The other speakers are from India, Japan, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Russia, and Netherlands.

Professor Beesham is also a Research Fellow at the University of Zululand, an Honorary Professor at UKZN, Senior Visiting Professor at GLA University, Mathura, India. He holds a B. Sc (Maths & Astronomy), B Sc Hons, M Sc (Maths) all from Unisa, and a PhD in Applied Maths from UCT. His research interests are General Relativity and Cosmology.

He is a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated scientist, with 176 accredited publications worldwide and 151 presentations at seminars, workshops, and conferences, both locally and internationally. He has collaborated with professionals from India, Japan, Iran, Italy, Russia, Istanbul, Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Italy.

Appreciation note to MUT academics

Professor Ramogale

At the EMC meeting held on 3 March 2021, Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal at MUT requested the Acting DVC: Teaching and Learning and Faculty Deans to express his gratitude to MUT academics for joining hands with him into untapped territories which entailed adapting to the new normal. The new normal emerged during Lockdowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant that academics had to move teaching and learning online; adapt a platoon system and use blended learning. The strategies worked. Kudos to every academic that gave their best in making the call to “Save Lives. Save the academic year” come to life. Kudos to every support staff member that provided support to this vision. The MUT 2020 academic year has ended successfully and for MUT this is mission accomplished. “Right at the outset, I was very clear with my management team that the mammoth task ahead was to save lives and to save the academic year. We amplified this message to everyone using multiple channels of communication. Today, we look back and are smiling that all of you made invaluable contributions to get us to where we are. Our University never had to shut down once it had opened. I am grateful to all of you for rising to the occasion and walking with us in driving the MUT Strategy 2025,” said Professor Ramogale.

New SRC emails to facilitate communication with students

Dr Ntuli

The Student Affairs Department is launching official email addresses for the Student Representative Council (SRC). Student Development Officer, Dr Mthoko Ntuli, said the purpose of this initiative was to facilitate smooth communication primarily between the SRC and students, as well as other stakeholders of the University. “This initiative also contributes to our effort to transform the student culture,” said Dr Ntuli.

The official emails are also meant to remind those who hold SRC office of the magnitude of the responsibility they have towards their constituency and the fact that they are part of the bigger formal structure of governance at MUT. The new SRC emails have been configured as SRC followed by position for all members (e.g SRCpresident@mut.ac.za).

The fact that the SRC’s address will now reflect the University, will contribute to the SRC’s effort to enhance their identity as the elected representatives of students. Dr Ntuli said that the University branded email address would be used solely to perform the duties of the SRC. This will help to streamline their communication and assist the SRC in executing its core mandate of attending to students’ needs.

Dr Ntuli added that the new manner of communicating was expected to shape the behavior of students as they became more familiar with email etiquette. “The email will also be used to communicate with other universities and the external world, and using the University email address will accord the SRC the respect they deserve. Dr Ntuli added that SRC members will be trained on email etiquette to ensure that they respond or send emails in a courteous, professional and responsible manner.