Collegiality rules at SOTU 2023

Some MUT Management staff at SOTU

A new MUT has emerged; one built on the values the university aspires to have and hopes they would be embraced by everyone. The VC, Professor Marcus Ramogale noted many achievements by staff and students and his vision for a transformed university. “This transformed university is one anchored on building social cohesion within MUT and geared towards building an MUT citizenry that adds value to nation-building. During the Nelson Mandela month, I noted many social cohesion initiatives taking place at the same time, led by staff and students to empower others. I saw staff members from various departments working together for the common good of the University and the nation. The selflessness of highly qualified people getting down to assist the poor and marginalised spoke well of MUT and enhanced our brand. This is the MUT we want”, he said. The response to the VC’s address was positive, transparent, and forward-looking. Where staff and students needed assistance or clarity, those were responded to on the spot. His executive management, acting DVC Resources and Planning, presented positive feedback on progress with the infrastructure and what staff could expect in the future. Dr Manyane Makua, acting DVC Teaching & Learning, did not mince words about respect of MUT as a national asset and made a plea to everyone to respect this asset. He also touched on the abuse of every resource of the university; be it students or assets. Mr Rodney Delomoney, CFO, who had earlier been recognised by the VC for an unqualified audit of 2022, presented a positive financial outlook for MUT and assured staff and students that “better investments have helped the university with a better ledger.” Some take away feedback ranged from someone expressing gratitude on the VC being able to maintain stability at MUT though the person directly asked the VC, ‘when are you getting permanent’, and the response from the VC was not that question was not for him but the Registrar.

Vice-Chancellor touches base with the Founder’s secretary

Professor Marcus Ramogale

This week, Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor, and Principal at MUT, received a reassurance that the MUT Founder, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was “recovering steadily from hospital. We expect to see him back home, soon”, said Lyndith Waller, the Prince’s long-time secretary. Professor Ramogale has been following up on the Founder’s state of health since the news broke of the Founder’s ailment. This week, MUT Radio has been doing a call for people to send messages of a speedy recovery to Prince Buthelezi. Listeners who happen to be former MUT students have been calling from as far as Manguzi, Phongola, in north of KwaZulu-Natal and other outlying areas, including surrounding areas. Not wishing to be outdone, current students have also been calling in and wishing Prince Buthelezi a happy birthday in advance. The Founder’s birthday is on Sunday, 27 August and he will be turning 95 years old.

TLDC updates EMC about the Focus Conference

Dr Manyane Makua, second from right, seated with Professor Ramogale, second from left, also seated, with Executive Management Committee (EMC) and the TLDC team

You can call it ‘celebration before celebrating the actual event’. This was the mood in the University Council Chamber on Thursday, 17 August 2023 when the TLDC Focus Conference organising team updated Executive Management Committee (EMC) on the upcoming annual conference. Dr Makua said the main reason for the meeting was that his team wanted to give the EMC an update on the conference, and thank them for their support, particularly the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale. Dr Makua also said that the team wanted to inform the EMC about the conference’s achievements over the 10 years of its existence and show the EMC some of the literary work that has been generated because of the conference.  Some of these literary achievements are a 322-page book that was edited by Dr Makua and Dr Mariam Akinlolu, a Post-Doc Fellow who spent some years at the Faculty of Engineering, now with the London Metropolitan University, but still attached to MUT. The name of the book is Sustaining Higher Education Through Resource Allocation, Learning Design Models, and Academic Development. The literary work is the Proceedings of the Focus Conference (TFC 2022) Volume 732.  The book was published by the Atlantis Press and is available at the US’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The book was edited by Dr Makua, Dr Akinlolu, Mashango Sithole, Dr Phiwayinkosi Gumede, and Cebo Nyondo, all staff members of the TLDC, and the conference organising committee. The book was coordinated by Mandla Mhlongo, another member of the TLDC and the conference organising committee.

What also fascinated the members of the EMC was how the conference organisers have taken advantage of technology. Nyondo, who has a qualification in Information Technology, said the delegates would be using an App to communicate with the organisers, and make immediate input on the conference. This will include indicating their availability in the optional sessions of the conference. This year delegates can get a lot from the conference website, which is:

The 2023 conference, whose theme is “The Role of Higher Education in the Attainment of Sustainable Quality Education”, will be attended by 250 delegates and will deliver 57 papers. Dr Makua said they were aiming to grow even bigger, and this was possible with the dedication of the team and the support from the University Management and the international partners.

Vice-Chancellor pins hope on two conferences to further amplify the MUT brand

Professor Ramogale, second from left, with Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement (RIE), left, Dr Manyane Makua, and Mbali Mkhize

The great success and great strides made by Dr Manyane Makua and the (Teaching and Learning Development Centre) TLDC team in making the Focus Conference a ‘Premier Conference’ has been greatly documented and noted over the past nine years. Now, 72 hours from the conference kick-off; the TLDC team reflected on how the Acting Vice-Chancellor; Professor Marcus Ramogale has been like a ‘silent’ partner that propelled them to greater success. Humbled by the accolades they have achieved over the last nine years, and the future of how MUT could become a conference destination, Professor Ramogale made a special request to two departments to grow their annual conferences. “An opportunity to unpack what a research-informed and a research-led university is presenting itself with two colloquia being planned by Senate next year. There is also an opportune moment for us to bring the EnergyWaterFood nexus summit from the US’s Florida Agricultural Mechanical University to Africa, our partner University with MUT as an anchor university”, Professor Ramogale said. In a comment to Mbali Mkhize, convener of the Empowered Administrator’s (EAC), Prof Ramogale said: “The time has come to broaden the EAC to become a comprehensive conference that includes every support service sector that does administrative work, such as including other areas like PR, media relations, procurement, and any other support services that enhance organisational effectiveness and efficiency.”

Both recommendations by the Acting Vice-Chancellor were warmly welcome by the DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibiya and Mkhize. This directive from the Acting Vice-Chancellor stems from how he has seen outside the box thinking displayed by the TLDC team as it grew the Focus Conference from a colloquium to where it is. “Success breeds success and this is the time to ride on this wave of success”, said Professor Ramogale.

From senior secretary to playing a key role at TLDC

Ntombikhona Nene

A disclaimer first, that Ntombikhona Nene, is an EAC alumnus and understands very well how an empowered administrator could have her voice heard by a line manager and within the department of which she is part. Today, Nene, is now a Learning Designer at TLDC and has made an enormous contribution to the department. What stands out has been her contribution to the growth of the Focus Conference. On 17 August 2023, Nene’s role in raising the profile of the Focus conference nationally was acknowledged by Dr Manyane Makua, acting DVC Teaching and Learning. Dr Makua said: “When we started the conference, which was a colloquium at the time, we started with small steps, and Mrs Nene was instrumental in piloting the attendance of delegates as paying delegates. The amount she set as registration was unbelievable; yet we managed to secure high profile delegates from sister universities. Today we have a fully-fledged international conference from the bold steps taken,” said Dr Makua.

Nene’s courage should serve as an encouragement that one’s position in any organisation is based on a unique value proposition. It is what one brings at departmental and/institutional level that one is doing so well and how different that is from what others bring.

MarComms staffer gets a special acknowledgement from DVC Teaching and Learning

Bheki Hlophe

In a very jovial mood, Dr Manyane Makua, acting DVC Teaching & Learning made a surprise acknowledgement of how Bheki Hlophe, media relations and publications officer would corner him at the end of the colloquium and ask, ‘when are you making this a conference’. Therefore; those that have been cornered by Hlophe, understand very well that he becomes a true journalist when he must persuade one to advance one’s great cause, and he usually wins. It was therefore a heartwarming moment to listen to an executive making such an acknowledgement. The intensity of having everyone rallying behind a small concept is not lost on Dr Makua, who reminded Executive Management that this year’s conference, “The role of Higher Education in the attainment of sustainable quality education” has attracted 140 external delegates and has an overall 57 papers received for possible publication. Many people have supported Dr Makua and it is this radiant vibe towards the Focus Conference that has elevated this success.

Focus conference on MUT Radio

MUT Radio staff members, Ntokozo Buthelezi, left, and Afika Mkhahlela will be broadcasting the conference

Brace yourselves for tuning in on the Focus Conference on MUT Radio for some key speakers. This annual event will take place off campus from 21-25 August 2023. There will also be a huge media drive to get some of these on national media. Help the University spread the word, share the conference link to this landmark 10th year conference:

Even if you are not attending, please join, like and share on social media platforms.

MUT students launch an entrepreneurial plan

SWEEP members in grey golf shirts, with from left – Nomfundo Mcoyi-Zondo, Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement (RIE), and Dr Bheka Ntshangase, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Management Scences

The spirit of entrepreneurship at the University keeps getting stronger and stronger. Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement (RIE), Professor Sibiya said she would focus on helping entrepreneurship at the University to grow. On 16 August 2023, at North Campus, Hall 7 was bursting at the seams with students who came to the launch of Student Women Economic Empowerment Programme (SWEEP) MUT, and to listen to a presentation by the CEO and Founder of Icebolethu Group, Nomfundo Mcoyi-Zondo.

According to its President, Mbalenhle Nzama, SWEEP is a national network that was established to empower and educate young women in South Africa on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and career development. SWEEP’s mission is to promote economic empowerment for young women and create opportunities for them to achieve their full potential, said Nzama, a third year Human Resources Management student.

Nzama said SWEEP MUT would offer facilitated learning programmes and workshops for experiential learning, in preparation for work readiness and career development, as well as entrepreneurial activities, to transfer the necessary skills to female students. Among other things, SWEEP MUT will focus on transferring skills that relate to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and other skills that female MUT students need, in terms of their fields of study, she said. These will include leadership lessons. Nzama said these skills would contribute to female students’ employability and independence.

The Acting Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Dr Bheka Ntshangase, described the launching of SWEEP as “a noticeable milestone”.  The acting dean shared the University’s vision for growing business at the Institution.  “The MUT goal is to educate students about entrepreneurship as an alternative to seeking formal employment,” said Dr Ntshangase. Dr Ntshangase also said that entrepreneurship was not something to be taught in class only, “it is something that needs to be practised as students continue with their learning”. The acting dean further said the public lecture that was given by Mcoyi-Zondo was about encouraging students to start their ventures while still at the University. They must learn to use the little they have to start their businesses and not rely on funders, the acting dean said.

In her presentation, Mcoyi-Zondo impressed upon the students that starting a business was not an easy task. “You need to have a proper business plan,” she said.  Mcoyi-Zondo told the students about her own journey, and how tough it was for her, having left her teaching profession for something she had no training on.

Her presentation titled ‘Demystifying entrepreneurship’, Mcoyi-Zondo had some take-home for the students, most of whom had budding businesses, or business ideas, some facts that Mcoyi-Zondo was very impressed with. She called these take-home ‘nuggets.  The first was that they should “start with the end in mind. With me it is either you grow, or you go home”.  She told the students that business needed people who had integrity and were honest.

Mcoyi-Zondo also told the audience that business was about risks. “You need to take calculated risks,” she said.  Also have networks of people with like minds. Don’t see them as your competitors,” she said.  Mcoyi-Zondo also told the students to “keep good company and ignore negative energy”.

The students said they learnt a lot from the presentation. Nzama said her overall “experience in today’s public lecture cannot be described in words.  it was a practical learning experience that has also shed light on how she can become a successful entrepreneur.  “I gained a new perspective on working towards success”, Nzama said. She referred to the nuggets as what they would incorporate into their business philosophy.

Chairperson KZN region South Africa Institution of Chemical Engineers (SAIChE)

Professor Babatunde Bakare

The son of a Morehouse College alumnus is now making waves in South Africa, as an academic, researcher, and climate change activist, with many more accolades. Prof Babatunde Bakare, acting Dean in the Faculty of Engineering was recently appointed as the chairperson for the South Africa Institution of Chemical Engineers for the KZN region for the period of 2023 -2025. As the new chairperson, he is now tasked with the role “of advancing the science and practice of chemical engineering within the KZN region. This will involve engagement with academic institutions in the region and industries to promote high standards in the profession by enhancing the professional competence of its members. This is an opportunity to bring MUT to the limelight”, said Professor Bakare. Executive Management Committee members have congratulated Prof Bakare. This positions MUT’s research expertise and the university positively, both nationally and internationally.

BioMed staff benefit from Research Professor’s presentation

BioMed staff listening to Professor Davies

A well-timed presentation by the Faculty of Natural Sciences Research Professor has given “some very helpful tips” to a Department of Biomedical Science staff member as he is busy writing a paper for publication. Simangaliso Shangase, said he was writing a paper on the “Evaluation of the Quality of Sanitation and Stored Water for Domestic Use in the Umlazi P Section Informal Settlement”. Shangase said from Professor Theo Davies’ presentation on 8 August 2023, he learnt “how to write a paper and also to align it appropriately with the journal site to avoid article rejection”.

Shangase is one of several staff members in this department that are busy with their academic studies. Five staff members are studying towards their Master’s degrees, and another five are studying towards their PhDs.

Professor Davies presentation was on “How to write a “winning research proposal”. This is part of a series of lectures that Professor Davies is presenting to the faculty staff members. His main targets are those that are just starting out with their research journeys.

Professor Davies described a research proposal as “a plan of attack on a researchable problem. It is a communication instrument, outlining the researcher’s specific and clear intentions to the proposal reviewers”. He said the research proposal should have the following essentials: an abstract, which should indicate a background in the form of a simple opening sentence or two, placing the work in context; the aims and methods of the study; the results and the conclusions of the study. Professor Davies also delved into the following areas: the statement of the problem; the research questions; the research hypotheses; and the preliminary literature review, among other things.

Professor Davies reminded the department’s staff members that the goal of basic biomedical research was “to provide a comprehensive and detailed understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the development and normal function of humans and other living organisms and thereby gain insights into the pathological and pathophysiological mechanisms that cause disease”. He also added that a “detailed understanding of these mechanisms and pathways is essential for identifying potential targets for rational therapeutic interventions, and for disease prevention.”

eSwatini’s St Michaels School visits MUT to inspire its grade 12 learners

St Michaels School learners and their Principal Nokuthula Simelane, middle, and Maths and Science teacher, Nozipho Mndzebele in the MUT Radio live studio

The tradition that started more than 40 years ago when the first 15 founding students registered with the University including some from eSwatini, is likely to continue. On 16 August 2023, a school from South Africa’s eastern neighbour visited the University. The Principal of St Michaels, Nokuthula Simelane said they wanted the visit to inspire their grade 12 leaners. Simelane was supported by the school’s Maths and Science teacher, Nozipho Mndzebele, who said the learners were encouraged by the visit. Benele Shiba, a grade 12 learner, said she expected to learn about MUT academic programmes. The learners were taken around the University. The trip included visiting the brand-new Student Centre, MUT Radio, with the capstone event being to experience a real-time experiment at the Analytical Chemistry laboratory. The staff’s knowledge and willingness to assist international visitors was not lost to them.

MUT Hosts Inaugural Community Cup

The netball tournament winners, Zwelethu High School, with their teachers and MUT staff. Mkwalo is on the right. First and second from left are Dr Bonginkosi Zondi of the CEAD, and Dr Thembi Kweyama, Dean of Students, respectively

While South Africans were glued to their televisions, watching the Netball World Cup in Cape Town, and Women Soccer World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the University’s grounds provided a sporting bonanza to local school learners, students, and staff. They all came to watch the final stages of the inaugural MUT School and Community Cup Games. Vuma Mfeka, a soccer legend that kept goals for the AmaZulu and African Wanderers clubs, and was a school principal, said his organisation, Inkonjane Youth Development, approached the University’s Sport department to host a sports tournament. Vuma said they wanted to revive the sporting spirit in the schools so the youth would be shielded from all forms of misbehaviours. The Deputy Director of the University’s Sports Department, Siyabulela Mkwalo, said the University’s CEAD (Community Engagement and Development) was also part of the partnership since the event involved the community.

The 11th of August 2023 saw the final three stages of the tournament in which the last eight participants took part in netball and football. Zwelethu High School became the inaugural winners of the netball final after beating Canaan College by 10 points to points to four. Canaan College advanced to the final match after beating Shumayela High School by 14 points to four, in the semi-finals. The football final match was won by Qhilika High School by 3-0, against Igagasi High School.  Qhilika scored the same number of goals against Mafumbuka High School in the semi-finals. The latter could not score any goal. Igagasi beat Zwelihle 2 nil in the semi-final match.

Mfeka said former Durban Bush Bucks great, Bennet Gondwe, came to see if there could be any budding footballers among the teams. Gondwe was one of the football spectators and scouts that witnessed the matches. Vuma said they would like to see young players progressing to bigger clubs.

Other school teams that participated in the football tournament last three stages were Shumayela High School, Zwelibanzi High School, King Shaka High School, and Umbelebele High School. The other teams that participated in the netball last three stages were Ogwini High School, Umlazi Comtech, Zwelethu High School, and Strelitzia High School.

Mkwalo, said the “main event was a resounding success, with about 300 talented learners from the excelling schools that participated in the competition”. Mkwalo said the school had to have a 75% academic performance to take part in the tournament.

eThekwini Municipality’s Sport and Recreation department supported the event with fruits; NGOs Mayibuye Organisation for Community Development and Upliftment; Inkonjane VM; Amaqhawe Soccer Academy and Sivusisizwe, also landed support.

Administrator’s team member shares invaluable insights on sisterhood as MUT women celebrate Women’s Day

Moretlo Mokuele talking to MUT women

At a Women’s Day celebration that was honoured by the University’s female staff on 10 August 2023, Moretlo Mokuele, one of the members of Professor Lourens Van Staden’s administrative team, gave them an earful that was highly appreciated. The Gibbs School of Business MBA graduate Mokuele’s experience as executive director for human resources at two higher education institutions has given her great insights into challenges faced by women, be it support services staff or academics. Setting the tone at the Women’s Day event, Mokuele reminded women that women grapple with the challenges of being wife, mother, and this has a bearing when it comes to promotions and accelerated career advancement. “Life happens to women, and we need to come together. We gather today in the name of sisterhood, and we need to understand that the power of women gathering is immeasurable”. She mentioned a few women feminists who have also rallied behind the notion of sisterhood and that “women should neither be comparing nor competing against each other. “With men as our colleagues, we must also remember that we are sisters and that as sisters we are stronger together”.

Mokuele reminded the gathering that it was up to the women to take up the challenges they face and to always remember that their personal lives and professional lives need some balancing. “When we look at each other as professionals we must look at ourselves as sisters, mother, wife, and empower ourselves about how to tackle the challenges. The challenges experienced by women require resilience,” she said.

MUT partner to bring a high-level delegation for MUT’s International Week

Professor Dossantos-Uzarralde, right, with Acting Dean, Professor Coopoosamy, middle, and Dr Mutanga

Professor Pierre Dossantos-Uzarralde, an MUT partner from École Nationale Supérieure d’informatique pour l’industrie et l’entreprise (ENSIEE) is a man on a mission to help MUT advance its vision of being a transforming University. On 10 August 2023, Professor Dossantos-Uzarralde met with Professor Roger Coopoosamy, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.  and Dr Bethel Mutanga, a Senior Lecturer at, Department of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to discuss a workshop on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that he wishes MUT to be a part of. Professor Dossantos-Uzarralde will bring a high-level delegation that will run several workshops. “One of these is a dean in the French Ministry who has developed a human Artificial Intelligence, and two other professors who are in two famous schools in France. “We envisage that these workshops will result in MUT students and lecturers developing various applications. In addition, MUT staff and students will be invited to participate as exchange students or staff to ENSIEE, based on skillset developed”, he said. Professor Coopoosamy indicated that his ICT team would do whatever it takes to make this workshop more meaningful and successful to strengthen the partnership between MUT and ENSIEE.

Young MUT Radio presenter makes a mark during Women’s Day celebration

Afika Mkhahlela at the Women’s Day celebration

There is nothing more empowering than observing a young girl evolve into a confident and powerful woman. Two years ago, Afika Mkhahlela was a Human Resources and Management student at MUT, and in her third year, she volunteered as a presenter at MUT Radio. Now those that have been touched by her friendly and commanding voice over the MUT Radio, can imagine that Afika is a presenter with top radio stations. Afika co-hosted the Women’s Day programme with veteran Master of Ceremonies, Jade Mthiyane with great confidence and professionalism. “What started as a six-month trial voluntary work at a brand new online radio station is growing at unimaginable speed. We hope more students could dedicate themselves to volunteering at MUT Radio.  It is a great opportunity that has exposed our student volunteers globally.  Although it is a lot of sacrifice as it requires additional reading and at least two hours to prepare for a show but it is a lifetime experience,” said Zama Sishi, Director at Marcomms. Afika’s portfolio has enabled her to enter the 2023 Radio Awards where the winner will be announced in late October.  The entire radio crew and management are crossing their fingers as this will be a big win not just for Afika but for MUT Radio and the entire university community. Afika hosts Campus Voice, a talk-show on MUT Radio from Monday to Friday from 1pm.  Catch Afika live on

MarComms interns play a pivotal role in key events

Interns, Khuboni, left, and Buthelezi, right, with Senior Director of the Department of Marketing and Communications, Mbali Mkhize, at the Women’s Day celebration

There were two young ladies that were up and about during Women’s Day. One would not have thought they are interns. Under the University’s Events Co-ordinator, Jade Mthiyane’s tutelage, Charity Khuboni and Anele Buthelezi have become more hands-on in the event planning and set up. With a great deal of authority, the young interns Charity and Anele, are on the right track to becoming more independent. Another intern is Nkosinathi Maphumulo. Maphumulo had another commitment and could not attend the event, or, could he have been scared to be the only man among all the women?  “The three interns are making a more than valuable contribution to the Department of Marketing and Communications. We see very ethical and hard-working young people, who are also selfless”, said Mthiyane. Mthiyane added how a lot of groundwork had been done by the interns in preparation of women’s day.

MUT Clinic offers help to neighbouring school grade 12 learners

Student Health Services staff with Umlazi Comtech learners

Student Health Services dedicated one hour on 8 August 2023 to Grade 12 learners of Umlazi Comtech High School. The Head of the Health Services, Sister Nomusa Mkhwanazi, said the visit was raising public awareness on diseases and promoting good health. Campus Health Services scheduled a 60 minute visit with the grade 12 learners of Umlazi Comtech High School, to teaching them  about health and wellness.

Health Promoter Sister Bongiwe Sithole said they focused on raising the awareness on good nutrition which is vital to keep the mind alert. “This visit came at the right time as learners are busy preparing for their final exams,” said Sister Sithole. Sister Sithole also added that the learners were educated on sexual and reproductive health matters to empower them on how to avoid risky sexual behaviour that might hinder their enrolment for post-matric education. The session was interactive and teaching aids were used for visual impact. Learners were awarded with gifts for answering questions correctly. The Deputy Principal, Malibongwe  Khumalo appreciated MUT Campus Health Clinic Staff for their contribution and empowerment for Grade 12 Leaners.

MUT launches ‘GPS’ to help new students navigate their away around the University

Arthi Ramrung

The first-year students of the Faculty of Engineering are having a second welcome today, just a week after they had an orientation with the rest of the freshmen. Arthi Ramrung, the organiser of First Year Experience (FYE) said the event was “to allow the students to become aware of all support structures at the University that are there to help them succeed”.

This event will always be remembered for introducing GPS, as Ramrung explains: “To bring information to the fingertips of our students, the FYE team has designed a web-based application called GPS. The GPS will be launched and introduced to students today.  This is only the first phase of the application.” Ramrung said that once first-year students completed their registration to the University they would be given access to the application via the students’ University emails. “They can save it on their phones or use it on any device they have. The application does not require a lot of data and is quick and easy to access. It can also be saved on a student’s home screen so that they can use it whenever they need it. There will be a lot of information that a first-year student can use, as this tool will continuously be updated,” said Ramrung.

The event is to ensure that the first-time entering students adjust well to their new environment. This has a positive impact on their studies. The basis for the event is that life at a university is very different from high school, and sometimes very difficult. In some cases, students even drop out as a result of the various pressures that they encounter in their first year.

Ramrung also gave some details about the annual First Year Experience (FYE), of which today’s event is part. “The First-Year Experience Programme at MUT is called Getting Prepared for Success (GPS) in short. It is designed for all Mangosuthu University first-year students to help them navigate the systems of the University, both physically and metaphorically. The FYE project is a university-wide project that aims to create a singular support system to holistically support our first-time entering students.

Ramrung said that there would be “engagements directly with the students and that there would be various demonstrators throughout the day”. The event will start at 10am, and end at 1pm.

There is a dire need for public servants to be professionalised – seasoned expert advises  

Professor Fikeni addressing the audience at MUT

There are so many questions that remain unanswered about the performance of the government organs, and their staff. This problem is in all spheres of the South African government. An expert in public administration has pointed out where the problems lie. Presenting a public lecture at the Mangosuthu University of Technology on 7 August 2023, Professor Somadoda Fikeni, said the main cause for the problems in all spheres of government was that the public servants were appointed based on their political affiliation, not based on their academic qualifications.  According to Professor Fikeni, South Africans talk about leaders because they think they are important. He argues that South Africans should be talking about public servants and their performance. This is what affects them most. It has been said so many times that local government is the most vital sphere of government because what it does affects the people directly.

Professor Fikeni, the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, said these problems continue even though South Africa has a constitution that was revered by the world and is respected by most countries. South Africa also has very good regulations that should guide government officials when they are doing their jobs. Some of these are the Public Finance Management Act, Systems Act, the 11 Bato Pele principles, and some by-laws. But still, there are problems associated with service delivery, which is the core function of government. Said Professor Fikeni: “We have poor outcomes; South Africa has become the protest capital of the world. We have built institutions of democracy, yet we still have problems.” Professor Fikeni cited the case of the Mangaung Prison in the Free State. He said the prison “is a state of the art, but values and principles are lacking”. It was widely reported by the media that the officials of this prison are allegedly involved in the escape of a high-profile prisoner.

Professor Fikeni also said that public servants that have no relevant qualifications for their public positions are vulnerable because they then must put their political masters first, not the public for which they should be working, and to whom they should be accountable. Professor Fikeni said that politicians take advantage of this flaw and seek to benefit from it.

Advising particularly the students from MUT, Durban University of Technology, and the University of Zululand who were part of the audience, Professor Fikeni said they should ask themselves what their generational mission was. He listed names of South African public leaders who identified their ‘generational mission’ and act upon it. Professor Fikeni warned the audience not to join the ‘lamentation brigade’. He said the institutions of higher learning had a duty to mould students to become leaders.

Professor Fikeni said that the Zondo Commission highlighted the lack of moral integrity on the part of public servants and government officials. He said those public servants that want to do good were hamstrung by the toxic environment they were working in. “The parliament has emphasized a need to professionalise public service. We are now asking what needs to be done. Without a capable public service there will be problems,” he said.

The public lecture was attended by staff from MANCOSA, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Zululand, members of the South African Association of Public Administration and Management (SAAPAM), the Psychology Society, and officials from the KwaZulu-Natal Premier’s Office.

 Appreciative Vice-Chancellor welcomed back by EMC

Professor Marcus Ramogale

A spirit of pleasantness prevailed at the Executive Management Committee’s (EMC) meeting as they welcomed Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal after his brief holiday, and a week-long in Namibia, attending to the business of Technological Higher Education Network South Africa (THENSA). For close to an hour, EMC apprised him on developments during his sojourn, a briefing he enjoyed. The good news started with the sharing of the new Student Centre’s completion, something long awaited by the University community. More good news ranged from the MUT Choir winning choral competitions, despite MUT not having a music department; the sterling performance  by the Netball team at USSA games held at Stellenbosch University; Enactus student winning a laptop; and recognition of MUT’s GBV song. As if that was not enough, the Acting Vice-Chancellor  & Principal  was also apprised of progress with the annual Focus Conference, one of the flagship events of the University. While many leaders dread taking a vacation, Professor Ramogale’s investment in people through the capability approach has earned him good rewards as a leader. He also endorsed two upcoming projects by the University – a Women’s Day,  to be hosted off-campus, as well as the State of the University (SOTU) address where both staff and students will have opportunities to meet the executive face-to-face and ask pertinent questions.

“Beauty is Truth. Truth is Beauty”

Dr Manyane Makua

Professor Marcus Ramogale, Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal’s visit to Namibia made him recall a poem, “Ode to a Grecian urn”, by John Keats. While the poet is mesmerized by how art conveys the truth better than any other form of communication, Professor Ramogale saw the real meaning of this in how Namibia is positioned as a destination of choice, both nationally and internationally. He has set up a special committee, headed by Dr Manyane Makua, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching & Learning that will specifically deal with MUT’s aesthetics. This special committee will respond to the VC’s call to action, “What stops us from developing a beautiful campus?” Brace yourselves up for getting on a journey to create new beginnings on ‘turning beauty into truth, and truth into beauty’ in real time.

CEAD hosts Fulbright scholar from University of Missouri – US

MUT staff meeting Professor Wilson Majee, right

This week, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has welcomed a visit by Fulbright Scholar Professor Wilson Majee from the University of Missouri, USA. Professor Majee’s visit began on 31 July 2023 and will end on 8 August 2023. The Community Engagement and Development (CEAD) directorate led by Professor Busi Nkonki-Mandleni is the host department. “My first port of call was to ensure that we introduce Professor Majee to MUT’s Executive Management Committee (EMC) so that as a university we could explore opportunities of integration across what we could do with his university beyond his tenure as a Fulbright Scholar”. Dr Connie Israel, Executive Director, Institutional Advancement was requested to welcome Professor Majee on behalf of EMC as well as set the tone for the visit and how it aligns with MUT Strategy 2025. Coincidentally Dr Israel is also a Fulbright alumnus.

Professor Mandleni said, “I am proud to say that Professor Majee has undertaken workshops to academic staff members to integrate community engagement into teaching and learning, and research. In addition, there were many information sharing sessions which were both successful and very productive. Professor Majee made comparisons between what is happening in the USA and South Africa. Professor Majee is engaging academics in the design of modules to include Service-Learning.

Fulbright Scholar engages grassroots stakeholders

Professor Wilson Majee, third from left, seated, with MUT staff, students, and members of the local community

On 2 August 2023, Professor Wilson Majee, Fulbright Scholar had discussions with MUT staff and University community partners such as Sivusisizwe Boys to Men Africa Initiative, Seed of Hope, and eThekwini Ward Councillors. This stems from the University’s Anchor Strategy. The Anchor Strategy requires staff of the University to make efforts that will empower the local communities. Professor Majee also visited sites to university community partners such as Impilo Home (an orphanage) and Seed of Hope (a place for the vulnerable children) in the municipality. MUT students were also privileged to meet with Professor Majee who engaged them on the importance of Community Development. The visit of Professor Majee is envisaged to look at possibilities of faculty and /or student exchange visits between the two universities.

Professor Majee said he was content with responses from community members, “I think the community members have a lot of interest about engagement with the University. Skhonza Nxasana, a community member, said community engagement is a way to go. He said “we can’t say we are doing research and leave the community out. The community must be included. It is not going to be overnight, but we will get there. Rwanda, in eastern Africa, is very community driven. The people there own their spaces. This is what needs to be inculcated into our communities.

Sivusisizwe’s founder, Dudu Thabede, said it would be good to partner with MUT staff who can support her efforts from research perspective so she can build programmes that are evidenced-based. Professor Majee also added that MUT academics indicated that they “see the value of incorporating community engagement would  add to the learning experiences of students and to the University”.

Student Affairs department makes first relocation to the new Student Centre building

Amanda Mngadi, an intern in the Dean of Students’ office, in an office in the Student Centre

It is a dream for every head of any portfolio to have a sizeable percentage of the staff compliment under one roof. The department was ready to move to its new domain and today spends one week in a new environment. Professor Marcus Ramogale, the Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal,  has recognised the role played by Operations directorate in enabling the building to pass its quality checks. All the Student Affairs offices except for the Health Services are now in the new building. They will soon be joined by Academic Affairs, known as ‘STEPS’. A few years ago, one VC said, to graduates during graduation, “soon you will require a GPS to navigate this campus”. Kenako!

Graduate wins award for her book

Nonhlanhla Vezi showing her award and her book

A graduate of the Department of Community Extension, and now Research Assistant in the department, has won an award for her book – The Black Graduate in a Corporate World. Nonhlanhla Vezi received her Africa Honoree Author’s Award on 31 July 2023 at the 6th African Global Honorees Authors Awards.  Annually, an organisation called African Child Your Time Is Now (ACYTIN) honours authors who have done well in literature. Vezi’s award was under the ‘Best Novel in 2023’ category. The CEO of the company, Anthea Thyssen, said Vezi wrote “the most relevant book in history”. Thyssen said she loved how Vezi touched on different themes and believe that it will benefit the youth.

Vezi said she was humbled by this recognition, “I would like to thank Anthea Thyssen for believing in African writers and celebrating their efforts. Winning the African Honoree Author’s Award signifies that my little contribution towards literature is acknowledged, and what I do matters; my writing matters; telling African stories matters,” Vezi said.

A few weeks ago, Vezi was interviewed by Vuma FM about her book.

Those that would like to buy the book can contact her on 078 466 6656. The book is R250.

MUT leading Academics and Researchers visit to India yields good results.

Professors Akash Anandraj, left, and Roger Coopoosamy

In efforts to make connections with international partners for the benefit of his faculty, Professor Roger Coopoosamy, the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, and Professor Akash Anandraj, a member of the Department of Nature Conservation, and Director of the Centre for Alga Biotechnology, together with ESSENTIA GLOBAL and Science, Management, Research Consultancy and Training Academy, visited India from 24 to 26 July 2023. Professor Coopoosamy, who has extensive international connections, said they met industrial leaders in the sub-continent. Professor Coopoosamy their engagement with both national and international industrial partners has had a positive outcome. “Without divulging much for some reasons, our visit to India resulted in the acquisition of a pure water producing machine. This machine is to the tune of R500 000. At this point both Prof Anandraj and I cannot say much about it,” said Professor Coopoosamy.  Suffice to say that the machine was going to eliminate the purchase of bottled water for any institution that wishes to install this innovation. “The machine does not use any input of water but produces water out of air. This could eliminate the water crisis across our country, especially in government hospitals and schools. The method utilized in the final processing of the harvested water has many health benefits as well,” said Professor Coopoosamy.

According to Professor Coopoosamy, the machine has now been completed and will be given to MUT for free to launch to the country at large. The machine will be installed in the North Campus’ research laboratory. “This innovation will uplift MUT to a new platform, bearing in mind we are a university of Technology,” said Professor Coopoosamy who also extended gratitude to Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande and his office for the funding for the revamp of the research laboratories at MUT.

MUT Radio bids goodbye to DJ who contributed to sustaining the ‘dream’

Lusanda, seated, left, with her MUT Radio colleagues on her last day

An exciting chaos ensued at the Department of Marketing and Communications when a secrete was revealed on 31 July 2023. Lusanda Sihle Mnqayi, the former Hlanganai midday show host at MUT Radio, was shown a table full of goodies as her Radio MUT colleagues, the MarComms staff were bidding her goodbye. Mnqayi has been driving the 10am to 1pm Hlanganani midday show, for a year, a time at which she sustained the MUT Radio dream. “May your dreams be endorsed by God,” said Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director of the department. Now Lusanda is going to focus full-time on the 1Kzn show, the Next Billionaire which she presents. “I will also be doing another show soon,” Mnqayi said. She also added that she would continue with her acting career. She was a lead character in a movie called Rugby Town. She also acted on a movie called Imbangi. This short film was shown on high rotation on Mzansi Magic. Lusanda started acting in 2020. Lusanda also said she would focus on her clothing business.

While this was not nice to her Radio MUT colleagues to see her leaving, they were happy for her. Zama Sishi, the Overseer of Radio MUT, commended Mnqayi for professionalism and respect for her job at MUT Radio. Slindile Ngobese, Radio MUT Programme Manager, said it was “an honour working with you. I learnt a lot from you”. Technical Manager, Ntokozo Buthelezi, said “Big ups to wherever you are going. Your success is our success, I thoroughly enjoyed working with you, I have been documenting your journey on the show. Truly and honestly, you inspired me. All the best in your life journey,” said Buthelezi.

All other Radio MUT colleagues had nice and complimentary comments about Mnqayi and wished her well. Mnqayi hails from Empangeni in the north of KwaZulu-Natal where she did all her studies including learning her art skills at the National Creative Arts College.

MUT hosts Public Service Commission Chair 

Professor Somadoda Fikeni

On 7 August 2023, the University will host an esteemed public commentator, Professor Somadoda Fikeni, the Chair of the Public Service Commission (PSC). Professor Fikeni will give a public lecture on ‘Professionalisation of Public Service’. The public lecture will take place at the University’s Seme Hall, from 10am, to 12 noon.  Staff and students are invited to attend. Acting Head of the Department of Public Administration and Economics, Dr Yvonne Mvuyana, said the invitation to Professor Fikeni was a collaboration between her department and the South African Association of Public Administration and Management (SAAPAM).

Giving reasons for this topic, Dr Mvuyana said “the professionalization of the public service in South Africa has been an ongoing effort to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government institutions. The effort aims to address issues of corruption, improving service delivery, and ensuring that public servants are skilled and accountable”. Dr Mvuyana said the lecture was expected to shed light on where public sector employees, state institutions, and agencies, are in the fulfilment of the requirements for enhancing and improving capabilities, expertise, and efficiency.

Dr Mvuyana added that there will be a discussion panel composed of academics and practitioners in the field of public administration.

Three more cars added into MUT fleet

Khehla Ndlovu, left, receiving car keys from a dealership representative

Even before the yard is cleared after the old University fleet was put on sale, the Transport department has added three more brand new cars to its fleet. Khehla Ndlovu, the Acting Transport Head, said: “We are pleased to inform the MUT Community that we have added three fresh cars to our fleet – two Toyota Corollas and one Urban Cruiser.3 We are requesting that the MUT community to please take care of these vehicles,” pleads Ndlovu. Ndlovu said their goal was to keep the fleet for five years, and then dispose of the cars. He said their motivation was their slogan – Intuthuko siyenza bayibone ngamehlo! (We bring development that can be seen). Ndlovu said his colleagues Senior Director: Operations, Mpho Kau; and Director: Infrastructure Projects, Lubabalo Ngcaweni, are making his job easier with the help they give him.

Bank SETA gives students millions for their studies

Bank Seta bursaries beneficiaries, and Bank Seta and MUT staff. Second and third, seated, are Mpebe, and Nkosi

On 26 July 2023, the Bank Seta inducted 33 MUT students that the Banking Seta is funding to a tune of R3.6 million for the 2023 academic year. Senior Bursaries Officer: Financial Aid Office, at the University, Cynthia Nkosi, said the students are from the Faculty of Management Sciences and Faculty of Natural Sciences. “Most of these are Advanced Diploma students,” said Nkosi. Nkosi also added that the Office Management and Technology students will be added later to the students that are funded. The students are funded for the current year of study; the Financial Aid Office applies for funding every year, said Nkosi.

Ngwako Mpebe, Bank Seta’s Regional Specialist, Free State, Bank SETA told the students that applicants should be South African citizens, and must be between the ages of 18 and 35. The applicants should not be funded by another organisation for that year of study, Mpebe said. Mpebe added that applicants should preferably be from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Banking Seta officials also told the students about their rights and responsibilities as bursary holders, and how the money would be paid into the University account. The students must have the necessary documents, Mpebe said.

One of the beneficiaries, an Advanced Diploma in Accounting student, Nonkululeko Mlambo, said she was happy to have received financial help from the SETA. “I was going to struggle to pay my tuition fees for my present study, and not receive my certificate after graduation,” said Mlambo. The 22-year-old Mlambo has been supported by NSFAS from her first year. Mlambo is from Vryheid, in Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal.