MUT shines the spotlight on risk

Philani Maphanga

In its many efforts to embed risk awareness and positive risk management across the University, the MUT Council and Executive Management Committee (EMC) have set systems in place to enable integration of risk management into daily operations of all departments and divisions at MUT.  Approval of policies and overall commitment by the two supreme structures at MUT is a commitment to setting the correct tone in relation to risk identification, mitigation, and management.

A forty-two-member structure of risk champions who represent all faculties, departments, units, and directorates was approved by EMC. This week the structure was taken through an informative training session coordinated by Risk and Compliance Directorate under the leadership of Zimasa Gwarube, Acting Director of Risk and Compliance.  The two-day training was facilitated by Philani Maphanga, Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), who shared his wealth of experience in the risk, audit and compliance environment with the trainees.  Maphanga is no stranger to MUT, he was invited as a graduation honouree in 2016 for the Faculty of Management Science’s graduation in recognition of his sterling work as a partner and director at PWC.

What stood out during the training was the importance of linking every risk to the strategic goals and objectives of MUT to employ risk management methods that would yield a positive balance between risks, opportunities, and hazards.  Outlining the objective for the approval of MUT Risk Champions as a structure, Maphanga explained that risk champions are like foot soldiers on the ground, and it is their responsibility to ensure that during departmental meetings, the subject of risk management is discussed, and mitigation of departmental risks is suggested and reported to the Risk and Compliance Directorate.

“Risk Champions are there to support Council and EMC in identifying, exploring mitigation and monitoring risks at MUT.  The preparedness of the University for future uncertain events like COVID-19, and other threats is important in achieving the goals of the Institution,” said Maphanga.

Maphanga pointed out that it has been proven that organisations that were in control of risk management were able to achieve their goals with ease, even at a time when the country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.  MUT is taking the same approach by putting in place good scenario planning for future uncertainties, Maphanga said.

Gwarube applauded management for its support and appreciated active participation of risk champions who have embraced their role in enabling MUT to take control of all types of current risks and put in place measures to deal with future risks.

Acting VC calls for re-invigoration of values

Professor Ramogale

Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal of MUT, has called for the restoration and strengthening of values to prevent future acts of civil unrest and looting like the ones that engulfed Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in the past week.

Speaking at the Executive Management Committee (EMC) meeting on Wednesday, Professor Ramogale said the acts of civil unrests and looting was a “reflection of a breakdown of values and moral blindness”.

He said the university needed to continue talking about these values and instilling them to staff and students at MUT. It is having strong values and ethics that would help our communities to maintain a firm ethical stand.

“We need to have a sense of outrage when things are wrong,” said Professor Ramogale.

Counselling services for students affected by civil unrest and looting

Dr Naidoo

The Student Counselling unit has invited students who may have been severely affected by disturbances of last week to communicate with the unit if they need counselling. Dr Paulette Naidoo, Director of Student Counselling, said the reason for this invitation was that the events of last week were likely to have had an adverse effect on students.

Dr Naidoo said: “Rampant violence, lootings, racial tensions and general unrest and instability of the past few weeks, have left individuals, families and communities vulnerable and traumatized. MUT students are not immune to such events. The recent spate of events is likely to place an additional strain on students’ emotional and psychological functioning and coping resources which are already compromised as a result of COVID-19 and disruptions to the academic programme.”

Dr Naidoo believes that the recent destruction and violence experienced by students has had a profound impact on their sense of safety, security, emotional stability and access to basic resources and necessities. As such, students may experience increased levels of anxiety, distress, fear, confusion, hopelessness, and uncertainty- all of which can affect their emotional and psychological functioning and their reintegration into the academic program as teaching and learning resumes. According to Dr Naidoo, the recent tragic events have ironically occurred during July- the month devoted to mental health awareness. Mindful of this, Dr Naidoo felt it necessary to draw attention to the importance of student mental health and self-care during this tumultuous period.

Dr Naidoo said what the students were going through is likely to have a long-term effect upon them.

The following are the emergency numbers (for after-hours and weekends) for students that need help:

Higher Health: 24-hour toll free helpline:  0800 36 36 36; SMS 43336

Lifeline: 0861 322 322;

South African Depression & Anxiety Group (SADAG): 0800 567 567;

SMS: 32312 or WhatsApp: 076 882 2775; Support Groups: 087 278 7047

24 hour helpline:  0800 456 789;

GBV Line: 0800428428

Keeping MUT secure and clean through thick and thin

Some members of the Servest security company. Nene is second from right

While everyone scurried for cover last week because of the mayhem that engulfed KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provinces, the protection services and the cleaning staff continued to come to work to keep the University secure and clean even at the time of crisis.

Both the protection and cleaning staff said it was not easy for them to come to work. One security staff member said they walked from almost the end of Umlazi Township in the west to the University.

Lesley Nene, Servest Supervisor, said some of his staff walked from Umlazi Township’s J section, some from Wema.  Zamaliphi Myeza walked 11,3 km from Ensimbini, on the outskirts of Umlazi Township in the southwest; Sithokozile Cele walked from Isipingo. There was no public transport as it was not safe for anyone. Nene and Ntombifuthi Ximba, Manager of the TSFM cleaning company, said that some staff members lodged with relatives near the University so that they can come to work. Nene added that while they were at their posts, ‘looters’ gave them signs that they would come for them.

“We shut all the gates, and did not allow anyone in. We were alert to anything,” said Nene.

Ximba said her staff also had to contend with difficult conditions as they made their way to work. “They also had to walk long distances as there was no transport.

The net result of the dedication shown by the protection and cleaning staff was a secured and clean University. The University Management confirmed that none of the University’s property was affected by the looting and rioting of last week.

TSC-assisted chemical manufacturer creates jobs

Some of the products that D Chem produces

Ntando Solontsi, Head of Sales at D Chem Group, a chemical manufacturer in Imbali Township, Pietermaritzburg, says now he has enough cash to look after his family. Solontsi is one of the nine employees in this firm that was founded by Nomandla Ngcoya in 2017. Six of these staff members are temporary, three are permanent.

Ngcoya’s love for this kind of science and her ambition to be a businessperson would not have been realised if it were not for the knowledge and guidance from Technology Station in Chemicals (TSC) through Sbu Nkosi, the Deputy Director: TSC, and Gugu Ngcobo, a technologist at the station.

The industry manufactures a wide range of industrial and home chemical products. Some of these are dishwashing liquid, hard surface cleaners, oven cleaner, thickened bleach, laundry bleach, car wash and wax, engine degreaser, and tyre polish.

These products are shipped to a strong clientele base that D Chem has established in the public and the private sectors.  Some of these are Umgeni Municipality, Msunduzi Municipality, Msunduzi Museum, Coative, Hlophe Butcheries, Afri Herbal Chemist, B&M Analysts, and Pukka Industries.

MUT registrar retires after about 28 years of service

Mike Naidoo

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Registrar, Mike Naidoo will retire from the University at the end of July due to ill-health. This is his 28th year of service at MUT.

Naidoo joined MUT in 1993 at head of Student Record and Enquiries Office, a year before South Africa’s democratic elections. He was appointed as registrar in 1996. Naidoo transformed registration from what it was when he joined the university to what it is now. He was also responsible for restructuring of the graduation ceremonies themselves.

As one of the longest serving senior leader at the institution, Naidoo was also a go-to person on institutional memory and university rules and procedures.

Announcing his impending retirement to the University community, Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal, said: “Mr Naidoo, the longest-serving member of MUT’s current Executive Management, retires after many years of distinguished and loyal service to the institution. The MUT he leaves today is a much bigger and more sophisticated institution than the one he joined many years ago, thanks to the creative contributions of stalwarts like him.”

What Naidoo will miss the most is “interaction” with staff and students although “COVID-19 eased that”.

“Sometimes it is painful when a student wants to see you to resolve the problem but you can’t meet them [because of COVID-19 regulations],” said Naidoo.

A send-off for Mr Naidoo might be hampered by the Risk-Adjusted Level 4 protocols.

MUT gears up for the institutional audit

Dr Suri Moodley

Soon after a meeting to discuss institutional audits of at least 21 universities between the Council for Higher Education (CHE) delegation and MUT executive management, the Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC) and the Quality Management Directorate (QMD), MUT developed a detailed project plan on how it will approach this important milestone.

At a meeting to lay down the plan, both Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal, and Dr Manyane Makua, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching & Learning gave praise to QMD led by Dr Suri Moodley.

“I appreciate your hard work within a short space of time”, said Dr Makua after Dr Moodley had outlined the project plan.

The project plan provides a blueprint guide of timelines that allow MUT to be ready at each point of the project. The project plan also moves further by segmenting teams and allocating the appropriate individuals to serve in each team.

The major team is the Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Ramogale and deputized by Dr Makua, as this Committee will provide overall oversight of the project and prepare the University community to develop a Self-Evaluation Report and arrange for varied hybrid meetings between MUT and the CHE.

Commenting on the organisation of this project within such a space of time, Professor Ramogale said: “I hope this sense of professionalism permeates in the work of various Task Teams that will support this project. Some of the Task Teams include the Reviewing Committee and the Institutional Quality Audit Task Team. Your professionalism therefore sets the tone for the Task Teams and that work must be done with focus and professionalism”.

World renown playwright and film director to collaborate with the TSC 

Dr Ngema, second from left, front, with TSC staff and his manager in one of the TSC labs

Legendary writer, director and theatre producer, Dr Mbongeni Ngema and Thobile Sam Mpondo on 7 July 2021 visited MUT’s Technology Station in Chemicals (TSC) to discuss possibilities of a collaboration in making products. They discussed creating household cleaning products like hard surface cleaners, among other possibilities

The TSC team, led by Sbu Nkosi, the Deputy Director of the station, elaborated on the business strategy they employ to assist emerging businesspeople. Nkosi said they assist businesspeople with creating new products, and with improving existing products. They also advise them on how to deal with the funding part of the business.

Nkosi told Dr Ngema that the business model that their funder, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), implements is that TIA contributes a large percentage of the funds, while the emerging business individual contributes the remaining lesser percentage. Nkosi assured Dr Ngema that their relationship with the TIA is based on accountability as its foundation. Their books are audited by the University, and their activities are reported at the highest government level. TIA is a government-funding agency. Nkosi also informed Dr Ngema and his manager, Mpondo, that when they start a new product, they follow a certain procedure.

“We will give you a form that you need to fill in to give the information we need. We will then start doing desktop research about what you are proposing to us. We will come up with several formulations, and then narrow those down to four. Then we will go on to the lab, and do some tests, until we arrive at the last stages. The stages include the client taking the new product to the public for testing. We then deal with the feedback from the public,” said Nkosi.

Dr Ngema, who is famous for producing Sarafina, said he was interested in household products and wanted to take advantage of the expertise that his team and the TSC have. He will be in charge of marketing and other strategies they have.

Dr Ngema said they wanted to build upon existing brand names which he called, “giving a brand more legs”. He has done it with some of the brands under his wing. For instance, there are now perfumes called ‘Sarafina’, and ‘Zulu’. These are offshoots of the two world-renowned motions pictures that Dr Ngema is associated with.

The TSC assists their clients with the production of detergents, household cleaning products, bath soaps, bath foam, and perfume.

TSC assisted body lotion manufacturer now supplies 136 Shoprite and Spar stores

Somkhanda Trading (PTY) Ltd Agave Jelly now in the shop shelves!

From its humble beginnings, Somkhanda Trading (PTY) Ltd is now supplying 136 Shoprite stores in KwaZulu-Natal. This success is a reflection of the help the business got from the University’s Technology Station in Chemicals (TSC).

Somkhanda manufactures the agave-infused jelly product called Agave Master, which it supplies to Shoprite, one of the retail giants in the country. S’busiso Nkosi, Deputy Director: MUT-TSC, said that with the help from the station, Somkhanda Trading (PTY) Ltd was able to commercialize this product and supply both Spar and Shoprite supermarkets with his products.

But it was not plain sailing for the completely Black-owned manufacturer. The company went through some tough times. For instance, while the original product was sold to individuals, it was discovered that the raw materials used for manufacturing were not of good quality.

Nkosi said that the TSC assisted with improving the product and developed both lavender and herbal agave jelly.

“The improved products were well-received by the market. The client got a contract to supply Spar Supermarkets in Durban. In June 2021 the client obtained a contract to supply 136 Shoprite stores in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Nkosi.

The client started with six stores.

TSC gives Eastern Cape business owner wings to fly 

One of many of Ncebakazi Sobai’s products

In 2019, Ncebakazi Sobai, owner of Sobag Trading, made a breakthrough against the odds, thanks to the assistance of TSC. She had been selling her products as a hawker. She used public transport.

Her ongoing benefits from engaging with the TSC are: skills upgrade, closeness of resource, continuous product improvement, proper product testing which assures quality, market readiness, and continuous coaching and mentorship. Through MUT incubation, Sobag Trading is now ready for to be a fully functional chemical industry. The company produces detergents, pine gel, multi-cleaners, hard surface cleaners, dishwashing liquid, bleach, and laundry washing powder.

In addition, Sobag is one of the beneficiaries of virtual sanitizer training which took place just before the first lock down in March 2020. Sobag has grown even further as the demand for the sanitizers has grown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Ncebakazi said they wanted to include beauty products and green detergents in the range. She currently supplying local retailers and many informal shops at Umthatha area. The Umthatha-based company has three permanent staff, including the owner. Ncebakazi said they hire more staff on a temporary basis if there is a demand.

MUT collaborates with eThekwini Municipality to address energy crisis and energy transition

Ntoi, right,  and Ntshalintshali, both seated, and some of the students and staff during the day of the symposium

The Faculties of Engineering, Management Sciences and Natural Sciences have collaborated with the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality to unpack how the institution could contribute to finding solutions to the energy crisis that has been affecting the country since 2008.

The result of the partnership was the symposium that took place at the University on 28 June 2021. The symposium was addressed by Sbu Ntshalintshali, Manager of the Energy Transition Portfolio at eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. Refiloe Ntoi, a Lecturer in the Department of Nature of Conservation, spearheaded the planning and the execution of the event. Ntshalintshali gave an informative lecture to the students and staff. The gist of his message was how the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality plays a proactive role in facilitating green economy of the country by prioritising the renewable energy agenda.

Ntshalintshali explained to the captivated audience the municipality’s roadmap. eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality’s Renewable Energy Roadmap gives direction for the city to generate 40% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by the year 2030 as per the Durban Climate Change Strategy and to achieve 100% of electricity being derived from renewable energy sources by the year 2050 as per the Climate Action Plan.

In addition, Ntshalintshali impressed upon the students and staff the need to learn about the various new renewable energy sources. “Please, always think of a hybrid of technologies to address the energy crisis issue,” he said. He talked about the problems and challenges that will accompany the country as it switches from being a single energy source, to being a diverse energy source. Ntshalintshali called this period a “transition”, and said the country was in a “crisis”. He said everyone had to ask themselves how they could contribute to the different parts to reduce energy emissions. He said the period the country was going through is both tough and exciting. It is going to result in job creation as new models of energy production will be employed, he said. Please, always think of a hybrid of technologies to address the energy crisis issue, he kept on reminding the students this fact.

Both Ntoi and Ntshalintshali are of the view that students with different skills have a lot to contribute to the new ways of energy generation. Both said the new sites where the new energy generating plants should be built would need staffing, this will require human resources skills; the sites will need proper assessment, this will need experts with natural sciences skills; and of course, the building jobs will need experts with engineering skills.   Ntshalintshali said South Africa will be able to grow the economy if the problems were approached this way. This will also be the ways to absorb part of the “73%” of unemployed youth, and create sustainable jobs, he said. Ntshalintshali encouraged the students to visit the relevant municipality website for more information, or communicate with him directly on social media to have further discussions on the renewable energy, and the role they could splay in the issue.

Ntoi told the students from all three faculties that “growing our economy will take more than one disciplinary approach. It needs a meeting of minds, an inter-disciplinary approach.” Ntoi said this was the reason why students from all faculties were invited to participate in this “critical” discussion forum. Ntoi emphasized that efforts towards securing renewable energy sources were in line with achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “particularly SDG7, which is “Ensuring Affordable and Clean Energy”.

Ntshalintshali suggested that everyone needed to be practical and realistic.

“There is no silver bullet for all the problems,” he said.

MUT’s TENUSA donates uniform to needy Umlazi Township children

Gwaji, left, front, with the learners who benefited, and the MUT staff

The “tremendous” community work done by Siza Community Care at Umlazi Township has caught the attention of the University’s TENUSA. Dr Thuli Duma, Lecturer in the Department of Human Resources and Management, said Siza Community Care is a non-governmental organisation that runs a soup kitchen for poor community members in Umlazi.  It also runs an orphanage.

Dr Duma said TENUSA considered the situation of children, especially the orphans during this cold rough winter season who are without necessary school uniform items like shoes. For this reason, on 24 June 2021, Dr Duma led a team of TENUSA members who donated to 28 pairs of shoes, shirts, skirts, and some pairs of trousers. The children that benefited are from primary to secondary schools.

She said the existing high unemployment rate, which has been exacerbated by the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic that is responsible for the death of many breadwinners, has resulted in some households being run by children.

The Director of the NGO, Ayanda Gwaji, said the community was “struggling, Covid-19 has taken its toll”. Gwaji thanked TENUSA for its donation, and said it was going to mitigate a dire situation. “It is very difficult to leave home wearing clothing that are in tatters. You feel like a laughingstock,” Gwaji said.

Ward 83 Counsellor, Bhekizazi Mngwengwe said the uniform would make the learners feel   part of the group, like everyone else.

Last year TENUSA donated the following food items to the orphanage: samp, beans, mealie meal, mana soup, potatoes, onions, and carrots.

When elephants and baobab trees share habitat, it’s the baobab that suffers – MUT Master’s study has found

Elephant eating a baobab tree – picture courtesy of Pinterest

It has become common knowledge that, “When elephants fight, the grass suffers, but when they make love, the grass suffers also”, courtesy of this African proverb. But what happens when these majestic and towering animals share a habitat with an equally imposing giant of the African continent, the iconic baobab tree, whose size is only best described by the Togolese proverb: “Wisdom is like a baobab tree: no one individual can embrace it.”?

This was the subject of inquiry for Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Master of Nature Conservation student, Dellan Steven Khosa. Khosa’s study was titled, Assessing effect of African elephant (Loxodontaafricana) on the African baobab trees (Adansoniadigitata) of the Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Khoza graduated with a Master of Nature Conservation qualification at MUT’s virtual graduation on 19 June 2021. He was part of the 13 Master’s students that the Department of Nature Conservation graduated this year, the highest number since the degree’s inception three years ago.

This study, which was conducted in 2019, found that the damage on baobab trees was increasing due to the impact of elephants in the park.

“Results show that 8% of baobab trees were found dead in 2019. Moreover, of 18 trees that had 100% debarking in 2005, one tree (equal to 6%) was found dead in 2019,” Khosa said. “The results furthermore illustrate that debarking has increased considerably since 2009 with the majority of trees (43%) in 2009 only being in class 2 (1-26% debarked), while in 2019 the majority of trees displayed 76-100% debarking (45% in class 5).”

Khosa explained that although the study found an increase in debarking, it did not find sufficient evidence to suggest that baobab mortality between 2009 and 2019 was a result of elephant impact.

Khosa’s study set out to engage with four critical objectives: “to determine the baobab density and spatial distribution and compare the structure of the baobab population across the two sections of the Mapungubwe National Park; to determine whether elephant damage caused death of the baobab trees and the proportion of baobab mortality between 2005-2009; to determine the extent elephant damage (debark & dieback % ) within the Eastern and Western sections and also determine which size class of the tree is most affected across the two sections of the park; and to determine whether trees could survive to 2019 if they were 100% debarked in 2005?”.

Khosa explained that with the knowledge of the damage that elephant can cause on the tree population, it was important to conduct the study at Mapungubwe National Park.

“Mapungubwe National Park was created to preserve biodiversity and cultural heritage in South Africa and is an open system park with a high population of African Elephants, as well as the iconic baobab tree,” said Khosa. “The potential for elephant damage is therefore of concern to the SANParks (South African National Parks).”

The study will contribute to critical conservation efforts at the park, especially now when baobab trees are on their way to becoming endangered species due to climate change.

MUT appoints a seasoned technologist to head Operations

Mpho Kau

MUT has appointed a seasoned technologist as Interim Senior Director: Operations. Mpho Kau has a quarter of a century of experience in the engineering field. Kau has worked in both public and private sectors.  He has also worked for government departments, and held top positions, including executive ones where he led teams of professionals in the built environment for the execution of various infrastructure projects.

In recent years, Kau was part of the DHET Support Team that played oversight on infrastructure delivery at universities, and provided support in the development of infrastructure delivery management capacity. Currently, he is a consultant in the civil engineering field.

Kau holds a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering and has been involved in the planning, design and construction monitoring of roads, bridges, storm water drains, and water and sanitation infrastructure.

Kau specialises in project management and infrastructure delivery management.

 

When elephants and baobab trees share habitat, it is the baobab that suffers – MUT Master’s study has found 

Press release statement

For immediate release: 30 June 2021

Submitted by: The Department of Marketing & Communications

Via email: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

 

When elephants and baobab trees share habitat, it is the baobab that suffers – MUT Master’s study has found 

It has become common knowledge that, “When elephants fight, the grass suffers, but when they make love, the grass suffers also”, courtesy of this African proverb. But what happens when these majestic and towering animals share a habitat with an equally imposing giant of the African continent, the iconic baobab tree, whose size is only best described by the Togolese proverb: “Wisdom is like a baobab tree: no one individual can embrace it.”?

This was the subject of inquiry for Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Master of Nature Conservation student, Dellan Steven Khosa. Khosa’s study was titled, Assessing effect of African elephant (Loxodontaafricana) on the African baobab trees (Adansoniadigitata) of the Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Khosa graduated with a Master of Nature Conservation qualification at MUT’s virtual graduation on 19 June 2021. He was part of the 13 Master’s students that the Department of Nature Conservation graduated this year, the highest number since the degree’s inception three years ago.

This study, which was conducted in 2019, found that the damage on baobab trees was increasing due to the impact of elephants in the park.

“Results show that 8% of baobab trees were found dead in 2019. Moreover, of 18 trees that had 100% debarking in 2005, one (1) tree (equal to 6%) was found dead in 2019,” Khosa said. “The results furthermore illustrate that debarking has increased considerably since 2009 with the majority of trees (43%) in 2009 only being in class 2 (1-26% debarked), while in 2019 the majority of trees displayed 76-100% debarking (45% in class 5).”

Khosa explained that although the study found an increase in debarking, it did not find sufficient evidence to suggest that baobab mortality between 2009 and 2019 was a result of elephant impact.

Khosa’s study set out to engage with four critical objectives: “to determine the baobab density and spatial distribution and compare the structure of the baobab population across the two sections of the Mapungubwe National Park; to determine whether elephant damage caused death of the baobab trees and the proportion of baobab mortality between 2005-2009; to determine the extent elephant damage (debark & dieback % ) within the Eastern and Western sections and also determine which size class of the tree is most affected across the two sections of the park; and to determine whether trees could survive to 2019 if they were 100% debarked in 2005?”.

Khosa explained that with the knowledge of the damage that elephant can cause on the tree population, it was important to conduct the study at Mapungubwe National Park.

“Mapungubwe National Park was created to preserve biodiversity and cultural heritage in South Africa and is an open system park with a high population of African Elephants, as well as the iconic baobab tree,” said Khosa. “The potential for elephant damage is therefore of concern to the SANParks (South African National Parks).”

The study will contribute to critical conservation efforts at the park, especially now when baobab trees are on their way to becoming endangered species due to climate change.

 

End/

MUT brings big guns to discuss the fight against COVID-19

More than 70 people took part online

On 22 June 2021, MUT held an online webinar to discuss Africa’s role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The guest speaker was Koffi Kouakou, a senior researcher at the University of Johannesburg’s Centre of Africa-China Studies. The session was chaired by Dr Tobius Poswa, Head of Department of Environmental Health at MUT.

Kouakou told the online interlocutors, and students from the Department of Environmental Health that attended the session that Africa’s spirit of unity, and some traditional approaches to the problem were making it possible for the continent to deal effectively with the pandemic which he described as “facing an enemy they cannot see”.

Kouakou said that Africa’s tradition of uniting, and talking about issues, was playing a major role limiting the spread of the problem. He emphasised the need for putting things into context when people are discussing issues. He delved a bit into the politics of the vaccine of the pandemic. Kouakou said it was not true that the vaccine from China was less effective than that from the West.

Commending how Africa was dealing with the pandemic, Kouakou said: “There is something that is happening in Africa that we can’t yet explain. It is working for us. African unity is at the centre of this,” he said.

Kouakou said it was encouraging how African leaders are dealing with the pandemic. African leaders managed to come together and did something. African leaders are looking for resources to deal with the scourge. At national level, African countries are dealing with problems in their own ways. They have applied different types of lockdowns. With the help of China; Zimbabwe has been able to vaccinate millions of people. Other countries are also taking effective decisions. Madagascar shut down its economy. Morocco is doing better than some European countries. At community level, the people are doing well.

He also commented on the role of the media in influencing what people think about the problem, and the decisions they take. He also mentioned that there are cases where the media have spread fake news and caused what he called ‘fearmongering’. To this end, he said proper communication was vital so that people can make informed decisions.

According to Kouakou, the problem is still massive; hence, the need for people to still comply with necessary protocols, particularly as the vaccination drive was at a slow pace. There are still knowledge gaps about the vaccination; how it will help the immune system, and how these work with the African traditional healing system, and the questions that are yet not answered.

Kouakou also mentioned that complying with the COVID-19 protocols also has a positive impact, and that values such as empathy, helpfulness, and caring, which can collectively be defined as ‘ubuntu’, all have a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19.

MUT EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity participants impress the judges

Dr Ngcobo, seated, right, with the winners and MUT staff and the judges

“If I had enough money, I would put my money in all these businesses,” said Dr Sakhile Ngcobo, one of the judges that adjudicated the EDHE Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Internal Rounds Competition recently. Dr Ngcobo, an MUT alumnus and an entrepreneur, applauded the students for the high standard of their presentations as they pitched their business ideas to a panel of four judges.

Of the 14 students that took part in the competition recently, four were judged as winners in various categories. In the innovative business idea category, there were two winners – Langalethu Malanda, and Mzamiseni Zondo.  Malanda’s business is Help A Student Organisation (HASO), while Zondo’s business is MK Beach Lockers. In the Existing Tech category, the winner was Wandile Sihiya. Sihiya’s business is called Pipe Boys Plumbing. The winners in the Existing Social Impact category were Makabongwe Sithole, with his Jabulani Foundation business, and Cebo Dlamini with his FIMDO business. The winners of the last category, the Existing General Business, were Njabulo Mzulwini, with his Love Beauty Salon business, and Lihle Zenzile, with her TM Project and Events business.

The overall purpose of the National Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Competition is to identify the top student entrepreneur at each of the 26 public universities in South Africa.

The competition also provides an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs in the ideation phase to pitch their innovative business ideas.  In the process, universities will have an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial talent and demonstrate the ways in which they support and grow the next generation of business leaders.

The winners of the internal competition are going to compete against DUT, UKZN and UniZulu in the next round.

MUT Master’s study establishes a link between erectile dysfunction and GBV

Lovejoy Ntshangase

A Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Master of Nature Conservation study has found a link between erectile dysfunction and Gender-Based Violence.

Nonkululeko Lovejoy Ntshangase’s study, titled Traditional knowledge on the use of Hippobromus pauciflorus as a herbal approdisac to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), uncovered that one of the main causes of GBV was erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction, explained Ntshangase, led to cheating.

“Men would get frustrated. They have fears. Others find it difficult to buy western medicine because everything is the open. It would have been easier if there was a private room where they could buy these western medicines. They say they are embarrassed by this situation,” said Ntshangase.

With the traditional medicine, no one gets to know, there is reasonable amount of privacy. However, some men have to take medication for chronic diseases. Ntshangase said because of the chronic diseases, the traditional medicines do not have the desired effects. For this reason, some men would over-compensate, and take more than what is required. For instance, a diabetic man would have his western medication wiped out by the traditional medicine. This would lead to health problems, Ntshangase said.

She added that some of the information about the effectiveness, or lack of the traditional medicines, was word of mouth. “I wanted to find out which one works,” said Ntshangase. “I tested the traditional medicines in the lab to determine what amount was not harmful.”

The critical part is that, as Ntshangase discovered, men that are mostly victims of erectile dysfunction are between 25 and 34 years old. She said this was because of the food that people eat and their lifestyle. She recommends eating healthy.

Ntshangase, who works at KZN Herbarium in Durban, conducted her research in some Durban hospitals, and a hospital in Nkandla, in in the north of KwaZulu-Natal. Her research was supervised by Professor Roger Coopoosamy, Acting Head of Department of Nature Conservation at MUT.

She is one of 13 Master of Nature Conservation students who graduated at this year’s virtual graduation. Other dissertations looked at the quality of water, invasive species, conservation laws in South Africa, coping with drought and climate change, among others. This is the third year the department is graduating its Master’s students.

Nhlanhla Tembe graduates with Diploma in Building at 54

Tembe and his wife

It was Henry Ford, co-founder of the Ford Motor Company, who once said: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

It is this spirit of continued learning that led Nhlanhla Tembe down the path of registering for a Diploma in Building (Construction Management and Quantity Surveying) at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT). Tembe was part of the 2812 graduates who received their qualifications at MUT’s virtual graduation on Saturday, 19 June 2021. He was the oldest graduate at 54 years of age; the youngest graduate is 35 years his junior, at just 19.

Tembe comes from a family that encourages attaining university qualifications. Among his siblings, there is a doctor and an engineer, to name a few. Having family members with university qualifications inspired him to also chat his path in higher education.

“When you are in a circle of people with all these qualifications, you feel that you must achieve something too,” he said.

Tembe was drawn to a qualification in building because of his almost two decades experience in construction sites.

“Most of the time I was self-employed.  I was in the signage business in building sites,” said Tembe. “I worked for almost 20 years in that business; and I saw that it (construction) is something that I can do at university now.”

But attaining a university qualification was not going to be an easy task. When Tembe initially came to register for his Diploma in Building in 2017, he was under the impression that he would be studying part-time, which was not the case. He registered for full-time study nonetheless.

“This was a dream that I had, and with the help of my wife that dream came true,” said Tembe. “My wife has been a pillar for me.”

Unlike his younger counterparts, Tembe had the pressures of family life, working part-time and studying full-time to contend with.

However, the thought of reading for an undergraduate qualification with his son, who is 17 this year, was yet another motivating factor.

Feeding the soul through poetry

Nokuphiwa Dlamini

Poetry is a fantastic way for youngsters to express themselves. It is also a great method to broaden your vocabulary, which helps with both self-expression and communication. Writing and reading poetry have extremely therapeutic effects on the soul due to their presentation of feelings and words. A poem’s form encourages simplicity, yet the best poems also capture precise detail, making them extremely effective at conveying a message to the receiver.

MUT Radio was recently launched on June 16, a celebrated public holiday where the nation commemorates youth day. This week, the station has been buzzing with new segments of the youth displaying their talents.

A highlight talent this week has been poetry reading by Sinelile Phoseka and Nokuphiwa Dlamini. Phoseka read out her poem live on radio on Wednesday, 23 June 2021. She spoke in IsiZulu and expressed her challenges and victories of loving to learn and being a student at MUT. Phoseka highlighted the feelings of homesickness, disorganization and being overwhelmed by academic pressure, the journey of repeatedly failing, missed opportunities and the constant notion of taking that with strides and continue to try again as you persevere to reach graduation.

Dlamini expressed the feelings of uneasiness. She highlighted her struggles with mental health and how “she is collecting herself from her mistakes”. She is pushing forward from the teachings of life. She is indeed rising above from the pains of depression the feelings of isolation. She is collecting herself as she enters a new era in her life where she sees the bad and good of life. She was once a pessimist and focused only on the negative but now she tries to see the glass half-full as opposed to half-empty.

MUT responds to The Mercury article

Press release statement

For immediate release: 27 June 2021

Submitted by: Department of Marketing and Communications

MUT responds to The Mercury article

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) wishes to set the record straight on the inaccuracies published on The Mercury news article with the headline, MUT facing independent assessment, asked to halt suspensions, published on Friday, 25 June 2021. MUT wishes to correct the following:

  1. The article presents the recent departure of certain individual from the MUT Council as evidence that “their views are contrary to the directions and actions taken by the Council”. This is simply not true. Dr Fazel Randera’s two terms on the MUT Council ended last year. Monde Mondi completed his term this year. Dr Vijay Reddy cited her workload as the reason for her exit early in the year. Dr Zethu Qunta and Professor Niek Grove resigned recently citing personal reasons. It is important to note that many members of our Council have other responsibilities outside of Council that requires their time and effort. Their role in our Council often comes at a great personal and sometimes financial sacrifice. We are grateful for the contributions that these members made to our Council.
  2. The MUT Council and the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande are currently engaged in formal processes on how to assist the University to deal with issues that have been of interest to the public.

It is unfortunate that the media seem to have taken a decision to embark on a relentless campaign to discredit the University and its leadership in the court of public opinion while ignoring the University’s efforts in ensuring that classes continue uninterrupted and that students get quality education. It is even more puzzling that even after making information about graduation available, the reporter does not even allude to the MUT graduation and the fact that MUT increased the number of its graduates by 11%, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University calls upon the media not to be a purveyor of divisive disinformation and to report responsibly and objectively.

 

Ends

MUT Master’s study establishes a link between erectile dysfunction and GBV

Press release statement

For immediate release: 24 June 2021

Submitted by: The Department of Marketing & Communications

Via email: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

 

MUT Master’s study establishes a link between erectile dysfunction and GBV

A Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Master of Nature Conservation study has found a link between erectile dysfunction and Gender-Based Violence.

Nonkululeko Lovejoy Ntshangase’s study, titled Traditional knowledge on the use of Hippobromus pauciflorus as a herbal approdisac to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), uncovered that one of the main causes of GBV was erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction, explained Ntshangase, led to cheating.

“Men would get frustrated. They have fears. Others find it difficult to buy western medicine because everything is the open. It would have been easier if there was a private room where they could buy these western medicines. They say they are embarrassed by this situation,” said Ntshangase.

With the traditional medicine, no one gets to know, there is reasonable amount of privacy. But some men have to take medication for chronic diseases. Ntshangase said because of the chronic diseases, the traditional medicines do not have the desired effects. For this reason, some men would over-compensate, and take more than what is required. For instance, a diabetic man would have his western medication wiped out by the traditional medicine. This would lead to health problems, Ntshangase said.

 

She added that some of the information about the effectiveness, or lack of the traditional medicines, was word of mouth. “I wanted to find out which one works,” said Ntshangase. “I tested the traditional medicines in the lab to determine what amount was not harmful.”

The critical part is that, as Ntshangase discovered, men that are mostly victims of erectile dysfunction are between 25 and 34 years old. She said this was because of the food that people eat and their lifestyle. She recommends eating healthy.

Ntshangase, who works at KZN Herbarium in Durban, conducted her research in some Durban hospitals, and a hospital in Nkandla, in in the north of KwaZulu-Natal. Her research was supervised by Professor Roger Coopoosamy, Acting Head of Department of Nature Conservation at MUT.

She is one of 13 Master of Nature Conservation students who graduated at this year’s virtual graduation. Other dissertations looked at the quality of water, invasive species, conservation laws in South Africa, coping with drought and climate change, among others. This is the third year the department is graduating its Master’s students.

 

End/

 

Nhlanhla Tembe graduates with Diploma in Building at 54

Press release statement

For immediate release: 24 June 2021

Submitted by: The Department of Marketing & Communications

Via email: Hlophe@mut.ac.za

 

Nhlanhla Tembe graduates with Diploma in Building at 54

 

It was Henry Ford, co-founder of the Ford Motor Company, who once said: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

It is this spirit of continued learning that led Nhlanhla Tembe down the path of registering for a Diploma in Building (Construction Management and Quantity Surveying) at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT). Tembe was part of the 2812 graduates who received their qualifications at MUT’s virtual graduation on Saturday, 19 June 2021. He was the oldest graduate at 54 years of age; the youngest graduate is 35 years his junior, at 19.

Tembe comes from a family that encourages attaining university qualifications. Among his siblings there is a doctor and an engineer, to name a few. Having family members with university qualifications inspired him to also chat his path in higher education.

“When you are in a circle of people with all these qualifications, you feel that you must achieve something too,” he said.

Tembe was drawn to a qualification in building because of his almost two decades experience in construction sites.

“Most of the time I was self-employed.  I was in the signage business in building sites,” said Tembe. “I worked for almost 20 years in that business; and I saw that it (construction) is something that I can do at university now.”

But attaining a university qualification was not going to be an easy task. When Tembe initially came to register for his Diploma in Building in 2017, he was under the impression that he would be studying part-time, which was not the case. He registered for full-time study nonetheless.

“This was a dream that I had, and with the help of my wife that dream came true,” said Tembe. “My wife has been a pillar for me.”

Unlike his younger counterparts, Tembe had the pressures of family life, working part-time and studying full-time to contend with.

However, the thought of reading for an undergraduate qualification with his son, who is 17 this year, was yet another motivating factor.

 

MUT to host seminar on how Africa should unite to fight COVID-19

A press statement for immediate release

20 June 2021

 

MUT to host seminar on how Africa should unite to fight COVID-19

 On Tuesday 22 June, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) will host a webinar, titled: Africa Unite Against COVID-19, as part of its efforts to raise awareness on COVID-19.

The webinar, which will be chaired by Dr Thobile Poswa, Head of Department of the Environmental Health Department, arose after the Department of Marketing and Communications began analysing how Africa was being side-lined in vaccine distribution but at the same time being resilient to COVID-19.

The Department of Environmental Health became a natural partner because part of its research deals with alternative medicine, which could provide explanation for some of the resilience of Africa.

Professor Kakkau Koffi, Senior Research fellow at the Centre for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg will lead discussions during the webinar and will provide some insights into how African countries are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, how values intrinsic to Africa could have contributed to this resilience and how African unity could become an important strategy in the fight against COVID-19.

Students across all universities are invited to attend as well as faculty, staff and various stakeholders.

The webinar will commence promptly at 12h00 and will take an hour.

 

Submitted by the Marketing & Communications Department

20 June 2021

 

End/