This week introduce to you a new communication platform called ‘From the Transformer’s Desk’. This vehicle will be delivering news about transformation at the University on a regular basis. The first word in the Vision for the MUT Strategy 2025 is “ to be transforming….” What does this mean for the University? That if we want to see change in 2025, we should embark on a journey of transformation. Transformer will look into our organisational resources such as people, data, and infrastructure and today we look at the transformed entrance. What is your Transformation at MUT? You are welcome to share your transformation with the Transformer’s Desk.
The Department of Public Administration and Economics has been granted permission to offer an Advanced Diploma in Public Management. The Head of the Department, Dr Bhekabantu Ntshangase said the department would start offering the programme from 2020.
“The new offering is at NQF Level 7, and carries 120 points, as was reported by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The opportunity to offer this is positioning the department in an appropriate trajectory to stand among nationally-recognised Public Administration and Management departments, and become one of the departments that respond to the educational and research needs of our society,” said Dr Ntshangase.
Dr Ntshangase said that by offering the programme, the department is taking steps towards contributing to the University’s goal of offering postgraduate qualifications to enhance skills and competencies of workforce more especially in the public service. “Furthermore, this will enhance research activities at MUT and will improve research output for the university,” said Dr Ntshangase.
The philosophy of working as teams instead of working in silos is gaining traction. This is the direction that Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, Vice-Chancellor & Principal would like to see happen at MUT. From the word go, Dr Malaza appealed to the University to adopt a solutionist approach when there are problems. This is now paying off.
An inter-departmental collaboration, led by Senior Director: Operations, Muzi Khumalo, involving Occupational Health & Safety, MarComms, as well as Risk & Compliance, is driving safety awareness among students and staff. The online MUT Safety Campaign is on all our social media platforms – mainly Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This campaign has captivated students and they are engaging with it positively. “The campaign is raising awareness on substance abuse and crime and shows how the University will deal with these misdemeanors. At the same time, we want students to know that being forewarned is being forearmed. They need to know how to act in the event they become victims to various criminal acts such as rape, sexual abuse, to mention a few,” said Lizwi Masondo, Occupational Health & Safety Officer.
“There are 1 500 impressions and 427 engagements as we speak. This is huge, it indicates that students are sharing and liking the posts across various social media platforms,” said Lisa Mbongwa (@lisa_fj), who is monitoring all the social media platforms.
Dr Malaza has been vocal about Gender-based violence and xenophobia, and the time to act is now. The inter-departmental collaboration indeed shows that if we are not united we fall.
The Department of Human Resources & Development hosted a two-day workshop on recruitment and selection on 11 and 12 November. The overall goal was to equip staff that participate in recruitment with knowledge to help them select the right candidates for their department’s purpose. The workshop, which was held at the Senate Chamber, comes at the back of MUT Strategy 2025 which is now at an advanced stage. The workshop focused on ways to probe the candidates into revealing their behavioural qualities in interviews, which are often the decider on whether one can succeed in the new role. “These qualities are crucial for an organisation especially when you are trying to strengthen your organisational culture,” said Ron Scherer, POP Training and Consulting founder. “Matching the right personal behaviour or trait to a position will help the university to have people who are fit for the purpose.” The workshop will be followed by another two-day workshop for senior staff members in the beginning of next year.
Dr Anette Mienie is smiling all the way to the NRF these days. MUT’s research output is growing. An observation also noted by the Senate sitting of 7 November 2019. A support staff member has just obtained an NRF rating. Dr Reshma Subbaye, Director: Monitoring, Evaluation and Research at the Institutional Planning and Research (IPR) Directorate, has been granted an NRF C3 rating, which is valid from 1 January 2020. “It is my pleasure to be the first person to congratulate you with your NRF rating. You have done MUT proud,” said Dr Anette Mienie, Research Directorate Director, as she congratulated Dr Subbaye. An elated Dr Subbaye responded in kind, thanking Dr Mienie for her support. “If it hadn’t been for your advice, I would have pulled out my application. I am so happy, yet humbled, by this rating, especially since I am not an academic member of staff. Again – thank you so much for facilitating the process and keeping me informed each step of the way,” said Dr Subbaye.
Three senior staff members have been appointed in the Directorate of Operations, and the Directorate of Audit, Risk and Compliance, to improve the two directorates’ service offering to the University. All individuals that have been appointed have vast experience in their respective fields.
Muzi Khumalo, Senior Director: Directorate of Operations, said the appointments in his directorate were addressing the inefficiencies of the past, where there were no dedicated personnel responsible for respective standing functions. “The appointments bring stability in the directorate. This is a milestone that will ensure improvement of accountability, governance and accelerated service delivery. Now the directorate is in an even stronger position to meet its 2020-2025 strategic goals,” said Khumalo.
The new appointees started working at MUT at the beginning of November. Sboniso Mthembu, who has been appointed Acting Head: Procurement and Stores, has worked at the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) as Strategic Sourcing Consultant for Information and Communication Technology. He also worked for the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) as a procurement manager for KwaZulu-Natal. Mthembu also worked at the province’s treasury department as a Deputy Director for Provincial Supply Chain Management Unit. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (UKZN, National Diploma in Public Management from Msunduzi TVET, and a Programme in Public Procurement and Supply Management from UNISA, among others. In October, the Directorate of Operations was joined by Amile Ndelu, as buyer in the Procurement and Stores unit, and Silindelo Mchunu, as Head of Department: Electrical.
Malindi Xala, who has been appointed as Director: Infrastructure, brings a formidable portfolio in the built environment. Malindi has undergone a Comprehensive Project Management Programme for Built Environment Practitioner from the University of Pretoria, and a BSc in Property Development from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Malindi also has relevant training courses and certificates. She has been working in the built environment for over 13 years.
The University will also benefit from the experience of Kenyata Makhoba. Makhoba is the new Works Manager, who has a Bachelor in Architectural Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “I am doing my Masters in the same field,” he said. Makhoba also has certificates in relevant fields.
All three managers said they would like to implement improvements in their units, given their vast knowledge and experience. “I would like to improve workplace culture to a more service-oriented culture. Our culture should be service provider based. We need to be more accountable. We will work on a performance management system. We need to learn to regard other units as our clients who will judge us based on our performance,” said Makhoba.
The University also welcomed two staff members to the Risk and Compliance Directorate. Zimasa Gwarube is now the new Manager of the unit, while Thobile Makhanya is the new Internal Auditor. Gwarube holds the certified Internal Auditor certificate and a Bachelor of Commerce (in Accounting). She was an Internal Audit Manager at Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo Grant Thornton for 10 years.
In its efforts to develop its neighbourhood, which is part of the University’s Anchor Strategy, the Department of Nature Conservation organised a workshop in which members of communities from the immediate surroundings were given a lecture by the ERR Wildlands. ERR Wildlands provides skills and knowledge to the community, and provides stipend to the youth that are part of the ERR project. ERR Wildlands will also provide job opportunities to nearby community members for a period of five months. These job opportunities will start in November 2019. Selected community members will mainly focus on controlling an alien weed called parthenium hysterophorus.
On 5 November 2019 the selected youth were taken through an induction by the ERR Wildlands staff on the application of the herbicide. Commenting on the importance of the training, Sithembile Nkosi, a lecturer in the department said: “The collaboration is a great opportunity for our neighbours, since being in contact with the plant over a long period can cause serious health issues such as skin problems and asthma.
A very confident MUT Cricket Vice-Captain, Mlungisi Nxumalo said they were more than ready for the gruelling USSA feature as they will be traveling to the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) on 24 November 2019. “We have played three matches in the Division 7 KZN District, under the Durban District Cricket Union. We have won two matches. Our biggest winning margin was 163 runs against Simplex on 12 October 2019. Also, the fact that five of our players play for Premier League and Challenge Reserve teams means there is a lot of experience in our team. Our captain, Philani Zulu, and Sandile Phakathi, play for the Warriors, who are a Premier League outfit,” said Mlungisi. The cricket team will play five one day (ODI) matches between 26 and 29 November 2019.
The cricket team is one of the five teams the University is sending out to compete at various places across the country. The other teams are football, which is going to compete at the University of Witwatersrand; the chess team, which is going to square up against other teams at Rhodes University; and the boxing and aerobics teams will be at Secunda in the Mpumalanga Province. All the teams will play between 2 and 6 December 2019.
Bongile Ganyile of the sport department said all teams were prepared for the games; they were doing well in the local set-ups and did not have reasons to doubt their performance in the USSA games. “Our football team is in the first position on the SAB League at eThekwini,” said Ganyile.
Meet Thobeka Mncwango, Deputy President of the newly-elected MUT Student Representative Council (SRC). She is a second-year Public Administration student from Esikhawini, in northern KwaZulu-Natal. For Mncwango, it was MUT or nothing. Her sister had already paved the way for her. A proud alumna of MUT, her sister graduated with a qualification in Public Administration in 2014. Mncwango had no choice but to follow suit.
Her main objective as the SRC Deputy President is to see student issues resolved in a speedily manner and to see the university continue to operate as normal. Mncwango ran for a position in the SRC because she “wanted to be part of the people who bring change at MUT. I wanted to deal with student issues, to be that person who is there to listen when there are issues and to take those issues forward,” said Mncwango.
Thobani Ndlovu is the Treasurer General of the SRC. Ndlovu is a BTech Engineering student from Dokodweni. He is no stranger to SRC leadership. In the 2017/2018 SRC, Ndlovu was a Sports Officer. It was in this position where he learned valuable lessons about the difference between getting elected and the realities of delivering on election promises. “I learnt how to lead people, how to handle pressure when the people are angry, and dealing with different tempers and expectations,” said Ndlovu.
Ndlovu registered to study at MUT in the first place because his older brother was reading for a qualification in Electrical Engineering at MUT. “I decided that it would be easier at MUT with someone I could go to when I have a problem than being in a place where I don’t have anyone,” said Ndlovu.
A turning point in Ndlovu’s academic life was when he encountered a learner who was scammed out of her money under the disguise of getting her registered and finding her a place in residence. This incident inspired Ndlovu to take up leadership positions in order to serve students and potential students.
In its efforts to continue producing quality graduates, and contributing in the development of different communities across the country, the Department of Electrical Engineering has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Dr Chrispin Mulangu of the department said they signed the MOU for the CSIR to deploy low-cost spectrum monitoring (LCSM) units at MUT. The LCSM are part of national research infrastructure, among other things. The LCSM would assist MUT staff and students to collect data for research and education in spectrum engineering. Spectrum management is the process of regulating the use of radio frequencies. Frequency management or spectrum engineering research has the potential to improve spectrum utilisation efficiency and capacity of national wireless Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure. This could contribute towards bridging the digital divide and support the creation of digital industry and knowledge economy in line with the broadband connectivity target set out in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) as guided by the National Development Plan (NDP) of South Africa, vision 2030. The project is expected to absorb four S4 students for P1 and P2 in-service training. The students will be exposed to cutting-edge technology.
Chief Research Scientist at the CSIR, Dr Fisseha Mekuria, said the CSIR decided to sign the MOU with all previously disadvantaged institutions. So far it has sign such an agreement with the University of Zululand, University of Fort Hare, and the North West University. The MOU has a five year span, and is renewable. “It is now up to MUT students and staff to take advantage of the technology we have donated. The aim is to empower the students and staff to develop innovations that will positively impact upon their immediate communities,” said Dr Mekuria.
The Department of Electrical Engineering will be liaising with Mlamuli Vilakazi, who graduated from the same department in 2018. Vilakazi did his work integrated learning and an internship at the CSIR. He is now an Electronic Technician in the company.
Amid the joy and fanfare in a Durban hotel, the Senior Director of the Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC), Dr Manyane Makua announced that his directorate was rebranding its colloquium, which has been running for seven years. From 31 October 2019 the flagship of the directorate will be known as Focus Conference. “We want to put emphasis on teaching and learning matters as these areas are our primary focus,” said Dr Makua. Both Dr Makua and Dr Muntuwenkosi Chili of the TLDC, told the excited MUT staff and guests that have received numerous recommendations from MUT staff to consider rebranding the colloquium into a conference because it had all the elements of a conference. “By definition, a ‘colloquium’ is generally associated with a local event. Sometimes it is an institutional event where the university community meets to talk about a subject for a couple of hours. We have always been bigger than that. We want to have our footprint on a national and international stage,” said Dr Chili. The ‘conference’ would give MUT a chance to work with high-end journals. It would also attract seasoned researchers in the field of teaching and learning. The University is expected to start benefiting from the change over from the very first day of the re-branding as calls for interests in presenting in the ‘conference’ have already been made.
Dr Makua added that the ‘conference’ was going to be preceded by important events. There will be a teaching week, in which non-academic staff members, and experts from other institutions would be teaching students. “Even the VC, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, could get a chance to teach,” said Dr Makua. What was the highlight of the event was the conference logo, which was designed by a Mechanical Engineering student, Scelo Qwabe.
In an effort to ensure that all students who are foreign nationals are given the services they deserve, and those that are on the wrong side of the law are assisted, the Department of Home Affairs visited MUT on 15 October 2019. Such visit is set to assist the institution with streamlining its processes and comply with immigration laws with respect to such non-South African students. Nompumelelo Tyobeka, Deputy Director: Stakeholder Management in the department, said even though the University does not have students who are asylum seekers and refugees, they wanted the University to be prepared for such students. They wanted to ease the administrative necessities for the students. “We would like to enable the University’s system to verify the validity of documents for asylum seekers and refugees,” she said.
Zolisa Gqamane, Deputy Registrar: Academic Administration, said they were happy with the initiative taken by the Department of Home Affairs. He said sharing information with the department would assist the University in asylum and refugee cases if they crop up.
The KZN premier, honourable Sihle Zikalala has commissioned a special task team from the Provincial Public Service Training Academy (PPSTA), led by Fazal Safla to share areas of collaboration between the provincial government and institutions of higher learning in the province.
An inaugural visit was hosted by Prof Alfred Msomi, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office on 25 October at MUT. The collaboration is in line with the provincial growth development plan and vision 2035 which calls for Vice-Chancellors and curriculum planners to seat on the same table with provincial policymakers to craft a way for universities to support the provincial government in implementation of policies as outlined in the national and provincial priorities 2019-2024 document.
Safla shared with the MUT team that the premier is in the process of constituting a Human Resource Development (HRD) Council and is inviting all university Vice-Chancellors in the province to take membership in the Council. A cooperation agreement between MUT and the government is being put together. The agreement will outline areas of collaboration and roles and responsibilities between the two partners. “Top in the agenda for this cooperation agreement is a joint economic and HRD Council colloquium tentatively scheduled for March 2020. The colloquium which will be co-hosted by universities in the province will discuss amongst issues the alignment of institutional programme mix with the skills needs of the province. As the premier’s office we see MUT playing a major role in the colloquium through facilitation of sessions, and paper and poster presentations,” said Safla.
He further said that the outcomes of the cooperation and partnership would include transformation of the academic profile of institutions within the province; representation of MUT and other universities in KZN provincial committees; skills planning and reporting; graduate tracking; and addressing the gaps and unfair distribution of internship and work opportunities across institutions in the province.
“We welcome the opportunity to be given a voice as MUT in the governance issues in our province. As Universities we have a lot of expertise that has remained untapped, this partnership will also enhance the MUT Anchor strategy as it touches on understanding social challenges within the province,” said Prof Msomi.
A series of follow up meetings are already in the pipeline with both parties preparing to contribute positively in the growth of the economy of KZN.
Many universities across the world have started embracing Open Access publishing of research produced by staff and students to improve access to peer-reviewed knowledge. This is particularly important for research that is meant to bring solutions to communities. Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is not being left behind as this movement of Open Access publishing sweeps through universities.
On Thursday, 31 October 2019, the MUT library commemorated the International Open Access Week with presentations on usage and advantages of Open Access.
The MUT Library Services Senior Director, Dr Nthabiseng Mosala-Bryant told the audience that Open Access would pave the way for the internal repository which would save the University money. “The whole Ebscohost suite is R3 million per year,” said Dr Mosala-Bryant.
Dr Mosala-Bryant told the audience that Open Access makes research widely accessible to the public making the application of findings more likely. This means that research that is meant to solve societal issues is easily accessible to those that needs it. Dr Mosala-Bryant also went on to warn the audience about predatory publishers that take advantage of the Open Source movement by charging exorbitant publishing fees, requiring transfer of copyright and offering optional fast track fee-based review.
Lindiwe Khumalo, Institutional Repository Librarian at the University of KwaZulu-Natal presented on her university’s research data repository named Yobelana.
Dr Anette Meanie, Director of the Research Directorate at MUT, used the platform to congratulate MUT rated-researchers. She encouraged more researchers to apply for rating.
To cultivate a culture of ethical leadership, Mangosuthu University of Technology took its management staff through on a two-day leadership workshop at Zimbali, north of Durban on 28 and 29 October 2019. The workshop, which was organised by the TLDC; focused on management and leadership, technology and the changing world of work.
In his opening address, MUT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, talked about the significance embracing the institution’s values as a moral campus of our work at MUT. Dr Malaza reminded participants that part of his leadership style was to let people who perform their work without interference from him. But this was often an issue at MUT. “At MUT you get the comments that so and so are becoming too powerful or too visible, if you do the work I let you lead,” said Dr Malaza. Dr Malaza also singled out promoting diversity as important for the University. “If we promote diversity, we will emerge as richer individuals and MUT will be an even richer place. I value the diversity I see at EMC,” said Dr Malaza. The workshop was facilitated by Werner Landman, a business consultant from The Core Group.
The scourge of depression, anxiety and its negative effects amongst youth in South Africa and especially tertiary students has become a serious concern for health professionals in the higher education sector. To increase awareness on campus, the Student Counselling Unit in partnership with eThekwini Municipality and Coastal Mental Health, ran a campaign on 16 October at the MUT’s Faculty of Natural Sciences. The campaign was also in commemoration of Mental Health awareness month. The events of October 16 were themes: Depression and suicide.
Dr Paulette Naidoo, Director of Student Counselling, said the national and international statistics on student mental health reflected how serious the problem was. “Students in higher education institutions are particularly vulnerable to developing depression and anxiety because of the unique academic, emotional and social adjustment stressors which they experience when entering a higher education institution. Our unit provides ongoing support for students through various activities that include orientation, adjustment programmes, individual counselling and psychotherapy, as well as personal development and life skills workshops,” said Dr Naidoo.
Dr Naidoo added that the Student Counselling unit also engages in ongoing awareness campaigns aimed at educating MUT students about mental health issues and encouraging help-seeking behaviours. “During the day, students engaged with peer helpers on issues of mental health, as well as seeking information on referral procedures and practical ways of assisting their fellow students who may be facing personal problems. The mental health awareness initiatives were supported by the newly-elected SRC,” said Dr Naidoo.
Dr Naidoo stressed the importance of destigmatising mental health among the student population and appealed to all students to adopt a proactive approach to mental health by encouraging each other to make use of the service on campus.
Members of the Umlazi Comtech High School’s music band are in awe at the support they receive from the University. On 17 October 2019, the Director: Stakeholder Relations at MUT, Zama Sishi, gave the young learners a hamper with goodies and treated them to lunch at the Hilton Hotel as a gesture to thank them, and their music teachers for the support they give to the University. The band’s talent has been lauded by guests who had the privilege of being serenaded to great jazz renditions when the band performs at MUT events. The quality of their performance has been commended and appreciated by the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, and the Founder of the University, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, among others.
Sishi said they continue to be amazed by the quality of the music composed by the band made up of such young people. “One of our goals as a University located in Umlazi Township is to have a solid relationship with our immediate communities. This is part of the agenda of the MUT strategy 2025 through its anchor strategy. Local schools are part of the communities we would like to work with. Umlazi Comtech is one of the natural partners that are fitting into the plan like a glove.” Sishi said they received tremendous support from the school’s management, which is led by Nkosinathi Shandu, the Principal of the school.
The band’s lead vocalist, Nhlakanipho Phewa, who is in grade 11, said they feel blessed to have MUT as a support system. Another grade 11 learner, Phumelela Zondi, a bass guitarist in the band, said they were greatly honoured, and appreciate the love they got from the University. He said no other university had shown so much care towards them.
The University has donated music instruments to the school as a gesture that has been highly applauded by the band mentor Xolani Hlongwa. Accepting two guitars from Dr Malaza in 2018, just after the Vice-Chancellor’s inauguration, Hlongwa said the band’s new guitars were going to go a long way in assisting them achieve their goals.
The year is almost over and for universities that means senior students get to leave and new first-year students join the university cycle. Mangosuthu University of Technology invests resources to support first-year students to ensure that their transition from high school into university is seamless. It is this intervention during the transition that paves the way for student success.
In preparation for the 2020 cohort of first year-students, the Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC) hosted the first of a series of First Year Experience (FYE) workshops on 16 and 18 October 2019.
“The workshops are aimed at alerting MUT staff, both academic and non-academic, to their roles and responsibilities within the FYE project,” said Arthi Ramrung, Chemistry Lecturer and FYE project leader. “The first round of workshops is focused on the role academic staff play in the life of a first-year student; and these workshops have been offered to the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Management Science.”
Staff, explained Ramrung, valued the content of the workshop and many expressed the importance that such conversations have on development of students. The workshop, which was engaging and informative, will also be offered to staff in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
“It is important to note that the success of a first-year student is everyone’s business and we each have a role to play,” Ramrung said.
Ramrung added that she was finalising the FYE programme with her team and that the goal was to form a team that represents all University stakeholders. To this end, she extended an invitation to any University staff member who would want to be part of the FYE team.
The Founder of Africa’s oldest political organisation, the African National Congress, Dr Pixley ka-Isaka Seme, has been put in his rightful place, thanks to the efforts of the University, the Seme Foundation, and the Seme family. The late hours of 11 October 2019 became a history lesson when the Founder of the Institution, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Dr Seme’s biographer, Dr Moss Mashamaite, shared the stage at the University’s Seme Hall, detailing how South Africa, and the rest of the African continent continues to benefit from the vision of Dr Pixley Seme. Prince Buthelezi, whose aunt Dr Seme was married to, and therefore was his uncle, said it was not surprising that Dr Seme became one of his mentors. One of the lessons he took from Dr Seme was the importance of education, and Dr Seme’s political vision, which was that the struggle against racial injustice was supposed to be carried out in a peaceful manner. For both Dr Seme and Prince Buthelezi, education and politics were inseparable.
On stage in flamboyant best, Dr Mashamaite, not mincing his words, told the captivated audience that Dr Seme’s legacy had not been well dealt with. He said Dr Seme was vilified by the ANC. Dr Mashamaite said copies of Dr Seme’s speeches were not kept; this was an attempt to squash Dr Seme’s legacy, and thus denying his rightful place in history. Dr Mashamaite emphasized that Dr Seme’s vision was to see the whole of Africa liberated from the shackles of colonialism. His wider view of how the continent was supposed to progress was influenced by the fact that he had spent time in the United States and the United Kingdom, studying.
The night also gave the Seme family an opportunity to air their views. Sifiso Seme, Dr Seme’s great, grandson, lamented the fact that the ANC was showing no regard for its founder. He said the family was very happy about the respect the University was showing to Dr Seme. The Seme family not only allowed the University to carry on with the lecture after the passing away of Dr Seme’s grandson, Vezindaba. At least eight family members attended the lecture, to the joy of Prince Buthelezi, who highlighted the ties between the Seme family and the Buthelezi family. Prince Buthelezi said he received a phone call from Princess Helen, the last remaining child of Dr Seme, informing him of the passing away of Vezindaba Seme. Princess Helen is Prince Buthelezi’s cousin. Their mothers are daughters of King Dinuzulu who ruled the Zulu nation from 20 May 1884 until his death in 1913.
This week saw the conclusion of the Cyber Security Awareness campaign that the Department of Information Technolgy and Networks (IT&N) has been driving since 7 October 2019. Njabulo Xaba, Workshop Technician at IT&N, said they were very happy with the attendance of staff. “Throughout the eight days of the campaign staff came into the OLT in large numbers, despite their full schedules. We really appreciate their support and understanding of how essential it is that our computing and network be protected; it was an indication of how seriously staff members take the cyber-related threats,” said Xaba. Xaba appealed to staff to follow through on what they learnt at the sessions, and added that they would be available to staff if they needed some assistance. Presentations throughout were done by experts from IT industry and some University staff. Dr Anette Mienie, Director of the Research Directorate, and Xaba, were staff members that made presentations throughout the eight days.
The last day will also be remembered as the time when the maximum prizes were given out. Two lecturers from the Faculty of Natural Sciences – Noxolo Mthembu, a lecturer in the Department of Agriculture, and Ziningi Jaya, a lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, won a tablet each for giving correct answers to questions. They both said they were happy, and did not expect to win such great prizes. “I came here to listen to the speakers. In the back of my mind I was always thinking about the amount of work that was awaiting me in the office. Little did I know that I would go back with a tablet,” said Jaya. The academics thanked IT&N.
On Friday 11 October Campus Health Service conducted an HIV Awareness Campaign to dispel the misconceptions about HIV transmission. Bongiwe Sithole, Health Promoter at the University’s Clinic, said some students feared for their lives that they might contract HIV by being around those who are HIV positive or if they share a room with them. “This behaviour has escalated a stigma and discrimination in the residences such that some HIV positive students have resorted to not taking their treatment. This puts them at risk of developing drug resistance and becoming sick with opportunistic infections. To help students realise the danger in which they are putting others’ lives in, and to make them understand the basics of HIV infection, a speaker who could relate and understand the student’s perspective was invited to address the students,” said Bongiwe. Sanelisiwe Mnyandu an Alumna of the University, who is living with HIV, gave the students advice on how to deal with the situation, whether as an HIV positive individual, or a negative one. The following are some of the key areas that Mnyandu focused on: How HIV is transmitted and measures to protect yourself; the fact that any individual can contract HIV; how to respond if a friend, roommate or even your partner discloses his or her HIV statu; and lifestyle to sustain good health while living with HIV.
MUT continues to expand its programme offerings in response to industry demands. The Department of Chemical Engineering has embarked on a process to introduce a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Honours). As part of the hoops that the new courses have to jump through, the Engineering Council of South Africa recommended the degree to be introduced at MUT.
The qualification, which will be introduced in 2022, is a direct response to the demands of the engineering industry. “First the industry requires students with an Honours qualification,” said Njabulo Zulu, Acting Head in the Department. “We want to articulate to Masters level. In the past; students would complete B.Tech and go to Masters but now they have to register for an Honours or a Post-Graduate Diploma. The Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Honours) will give MUT a competitive advantage in that it will admit students from both the B.Tech and Advanced Diploma stream. The course will attract more diverse students from other institutions, which will contribute to the growing culture of journal publications by students in the department. This year alone, a journal article by a student in the department has already been published, with two more in the pipeline for publication,” explained Zulu.
With the budgets finally submitted to Finance, the Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Rodney Delomoney and his team were shocked at the budget deficit. It was huge, by millions. For the University to be financially sustainable, the CFO felt that a practical approach with the way budgeting is being done this year is necessary. All executive management committee members met to review all budgets across the board. This is a first for MUT. Delomoney said: “Although our budget is still done manually, and this comes with challenges, I am happy that my team is able to pull this off despite these challenges. Our objective is to go through the entire MUT budget and see if the budgets are aligned to the Strategic Plan. It is important that as we disburse budgets to various departments, we become bold and agree that because you had a budget for a particular project in the previous year you have to repeat that even if it is outside the University’s strategic plan.”
While the budget discussion was not easy; the spirit of camaraderie during this session prevailed resulting in a very professional and supportive engagement. EMC members provided strategic input; were polite and where they did not understand the rationale for the budget increase; they referred the matter back to the CFO for review. “We are on a new trajectory of financial planning; and going forward; our budgets will now be broken on a month by month basis. We have to create a budget for the coming year based on the total spending over the last year and where we make adjustments, it would be based on alignments with the Strategic Plan,” said the CFO.
As part of the 40th anniversary celebration, MUT, in partnership with the Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme Foundation and the Seme family, will host a public lecture in honour of Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme on 11 October 2019. The lecture will take place at the University’s iconic Seme Hall from 18h00 to 20h00. Dr Seme is regarded as one of the first African leaders that initiated steps to free Africa from the shackles of colonialism. He was the co-founder of the African National Congress (ANC), and promoted education as a precursor to liberation.
The lecture, titled: Telling the story of Dr Pixley kaSeme, is part of MUT’s nation-building agenda, which is aimed at celebrating the legacy of individuals that shaped South Africa’s identity as a nation. The lecture will be presented by Dr Moss Mashamaite, who is an expert on the subject, having traced Dr Seme’s life in a biography titled: The Second Coming – The Life and Times of Pixely ka Isaka Seme, the Founder of the ANC.
Dr Seme’s name holds great significance for MUT. The institution has a hall named after him. The historic Seme Hall is MUT’s most celebrated building. It is associated with success because the University’s graduation ceremonies take place in this iconic landmark. In fact, Seme Hall has become so synonymous with graduation that students often ask each other if they are going to Seme Hall next year instead of asking if they are graduating the following year
Once again, MUT has elected its new Student Representative Council (SRC) without any difficulties. As was reported by the Managing Director of Lindbong Development, Lindo Khoza, there was no intimidations among student formations that contested the annual elections. Khoza highlighted the maturity that MUT students continue to show, and thanked management for giving them space.
“We are aware of problems at other institutions where we have conducted elections. Management has tried to influence the way we conducted our job,” said Khoza.
Khoza said at MUT they observed a high level of tolerance, transparency and fairness during the election process. “The University invests well in the social cohesion programmes it conducts every year after the student leadership elections. This has played a role in integrity and accountability among students. There were open engagements across opposing political parties and students showed high level of emotional intelligence. I would like to appreciate the leadership for not interfering in the process and thereby allowing the election process to be more vibrant”, said Khoza.
In addition, Khoza reported that they were also impressed by how everyone played their leadership role during this time. “Students must remain at the centre of the election agenda. I truly commend the MUT leadership for their insightfulness during the election process,” Khoza said.
Expressing his gratitude to Khoza for a job well-done, the MUT Registrar, Mike Naidoo, said: “We employed you to do the job, and you did it well.”
Cyber-crimes are on the rise, and safety is paramount when one conducts activities on digital platforms. As part of the Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Department of Information Technology and Networks (IT&N) at MUT conducted a series of sessions to raise awareness about cyber threats and to empower staff to secure their digital devices.
“Cybercrimes are very costly. Organisations pay billions of dollars as they beg cyber criminals in an attempt to buy back their information which criminals would have encrypted. Cybercrimes can be prevented. But we need everyone to help us as safety of information is everyone’s responsibility in the community of MUT,” said Njabulo Xaba, Workshop Technician at IT&N.
Bradley Geldenhuys, co-founder of GT Consulting, one of the companies that conducted workshops on cyber security at the University from 7-16 October 2019, commended the IT&N for focusing on staff. “Users are the weakest link in cyber security,” said Geldenhuys. “One user clicks one link and bypass all security.”
Emphasising the dangers posed by information thieves, the University’s Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, thanked the IT&N for the initiative.
The highlight of the first day of sessions was the presence of ‘Pepper’ the robot. As if to make a comment about the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Pepper was the programme director, to the excitement of all that attended. The informative series, in which staff win spot prizes, ends on 16 October 2019.
In efforts to make the University a place where students can study and also enjoy life away from their homes, the Infrastructure Department, in partnership with the Safety, Health and Environment (SHE), have completed the fencing away of the soccer field, and new pathways that redirect students away from the soccer field have been created.
SHE officer, Lizwi Masondo, said the fencing-off of the soccer field and the creation of the new pathways was part of a grand plan to ensure the safety of both staff and students on the University’s campuses. “The new fencing has also improved security in the new 640 bed space residence, and the Umzana (Manhattan) residences,” said Masondo.
This latest development will also contribute to making the University’s plan to grow a sporting culture at the University, and uplift the Umlazi Township community a reality. This is part of the Anchor Strategy that guides the University in its interactions with its immediate community.
A final-year student from Matatiele, Moalosi heard about Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) through a friend, John. Moalosi decided that this was a University where his future should be shaped. Today, the Moalosi who started by doing a foundation programme, is the President of the SRC 2019/2020. His organisation honoured him before he delivered his inaugural speech by singing for him.
Moalosi is no stranger to politics; his father is a trade unionist and his brother is in politics. He is the last born in a family of three. His vision is to see the University Executive Management continuing to pay attention to students’ pressing needs, and those needs include more access to WiFi and proper residential and health facilities.
“Granted, most of our students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, but I would not want our students to receive poor customer-care based on their family backgrounds. We need to see more access to sports and I would also like to see a biometric system in place.”
Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, wished the SRC well and encouraged them to excel on good governance. Dr Malaza committed management team to work with the new SRC.
Secretary General: Lerato Luthuli
Another final year student, Lerato Luthuli is in leadership. She hails from Durban’s Avoca. She completed her matric from Port Shepstone High School. Her cousin encouraged her to come study at MUT. Luthuli is an activist and she hopes that being in leadership will help her raise awareness on Gender-based violence. “We need women to know that they must not be apologetic about what they wear and how they look,” said Luthuli. “They should not be bullied online and offline based on who they are and their looks.”
South Africa has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. The economy has not been growing at a high enough rate to create employment. The country has the dubious honour of being the most unequal country in the world. This raises a lot of questions on what universities (and universities of technology) should be teaching students to equip them to enter the economy.
This week, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) hosted the inaugural Student Entrepreneurship Week to encourage students to look into entrepreneurship as a career and to provide feedback to those who have already started their entrepreneurship journeys.
The keynote speaker for the two-day event was Roy Maponya, Chief Executive Officer of the Dr Richard Maponya Institute for Skills and Entrepreneurship Development. Maponya took students through the opportunities that government, its agencies and departments, have set aside for youth entrepreneurs.
The MUT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, encouraged participants to use the workshop to come up with creative and innovative ideas to help find solutions to societal problems.
Professor Marcus Ramogale, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, told participants that the level of unemployment in the country was one of the reasons MUT wanted its students to learn about business and to enter the world of business as entrepreneurs. Professor Ramogale emphasised the need for MUT students to break away from the usual. “You need to move to the entrepreneurial quadrant and consider how it is like to be job makers than job seekers,” said Professor Ramogale.
The highlight of the first day was when students pitched their business ideas before judges, who had been speakers. The winner of the contest was Simphiwe Mthembu, a 4th semester Electrical Engineering student. Mthembu pitched a solar-powered electric fence. Mthembu said this was going to solve the break-in problem in businesses and farms.
To say the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is upon is an understatement in a world where its effects have already started shaping our day-to-day activities. Like many things technological, the 4IR’s impact on various sector will not be the same and some sector will get to experience it sooner than others. This is the point that the three speakers at the 4th Industrial Revolution: Transformation or Trouble? Public Lecture focused on.
The Public Lecture, which took place at MUT’s Natural Sciences Campus on 1 October 2019, saw three speakers take the audience on a journey exploring how the 4IR will impact on life as we know it, careers and redefine various job positions. The speakers were Dr Bethel Mutanga, from MUT’s Department of Information and Communications Technology; Gugu Mthembu, MUT alumna from Telkom; and Sandile Mahlaba, MUT alumnus from Microsoft.
Dr Mutanga reminded the audience how the 4IR will pave the way for the globalisation of everything including education and food, convergence of curriculum and research, shorter shelf life of skills and redefinition of roles in the workplace.
Mahlaba cautioned the audience about jobs that were already being altered and some that are disappearing. He also warned about the dangers of not embracing technology. “By 2022 if you don’t have digital skills you won’t get a job,” said Mahlaba.
For Africa, Mahlaba said the 4IR offered an opportunity to review its resources and how those resources were used. “For Africa the excitement is about how we are going to use our resources. You have a task. You cannot be facing the future like everything is normal,” said Mahlaba.
For Mthembu, more private sector, government and academia partnerships are required to ensure that the 4IR is not a threat to humans. “The 4th Industrial Revolution is not about technology but the people,” said Mthembu. “We need to address real economic challenges to enable service delivery.”
Mthembu said that part of ensuring that the 4IR is no threat to humans was offering cheaper broadband to the masses to improve access.