MUT welcomes new students during the Student Orientation

Dr Mthoko Ntuli addressing the students

On 23 and 24 February 2023, the University management and staff welcomed the recently registered new students to the University. During this annual event, the new students are given information that helps to navigate their way through campus, especially during the first few months of the year or semester.

Dr Paulette Naidoo, Director of Student Counselling at MUT said orientation was an important programme to introduce students to the university, which can be a challenging space to navigate for new students. The orientation gave students “a comprehensive overview of all support services and departments relevant to their academic and psychosocial needs,” explained Dr Naidoo whose unit is in the Department of Student Affairs. Dr Naidoo said the students’ entry at Seme Hall was symbolic of the beginning of their time at the University, and that this is where their time will end when they graduate.

Dr Naidoo, spoke to students about the importance of taking care of their mental health and well-being by seeking help timeously from the Student Counselling unit. She emphasised the unit’s commitment to the eradication of Gender-based violence (GBV) on campus and encouraged all students to report acts of GBV, and to seek the necessary support from Student Counselling in dealing with GBV. As done in previous years, the Student Counselling unit also invited representatives from the Thuthuzela Care Centre in Umlazi to reinforce student knowledge of and about GBV as well as to highlight the partnership which exists between MUT and Thuthuzela Care Centre in addressing the scourge of GBV.

Student Development Officer in the Department of Student Affairs, Dr Mthoko Ntuli, explained what life is like at the university. Dr Ntuli told the students that they will participate in the election of the Student Representative Council (SRC). Dr Ntuli impressed upon the students that there was a formal process that should be followed. This process is governed by formal University and government legislations, said Dr Ntuli, an expert in student governance matters.

Safety, Health and Environmental Officer at MUT, Lizwi Masondo, informed students about how to keep safe and comply with health and safety regulations during their stay at MUT. Masondo also indicated that health and safety were a collective responsibility of both staff and students and that everyone could play their part in ensuring a safe environment.

Masondo also made students aware of the necessary protocol to follow when there is an emergency evacuation drill.

Research, Innovation and Engagement DVC secures funding for international collaborative study

Professor Nokuthula Sibiya

Mangosuthu University of Technology’s efforts at creating new international collaborations, and strengthening existing ones, have received yet another boost in the form of funding for a collaborative study. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagements, Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, has secured funding for a collaborative project between South Africa and Sweden, which is part of the South Africa Sweden University Forum (SASUF).

Professor Sibiya said the study was part of the SASUF Project, which is a collaborative project between MUT, DUT and Swedish universities. The project aims to make an invaluable contribution towards improving the health of the nation by strengthening maternal and child mortality surveillance, unpacking the trends in mortality, and making relevant information available for action.

Giving more details about the funded study, Professor Sibiya said the approach adopted during this exploratory project was to involve senior researchers from the two participating Swedish universities, to undertake the objectives of the project, through workshops or seminars, postgraduate research training and/or supervision and public lectures.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor said the Swedish collaborators were involved in a broad level of research and teaching activities in their institutions, “which are very relevant in the perspective of further possible collaboration in the proposed areas and regarding the listed activities”.

Explaining how the funding fits into the general research and engagement goals, Professor Sibiya said the aim of the project was to develop a strategic approach to promoting universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3.

“This project will not only improve excellence in research and engagement, as outlined in the strategic objectives of the University; but will also address the major challenge of high maternal and child mortality rates in both countries,” said Professor Sibiya.

Professor Sibiya has expressed her appreciation to Mbali Mkhize, who is the MUT coordinator for SASUF. Professor Sibiya said Mkhize has been instrumental in supporting staff who expressed their interest in submitting their application for funding.

“As part of the planned capacity initiatives, a workshop for grant writing will be offered to MUT staff so that during the next round of the call, more staff could be awarded the SASUF grant,” Professor Sibiya concluded.

Acting Nature Conservation Head secures crucial funding from ICGEB

Professor Kuben Naidoo

The University management has once again reacted with joy as positive research-related news continues to string in. This time, it is the Acting Head of the Department of Nature Conservation, Professor Kuben Naidoo, who secured funding from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), for the Collaborative Research Grant Programme.

Professor Naidoo’s proposal was titled: ‘The role of plant hormones and silver nanoparticles in alleviating the effects of salt stress in a well-known halophyte’.

Claudia Russo, from the Office of the Director – ICGEB Historically Disadvantaged Institution (HDI) Special Programme, said the application from Professor Naidoo was “in the context of the ICGEB Special Programme with South African HDIs, in partnership with the South African Department of Science and Innovation.”

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement at MUT, Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, said: “We are super-proud of you, Professor Naidoo. Please continue to fly to the sky the MUT flag.”

MUT Research Director, Dr Anette Mienie, said “Professor Naidoo has done MUT proud”.

Professor Kuben Naidoo emphasised that the selection of genotypes for better salt tolerance in crops has become a critical requirement for crop productivity, especially in countries where water is scarce. Professor Naidoo said increasing knowledge of the adaptive mechanisms and the morphological, physiological, and biochemical strategies for coping with salt stress were critical for success in crop improvement.

He added that the funding would allow the phytomedicine team to purchase consumables and small equipment required to further enhance research capacity and output.

MUT virgo intacta send a strong message of love and abstinence

MUT, DUT and UKZN virgo intacta, at MUT

South Africa has one of the highest HIV prevalence in the world, while the KwaZulu-Natal Province has the highest prevalence of all provinces in the country. This context along with the cultural prestige of being a virgo intacta sets up a perfect stage for celebrating and encouraging maidenhood.

As Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) and the rest of the world continue to celebrate the Month of Love, the University’s virgo intacta (woman or girl who has never had sexual intercourse) collaborated with their Durban University of Technology and University of KwaZulu-Natal counterparts to remain steadfast in their decision to preserve their virginity. They cautioned fellow maidens against relationships that could compromise their status as maidens.

Thalente Dludla, a 19-year-old MUT student from Emakhasaneni in Melmoth, said the group was communicating this message considering February being a month of love.

“This is a month of loving everyone without being in a relationship,” said Dludla.

Dludla said she loved being a virgin, and encouraged other women to look after themselves, respect themselves, and remember that everywhere they go, they represent their families, and other groups of women they belong to.

Sithabile Ntuli, a 22-year-old University of KwaZulu-Natal student from Ejokweni in northern KwaZulu-Natal, and 21-year-old Nosipho Maphumulo, a Durban University of Technology student from Ndwedwe, north-west of Durban, agreed with Dludla. All three agree that there was a lot to learn from the traditional life they are leading. They said virgins should remain humble and not look down upon those that are not virgins and are not at a university. The three acknowledged that the important thing was to focus on their studies and prepare to get jobs which will allow them to be independent.

They also emphasised that remaining a virgin protected them from sexually transmitted diseases and infections, while not being in a relationship protects the potential of Gender-Based Violence.

Brewery wastewater has the potential to become bioenergy – MUT study finds

Professor Bakare

As water continues to be a scarce resource globally and the energy crisis strengthens its grip on South Africa, researchers are trying to find environmentally friendly ways of extracting the full benefits of the resources that we already have.

A recent study co-authored by Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Babatunde Bakare, found that brewery wastewater has the potential to be turned into bioenergy because of its high organic strength using anaerobic technology.

Professor Bakare co-authored the paper with the Durban University of Technology’s Professor Sudesh Rathilal, Siphesihle Mangena Khumalo, and Emmanuel Kweinor Tetteh. The title of the study, which was published in the journเว็บ สล็อตal of Water, was “Characterization of South African Brewery Wastewater: Oxidation-Reduction Potential Variation”.

The findings of this study are important because although the brewing industry is essential for the South African economy, brewing requires a lot of water.

“Generally, brewing of beer requires substantial amounts of water: to make 1 m3 of beer, a volume of wastewater of 10-20 m3 is produced,” the study explained. “The brewing process includes malting, mashing, wort filtering, wort boiling, fermentation, maturation, stabilization, and clarification.”

In terms of the Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP), the study found that “brewery wastewater can be treated by biological processes on the basis that the reported ORP range permits biological activities”.

As far as the brewery wastewater composition is concerned, the study found that the contents of the water depended largely on the activities that were taking place at the brewery.

“The brewery wastewater treatment plant influent stream composition fluctuates significantly owing to the brewery in-house activities (i.e., washing of malted barley, which is rich in carbohydrates, brewing kettles, yeast fermentation tanks, as well as other beer processing units) and the chemical utilized. The high concentration in terms of orthophosphates and ammoniacal nitrogen could be a result of the type of acids used during brewing yeast cleaning, such as phosphoric acid and nitric acid,” the study discovered.

The contents found in the wastewater give the brewery wastewater a high potential for it to be turned into bioenergy. These findings strike a double for the environment and for South Africa’s energy crisis which has been characterized by frequent electricity loadshedding at a national level.

The study was conducted at a brewery facility in the Durban area.

MUT graduates and students to jet off to Bell’s German plant

From the right, Zeyn Adam, and Dr Nofemela, and the students and graduates, listening to Dr Connie Israel, who was addressing them online

While it is true that the number of South Africans that are unemployed is high, and continues to rise, it is still true that those that dedicate their time to acquiring more knowledge put themselves in a better position to land jobs. It is that kind of thinking that drives the 16 Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) students and graduates that are doing their workplace training with Bell Equipment Company, South Africa, in Richards Bay, north of KwaZulu-Natal.

Bell Equipment is a heavy machinery manufacturing company. It is known for its heavy earth-moving vehicles. These students and graduates will be leaving for the company’s plant in Germany, from 3 March 2023.

Dr Fundiswa Nofemela, the Director of the Department of Cooperative Education at MUT, said the graduates and students will spend three months in Germany.

“This is a great opportunity for our students and graduates to learn and explore the world,” said Dr Nofemela.

Dr Nofemela said that the four students and 12 graduates have already spent three months in Bell’s Richards Bay plant, which is the headquarters of the company. They are under the tutelage of a professional and caring team of Zeyn Adam, Assembly Quality Manager; Martin Moodley, Senior Quality Engineer; and Nkululeko Ngcobo, a Senior Quality Engineer, who graduated in 2010. Adam described Ngcobo as “a professional who does not bring politics into the workplace”. He is exemplary, Adam said.

Moodley has been training the students and graduates for the past three months. He is satisfied with their performance and behaviour. He will accompany them to Germany as their team leader.

The students and graduates said they were glad to have been given the opportunity to acquire more knowledge about the company, which would put them in good stead to land jobs or empower them to create their own companies.

Former Mangquzula High School learner, Hlengiwe Basha, said “the experience will open doors for me to grow as an individual. I will learn more about the manufacturing of machines. This is my area of interest.” Basha said she was curious about machinery. Her grandfather was a tractor driver in Port Shepstone. She will graduate next year.

Mthembiseni Mlondo, a Mechanical Engineering graduate, said the opportunity to go to Germany was a “dream come true” for him. He said he always wanted to go overseas. He said the experience he would gain would improve his chances of landing a job. Mlondo said he wanted to show other students with disabilities that it was possible for them to make it.

Adam’s message to the students and graduates was that they needed to carry the South African flag and their family names high. Adam said there was hope for the country because the students were the future. Adam, Dr Nofemela, and Brand South Africa’s Toni Gumede advised the students to carry the country’s flag with pride and represent South Africa well while overseas.

Speaking at the farewell event for the graduates and students, Executive Director for Institutional Advancement at MUT, Dr Connie Israel said: “This relationship with Bell Equipment signifies a movement forward, as we seek to advance the mission and vision of the University. On behalf of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office and Executive Management of MUT, its staff and students, we wish you well. Remember, travel is not a reward for working, it’s education for living.”

MUT Student Counselling launches campaign to celebrate self-love

Peer helpers at the information desk, assisting the students with the relevant information

February is considered the month of love globally, but for many, it can also be a month of anxiety, pain and despair as many people feel pressurized to have a ‘significant other’ who acknowledges them during this period.  It is the same “other” that causes problems in most cases.

Dr Paulette Naidoo, the Director of Student Counselling at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), said that low self-esteem, feelings of rejection, fear of being single and being alone could lead individuals to “settling” in relationships that are toxic, and physically and emotionally abusive.  Inspired by the words of Tene Edwards, a self-love advocate, the Student Counselling unit has begun a month-long self-love campaign, which began on Valentine’s Day. The Student Counselling unit’s theme for this year is ‘You are more than Enough’, which emphasizes to students the importance of self-love and self-care.

According to Dr Naidoo, self-love and self care are “intrinsically tied to a healthy, positive self-concept and identity”. Dr Naidoo said a secure sense of self helps to mitigate the effects of negative peer pressure and influences. Dr Naidoo added that it was important to encourage students to understand and intentionally practice self-care as this has important implications for eradicating GBV on campus and in their communities.

The Student Counselling team and their dedicated group of peer helpers took the campaign to the students by drawing their attention to the MUT GBV Policy and GBV standard operating procedures document which is meant to guide the University community on how to effectively respond to and prevent GBV. Students were also encouraged to utilize the services of Student Counselling for assistance in developing personal self-care goals and plans designed to strengthen and improve self-esteem and well-being. Students were also advised to seek assistance from the Student Counselling unit if they, or their peers, were in abusive relationships.

Said Dr Naidoo: “While self-care can take different forms, the Student Counselling unit felt it imperative to focus on how self-care can be applied to GBV. This is the reason why our campaign highlights the importance of setting healthy boundaries in one’s personal relationships, including leaving abusive partners and toxic relationships that are detrimental to student safety, security, and holistic well-being.”

Students who need help can use the list of internal and external resources like the Higher Health 24-hour tollfree number:  0800  36 36 36; Stop Gender Violence: 0800 150 150; GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 / *120*7867 from any cellphone; Thuthuzela Care Centre (Umlazi) – Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital Tel: 031 907 849; KwaZulu-Natal Network on Violence Against Women – or call  (031) 201 9615, (031) 2019236.

MUT’s IT&N moves to strengthen cyber-security

Danielle Venter, centre, with other members of IT&N

The University’s Department of Information Technology and Networks (IT&N) has taken serious steps to secure the network and protect staff laptops from those that aim to harm the network.

Head of Project Management and Service Delivery in the Information Technology and Networks (IT&N) at MUT, Danielle Venter, said they have installed System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM), which is a software management suite provided by Microsoft that allows administrators to manage endpoints, such as Windows-based PCs, servers, and mobile devices, from a central location. SCCM provides the following benefits for end-user devices: SCCM can be used to deploy software packages to endpoints, including operating systems, updates, and applications.

Venter said this makes it easier to deploy software and get rid of the need to install it by hand on each device. SCCM provides a central database of hardware and software inventory information for all managed devices. This makes it easier for administrators to keep track of the status and configuration of devices. SCCM will let staff deploy and manage security updates and security policies to ensure their devices are safe.  SCCM has remote control features that let administrators access and manage end-user devices from a distance. Venter said that this could be helpful for troubleshooting and fixing problems. Lastly, SCCM can be used to enforce compliance with company policies and regulations, by ensuring that devices have the latest updates, software, and configuration.

Venter appealed to staff to connect to the networks on a regular basis so they would benefit from the SCCM, mainly, and that the laptops would be patched, and all software updated. She said that if a staff member’s laptop has not been logged onto the MUT network recently, it may be missing critical updates.

“We would like to request that you bring your laptops to campus at least once a month to ensure that your laptop is connected to the MUT Network so that any updates can be applied to your laptops,” Venter said.

Venter said patching is the process of applying software updates to fix security vulnerabilities and improve the overall performance of your device. By ensuring that your laptop is fully patched, you can protect your work, personal information, and our company’s confidential data from cyber threats, such as viruses, malware, and hackers.

In addition to improving security, patching can also improve the stability and efficiency of your laptop by fixing bugs and resolving compatibility issues. This will help you be more productive and reduce downtime due to technical problems, Venter said.

Venter advised staff who need assistance to contact the IT&N Helpdesk, on 031 907 7349.

MUT MarComms makes the crucial annual delivery to the Founder’s residence

A staff member at the Museum and Documentation Centre receiving the calendars

On 11 February 2023, the Department of Marketing and Communications’ Bheki Hlophe delivered year planners and calendars to KwaPhindangene, the home of the University Founder, His Royal Highness, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Museum and Documentation Centre, in Ulundi, both places are in the north of KwaZulu-Natal.

Commenting on the annual delivery, Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director of the department, said the relationship the University has with the Buthelezi family was “very important. Delivering these calendars to the Founder’s family, and the museum and documentation centre is an indication that we are connected to the Founder and family. It also indicates how indebted we all are to his efforts at nation-building and empowering the people through education. This gesture is one of many efforts by the university to steward the relationship and sustain the legacy,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize added that staff at the Museum and Documentation Centre receive the calendars with excitement because they are a sign of a firm bond between the family and the University.


Distinguished guests, 

MUT staff and students

Good morning to you all. Sanibonani nonke. Welcome to our beautiful east coast, in the City of Durban in the Province of KwaZulu Natal.

Thank you so much for attending our 2nd International Week both physically and online. It is an honour to host you this week. We note that some of you have travelled from as far afield as Botswana, Gauteng, Limpopo, and the Free State.

This International Week is part of our implementation plan for our Internationalisation Strategy 2025. That plan entails deepening our knowledge of how the internationalisation agenda at universities is rapidly changing. It is thus for this very reason that every year in November we invite all our strategic partners to add more currency to our internationalisation efforts. The context of internationalisation at universities is dynamic, and you are therefore here to enhance our internationalisation agenda. We do hope that you will also take new lessons learned back home, get our University on your funding radar and also find new ways on how we could all collaborate to improve our mandate for Teaching and Learning, research and innovation, and community engagement.

I am pleased to note that our agenda for the whole week includes representation from diverse stakeholders right through how students could participate in the institutions’ internationalisation efforts whether at home or through cultural immersion programmes. A few years ago, we led our student leaders on a cultural immersion tour. It was the first time most of them had travelled outside South Africa. They returned to South Africa more aware of other cultures and participated positively in the student culture change project that we had developed.

We start deliberations on our International Week being very cognisant of the impact of Covid-19 on creating new campuses which are more than a shadow of their previous selves, with fewer staff members and fewer international students because many of the international students have opted for Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and/or Internationalisation at Home (IHA). These are forms of internationalisation that would have been impossible many years ago. I am glad that we have various practitioners that will unpack these programmes more in the course of the week.

Those of you that had an opportunity to read my opinion piece on the MUT’s international magazine, Boundless, will note that I referred to a book, titled ‘A world without work’, in which the writer shows how new technologies have impacted the world of work, bringing dislocation, “but overall people move on; with new jobs getting created and society benefiting despite anxieties when new technologies emerge”. Surely, we are benefiting from emerging technologies in the internationalisation arena. We aim by the end of this International Week to have reached out and received input across borders as more of you are joining through online platforms.

Drawing from the conference programme, I have used the African idiom, “If you want to walk alone, go fast but if you want to go further, walk together”. We have moved from having one signed MOU in just more than a year to at least over 10 quality MoUs ranging from SA, (CPUT and Univen), Botswana, Namibia, Cameroon, UK, France, Sweden, USA, and there are ongoing discussions in Ghana, Nigeria, India, and across the world. The fact that we have signed two partnerships with universities in France, is a huge milestone for us, given the language barriers and also the fact that we were able to get into Higher Education through the strategic leadership of Prof Moncef MEDDEB who will also be participating in this programme tomorrow.

Working with eThekwini Municipality’s Intergovernmental Relations office will provide us with greater leverage than we have imagined.

This week’s deliberations aim to advance our internationalisation agenda and the themes will focus on:

  • Lessons learnt from South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training’s Week in France,
  • Understanding of South Africa’s higher education landscape,
  • Navigating partnership challenges,
  • Ability to rise above negativity for collaborations to succeed,
  • Strengthening KwaZulu-Natal’s research agenda,
  • Laying a foundation for international study programmes,
  • International education opportunities.

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot walk alone on this journey, we need to walk with you so we may go further by 2025 and beyond. Always remember the African Proverb which says: “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. I look forward to walking together on this internationalisation journey which has always been very close to my heart. I was once an International Student in the UK, and it was a life-changing experience for me. I hope we can all be able to create those experiences for our university communities.

Thank you so much for your attendance.


Professor Marcus Ramogale

Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal




Natural Sciences strengthens its ties with a prestigious Indian university

From left, Dr Jugoo, Professor Beesham, Professor Coopoosamy, Professor Anirudh Pradhan, and Professor Gopikant Goswami, having a discussion in the dean’s office

Last week, MUT hosted two esteemed guests from the Republic of India. Professor Anirudh Pradhan, a Director of the Centre for Cosmology, Astrophysics and Space Science at the GLA University, and Gopikant Goswami, Visiting Professor at Netaji Subhash University of Technology, met the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Professor Roger Coopoosamy, the Head of the Department of Information and Communication Technology, Dr Vikash Jugoo, and Professor Aroonkumar Beesham, who is a Research Professor in the Faculty.

The visit comes after MUT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GLA University. Professor Coopoosamy said the MOU was part of the faculty’s international outreach.

“In line with the internationalization of MUT, the faculty has developed partnerships with various institutions abroad,” Professor Coopoosamy said.

Professor Beesham said the MOU, which is already bearing results, was aimed at building a long-term relationship and developing healthy and stable arrangements between both universities. The MOU also aims at developing academic and research cooperation and to “promote understanding between MUT and GLA university in India”.

Professor Beesham said both universities wish to develop academic and industry relationships in the areas of research papers, meetings and international events, such as projects, guest lectures, workshops, seminars and conferences”.

Other planned activities include conducting joint seminars, workshops, webinars, and conferences. The signing of the MOU will also have an impact on the students. One of its components is a planned exchange of staff and students between both universities for research and teaching purposes, thereby providing exposure to staff, who get a chance to teach at the GLA University, which has a very high research profile in many disciplines, and by staff from GLA teaching at MUT.

Professor Beesham added that Professor Anirudh Pradhan was his long-term research partner, and they published many papers together. In addition, he said they have visited each other’s universities several times. Both Professors also collaborate with Professor Goswami.

Said Professor Beesham: “We felt that our cooperation was very useful and productive, and that an MOU should be set up between our two universities to foster research and teaching relationships between them.”

Professor Beesham is an expert in space research, an area of study that is part of Professor Pradhan’s directorate.

MUT Radio hosts cancer discussions on World Cancer Day

Zamokuhle Mbatha in MUT Radio live studio

Like the rest of the world, the University acknowledged World Cancer Day by amplifying the important message – that cancer kills, and that early detection is often the key to surviving cancer. This message was delivered by Zamokuhle Mbatha of the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) on 3 February 2023 on MUT Radio, a day before the World Cancer Day. This day was established in February 2000, at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium, in Paris, France.

Mbatha shared her concern about late diagnosis explaining that when the disease has reached stage four, it is too late. Mbatha said CANSA encouraged people to do regular check-ups for early detection.

“We can beat cancer if it is discovered early. Cancer can also be managed,” Mbatha said.

Mbatha added that CANSA encourages people to read about cancer, and to treat those being treated for cancer in a humane manner.

“We should stop judging those suffering from cancer,” Mbatha said. She also appealed to any medical practitioners to refer people with cancer to the correct health professionals. Traditional healers should refer cancer patients to clinics, she said. Mbatha herself is a traditional healer.

Sister Bongiwe Sithole of the MUT Clinic and Mbatha both agreed that some of the causes of cancer were hereditary, the environment, and lifestyle, like smoking. Various examples of cancer include bladder cancer; breast cancer (for both women and men); prostate cancer;  uterine cancer;  cervical cancer; and lung cancer. In her presentation, Mbatha dispelled some of the myths about the disease. For instance, Mbatha said that contrary to popular belief, vapour smoking is no better than ordinary cigarettes.  Vapour smoking or vaping as it is commonly known, has chemicals that are harmful to the body just like cigarettes. Mbatha said the new trend is that more women are taking up smoking.

“Now more women die as a result of smoking, and secondary smokers suffer more than the primary smokers,” Mbatha said.

Mbatha said that all types of cancers are contracted by all race groups. Mbatha also reiterated that anyone can get skin cancer, even dark-skinned people, she said.

“But light-skinned [people] have more chances. Sunscreen can help. But look for one with CANSA sign; those are more reliable.

Mbatha also appealed to people living with albinism to wear long-sleeved clothing, and hats with full cover, the baseball caps do not provide full cover.

Community Engagement directorate hosts Brazilian academics

Professor Busisiwe Nkonki-Mandleni, third from right, shaking hands with Professor Solange Locatelli, while and Professor Leonardo Testoni, right, and Professor James, fifth from right, and members of the CEAD, look on   

The relationship between the three pillars of the University – Teaching and Learning, Research, and Community Engagement (CE), is getting stronger and will bear even better fruits.

On 6 February 2023, the University’s Community Engagement and Development Directorate (CEAD), hosted two esteemed academics from Brazilian institutions, to support the integration of Community Engagement into teaching and learning. Professor Solange Locatelli from the Federal University of ABC, and Professor Leonardo Testoni from Federal University of Sao Paulo, met members of the CEAD, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Professor Angela James to discuss how CE at MUT could be integrated into Teaching and Learning through Inquiry-Based method of Teaching and Learning. Locatelli is a Professor of Chemistry and her research is on secondary education, higher education and science education, while Professor Testoni is a Chemistry Professor with a PhD in Education.

Professor Busisiwe Nkonki-Mandleni, the Director of CEAD, said the approach was “anchored on principles of engaging, problem identification, hypothesis, interpretation and systematisation, and communication. The outcome from the engagement, and as a way forward was that the four universities in KwaZulu-Natal could collaborate on one programme where individual universities would adopt Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning as a way of integrating CE in the form of service-learning. These universities are the Durban University of Technology, the University of Zululand, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Mangosuthu University of Technology,” said Professor Nkonki-Mandleni.

Professor Nkonki-Mandleni indicated that the CEAD’s intention was to work closely with the University’s Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC) in implementing this approach to assist in the integration of CE into teaching and learning at MUT.

As part of the partnership with Brazil, academic staff members will have CE projects in collaboration with their Brazilian counterparts.

Social learning interventions key to the successful introduction of new agricultural crops – MUT study finds

MUT students checking out new agricultural crops that are part of the innovation in the agricultural sector

A recent study by Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) academics found social learning interventions to be necessary for any success in introducing new agricultural crops that contribute to nutritional diversity, and fight food insecurity.

The study – Introducing grain legumes for crop diversification and sustainable food production systems among urban small-holder farmers: food and nutrition security project in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa – was published in the journal of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Volume 46, Number 6.

It was co-authored by Dr Bonginkosi Mthembu, the Head of the Department of Community Extension at MUT; Dr Xolile Mkhize, a Senior Lecturer in the same department; Professor Wilna Oldewage-Theron of Texas Tech University; Professor Carin Napier, the Director of Research and Postgraduate Support at the Durban University of Technology (DUT); and Kevin Duffy, Director of the Institute of Systems Science at DUT.

The study found that “social learning interventions through partnerships, meetings, workshops, knowledge exchanges, as well as trial demonstrations, provided farmers with knowledge and skills on various legume crop management techniques”.

The two MUT academics’ study also found that training farmers on legume nutritional benefits shifted mindsets on enhancing crop diversification and managing legumes from production level. The study added that the change in mindsets was necessary for sustainable land management.

“The study demonstrated that the farmers had the capacity to adopt new behaviours of accepting and adaptation toward legume diversity within their production systems. Continuous commitment and compliance within the planting seasons were part of the positive behaviour shifts which can have environmental impact,” the study revealed.

The study also contributes to efforts to enhance food security and increase legume consumption; the legume is an important and environmentally friendly source of protein. This is because of the “stronger correlation between female farmers and successful production of legumes”. This is because women played a vital role in deciding what to plant, and in influencing the consumption of legumes.

The study was conducted at Marianhill, north-west of Durban, with urban small-holder farmers. The farmers involved in the project previously only planted vegetables and relied on the municipality to make seeds available to them, which limited what these farmers could plant. Urban small-holder farmers were chosen because of their potential to “increase and improve food and nutrition security in urban areas”, the study revealed.

However, the study acknowledged that although social learning interventions were key to successfully introducing new crops, the shortage of water and pest infestation needed to be addressed.

Management Sciences Professor to deliver lecture on strengthening SCM processes at local government level

Professor Evan Mantzaris

While many municipalities continue to make headlines over maladministration, a Retired Professor at the Faculty of Management Sciences has identified Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes as a key to fostering a culture of ethical practices.

Professor Evan Mantzaris, who is also an NRF-rated Senior Researcher and Extraordinary Professor at the Anti-Corruption Centre for Education and Research at the University of Stellenbosch, will present a lecture at MANCOSA on ‘the Role of Public Administrators in ensuring ethical supply chain processes in the Public Sector’, on 16 February 2023.

Professor Mantzaris said the aim of the presentation was to examine the impact and influence of supply chain and procurement towards the evolution of public administration with the intention to show how the SCM contributes to public administration with the sad reality of corruption.

Professor Mantzaris views the SCM as an important aspect of service delivery in South Africa.

“Ironically, the Supply Chain Management has been regarded to be a breeding ground of corruption within the country, despite government’s fight against corruption through the 1996 South African Constitution and other anti-corruption laws, rules, and regulations,” Professor Mantzaris said.

Professor Mantzaris pointed out that literature has proven corruption in the public sector to be on a steady increase by the year.

Professor Mantzaris also added that the presentation would deal with SCM as a strategic system instrumental in establishing and perpetrating the foundations of anti-corruption strategies and tactics. This presentation is based on research undertaken through the utilization of the qualitative, interpretive methodological paradigm.

A win for diversity as MUT registration takes off

Zolisa Gqamane

This week, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) kick-started its registration of students for the 2023 academic year. The University, which has 3255 spaces for first-time entering students, has so far seen just under half of those students take up their places at MUT.

Commenting on progress with registration, the Deputy Registrar of Academic Affairs at MUT, quipped that although numbers did not lie, they can also tell an incomplete story.

“Of the 1237 and counting that we have registered so far, we are seeing a great deal of diversity in terms of age, gender, where the students are from and students with disability,” said Gqamane.

This is an indication of MUT’s commitment to empowering students from all walks of life regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, age and/or ethnicity, among other things.

“One of our strengths as a University is that of empowering more women with quality education. So far, 53% of the students who have registered are female. It is satisfying to see that MUT is continuing in this trajectory and that female students trust the University with their higher education and training,” said Gqamane.

He added that having more female students take up their places at MUT had a transformational effect on society.

“Some of these students come from backgrounds where their parents were denied an opportunity to access the kind of education that MUT offers, which makes their educational success even more important and impactful,” said Gqamane.

Gqamane cautioned students against the rising number of scams aimed at defrauding desperate matriculants who either did not apply to the University or were not offered a place to study.

“MUT does not take walk-in applications. Our applications are done through the CAO. MUT has not appointed any individuals to collect money on its behalf to secure a place. If any individual asks you to pay them to secure a place, that is a scam. Be vigilant with your hard-earned money,” cautioned Gqamane.

‘Thanks for your advice’ – from freshers to their recruiter

Ayanda Bulose, middle, and  Lucky Ngwane, left, and  Sandisiwe Ntisamba

A very humbling moment for schools liaison assistant, Ayanda Bulose, who while going through his daily business on campus was approached by two very friendly faces, Sandisiwe Ntisamba, and Lucky Ngwane.  The two freshers recognised Ayanda among many because he was the one that helped them make their career choice to join MUT in 2023.

Sandisiwe and Lucky are both from Guzana Secondary School in Shaka’s Kraal, Ilembe District.

“We are very excited, we completed our registration today, I had applied at another institution, when Ayanda gave a presentation at my school.  I was strongly convinced by the presentation that I submitted a change of mind and put MUT as my first choice.  I am glad I did, I will soon be starting my Mechanical Engineering access programme.  I appreciate the visit by MUT to my school because all the other institutions I applied to did not accept me,” said Lucky.

Lucky said the registration process was quite seamless although they had to come back the following day to complete their registration because of load shedding.

Also grateful was Sandisiwe who has registered for the diploma in Nature Conservation.  She says she always had an interest in doing a qualification related to environmental sustainability as she cares very much for the environment and doing the diploma will give her a chance to provide solutions to climate challenges and preserve the beloved flora and fauna.

“I knew that I wanted to do a programme in the natural sciences, but the admission requirements were a challenge.  I never turned back when Ayanda told us that you have the possibility to study Nature Conservation with Maths Literacy.  I am so glad to have registered for this programme,” said Sandisiwe.

Such encounters are very encouraging for the student recruitment team who brace all kinds of weather, bumpy roads, and extended work hours to recruit students.  The team of three has created a very smart programme of targeting schools with great results and setting up one-on-one visits to reinforce the message to learners in the comfort of their classrooms.

“We have to cover all twelve districts in KZN, and visit at least two more provinces outside KZN, as well as visit one SADC country each year.  We do this by monitoring the Department of Education performance report and targeting better-performing schools in each of the areas mentioned.  We find that this way we get quality applications from learners who listen very attentively when you address them. The 2022 year was very busy for us but the application statistics confirm that our plan is better than just attending big crowds during exhibitions and hope learners got your message,” said Bulose.

Early First-Year Experience for new MUT students

Thobekile Ngubane, left, and others team members, and some students

On the first week of registration, the MUT’s First Year Experience (FYE) team is already recruiting students. Thobekile Ngubane, a Human Resources and Management postgraduate student, said they started early so that the students will “get exposed to utilizing computers before the commencement of classes. Furthermore, we encourage students to utilize the library services effectively at the beginning of their learning journey.”

Ngubane said they were giving the newly registered students an information pack that included pamphlets from different support departments. She said they briefly explain the services offered by the division. The FYE, which is part of the Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC), provides support to students that need extra attention with academic issues. Some of these support services are digital literacy training, where the students learn about learning management systems used at MUT. These systems are Microsoft Teams, Blackboard, and Moodle. Ngubane also said that they inform the students about the Writing Centre where they can learn about Academic Literacy to improve their grammar, vocabulary and writing skills and ethics of writing.

Arthi Ramrung of the TLDC said that the FYE welcome was a mini-campus tour and would evolve as the programme developed. “The mini tour is only the first step to the welcome activities; the team plans to meet the students again at the residence and during the MY MUT MY FYE Student Expo in February,” said Ramrung.

Ramrung added that it was important “to walk alongside our students to make them feel heard, valued and a part of MUT. We wish to positively influence our students’ overall first-year experience at Mangosuthu University of Technology,” said Ramrung.

Random acts of kindness give hope to the Mbhele family and Shumayela High School

Selfless random acts of kindness

At the beginning of every new year, people make different resolutions and set some personal and professional goals to achieve.  Many labels are used with some people refusing to call them resolutions. A Marcomms staffer, Bheki Hlophe, approached Zama Sishi, Director of Stakeholder Relations Management at MUT, to identify a learner from any of the Umlazi schools who needs a new pair of school shoes. This is part of Hlophe’s new year resolution to engage in random acts of kindness to make a difference to others.

“Upon approaching Mthokozisi Mabaso, Principal of Shumayela High School in Q-section Umlazi, I was heartbroken when the principal shared a message from a parent of a grade 9 learner informing him that the family home burnt to ashes over the festive season.  This family lost everything, all they wanted was school uniform for their girl to go back to school.  The relief in the principal’s voice to get the call and an offer for help was priceless, putting pressure on us to find means to provide support with full school uniform,” Sishi said.  Sishi received a quotation for school shoes, and summer and winter uniforms at a cost that is more than double what Hlophe had proposed to offer.  Nonetheless, when Hlophe heard about the demise of the Mbhele family, he sponsored the total cost of the full uniform.

Most learners who attend Shumayela High School come from financially challenged families, however, such challenges do not affect the school’s performance.  This school achieved 95.9% matric pass for the class of 2022 and their target this year is 100% pass.  Such resilience has prompted Marcomms to provide support in many ways to the school’s learners including sharing donated groceries from the MUT food pantry.

The generosity of Hlophe confirms the proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, indeed, an entire community of people must provide and interact positively with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.  Extreme gratitude to Hlophe’s goodwill which has positioned MUT as a caring institution anchored in its community.  Siyabonga Thumbeza!

ITS and brand workshop to empower MUT administrators

Finance department’s Delani Buthelezi, pointing, had some very valuable advise for staff involved in the procurement process

Remember, when the account is closed, the whole University might be affected. These were cautionary words by Sabelo Mkhabela, a Creditors Clerk at the Department of Finance at MUT. Mkhabela spoke at a workshop on using the MUT Corporate Identity and using the ITS system organised for the University’s administrators on 31 January 2023.

The workshop was a collaboration between the Departments of Information Technology and Networks (IT&N), Marketing and Communications (MarComms), together with the Finance Directorate. The focus of the workshop was on buying and paying processes and branding to remind administrators of their obligation as ambassadors of the MUT brand.

Delani Buthelezi, Finance Officer at MUT, said their main goal was to ensure that everyone was aware of the processes, so that delays in payment could be eliminated. According to Buthelezi, there are cases where receipts are lying around, with responsible individuals not knowing what to do with them.

Mkhabela added that in some cases the suppliers would take a decision that would affect the whole University, when in fact it is only one department that is at fault. In most cases, it would be non-payment resulting in the suspension of an account. Mkhabela also gave an example of documents with irreconcilable information. He said he would study the case properly and take the necessary decisions. In all cases, the extra effort always causes delays in the payment for goods or services.

“We sometimes get emails from particular companies asking when their invoices are being paid, when they are sitting with someone here at the University,” Buthelezi said.

The team deliberated on various payment scenarios they encountered difficulties with.

The workshop would not have been complete without presentations from the Procurement Department, which was represented by Philly Hlophe. She explained that one of the most important steps in purchasing goods and services was the development of an appropriate and complete specification.

“The specification is a guide for buyers to get you the service or goods you require. An incomplete specification can get you the wrong goods because buyers rely on the assumption that the service departments have expert knowledge of what they are trying to acquire. We don’t know everything about the products and services you require,” explained Hlophe.

Dr Azwi Mufamadi of MarComms shared advice on using the MUT brand components correctly on branded goods, reports and communication material.

MUT staff and art enthusiast obtains certification from US organisation

Zinhle Mbili

Although working at a university of technology, she has always had a deep love for the arts. Every year, Zinhle Mbili from the Academic Literacy and Language Unit (ALLU) at the MUT’s Teaching and Learning Development Centre, gets involved in the annual Time of the Writers’ workshop. This workshop is run by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with some segments held at other places, like MUT.

It came as no surprise for Mbili to receive a glowing letter from Brian Watkins, Director of International Initiatives, Office of Global Engagement at the University of Georgia, USA.

Watkins was informing Mbili that she had “successfully completed all the requirements for the African Civic Engagement Academy (ACEA) for 2023. Your work indicates a sound understanding of the basic principles of civic engagement, inclusion, media management, nonprofit management, and programme design,” Watkin’s letter explained.  Watkins also said that a copy of the successful participants’ Certificate of Program Completion and an ACEA logo for attachment to her email signature would be emailed to her.

The University of Georgia is responsible for the African Civic Engagement Academy (ACEA). Mbili said the ACEA is an online training programme and networking opportunity offered to selected mid-career NGO and public sector leaders across sub-Saharan Africa. The Academy is intended for mid-career individuals with demonstrated leadership experience in NGO, non-profit, or public sector roles. It is ssupported by the US Department of State. The ACEA provides 60+ hours of virtual coursework and peer discussion in English, French, and Portuguese.

“I am naturally inclined to assist those in need. I guess my mother, Nonose, is directly responsible for this trait,” explained Mbili. “I have numerous ideas that are usually not accepted, nor supported, so I was instinctively creating my own ‘yes’ in response to all the ‘no’s’ I have collected in my experience.”

Mbili said the programme covered the following areas: the principles of Civic Engagement, including strategies for NGO, non-profit, and government sector leaders to advocate and engage with one another; political inclusion, covering steps that can be taken to improve the political and social inclusion of underrepresented communities; Media Management, including the role of old and new media as a bridge between government and civil society; Non-Profit Management, focusing on key management skills relevant to community-facing organisations, which included strategic planning, supervisory skills, giving feedback, and developing an inclusive organizational culture; and program design, Implementation, and Evaluation, to help you to develop and implement participatory projects relevant to civil society (including program design, stakeholder engagement, needs assessment, monitoring and evaluation, and grant writing.

Mbili is also a chairperson of Debaters Foundation, a non-profit organisation.  Mbili said the Foundation is intended to assist high school students with language, public speaking, critical thinking skills, Olympiads, and scholarships, among others.

MUT Research directorate appoints seasoned administrator

Melvin Mothoa

The directorate has appointed Melvin Mothoa, a seasoned administrator, to “put in place and maintain structures, systems, and processes to ensure effective management of the University Capacity Development Plan (UCDP).”

The UCDP was introduced by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in January 2018. It is aimed at enhancing development initiatives at universities. It focuses on three areas in the sector; these are student development, staff development, and curriculum development.

Commenting on Mothoa’s appointment, Dr Anette Mienie, the Director of the directorate, described Mothoa as an amazing individual. “He has already started to work on the UCDG research projects and is in the process of finalising a research capacity development plan. I wish him an exciting career at MUT and look forward to working with him as we grow research support at MUT,” said Dr Mienie.

Mothoa, who joined the Institution in December last year, said that he is rolling out research-related projects that specifically focus on MUT support and academic staff. He provides MUT staff with opportunities such as Research capacity development workshops and seed funds in the form of grants for emerging researchers. Mothoa is also responsible for the budgeting and financial management of research grants projects, the monitoring and evaluation of UCDP Research projects, and Administration of Research Ethics in the Directorate.

He was doing the same duties at North-West University, which he joined in 2020. He also held a similar position at UNISA from 2017 to 2020.

Mothoa, from Pretoria, holds a Diploma in Marketing Management, B-Tech in Business Administration, and a Master’s in Organisational Leadership, all from the Tshwane University of Technology. He is studying towards a Doctoral Degree in Business Administration with the Tshwane School for Business and Society.

Come Monday, MUT will register new students

File photo: Some MUT students registering online

“We will be ready, come Monday.” This is how the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Deputy Registrar for Academic Affairs, Zolisa Gqamane, felt after a registration planning meeting that took place on 25 January 2023 in anticipation of the registration of the first-time entering students starting on 30 January 2023.

Gqamane and all other divisions that deal with registration at the University agreed that the University was ready for first-year students. Financial Aid Office Manager, Andrew Kubone, said that by Monday morning they would be ready to register at least 811 first-time enrolling students who are NSFAS-funded. These new students will register online on Monday as they would have been cleared in the system. Kubone said that was very pleasing news.

“This figure is very close to what we have expected on the first day of registration for first-time entering students,” said Kubone.

During the meeting, Xolani Kunene, Head of Administration, rolled out a list with online enrolment and registration figures his division has. The departmental selectors, who were part of the meeting, said they were on top of things; they were dealing with problems as and when they arose.

Selectors from various departments detailed the number of offers they had issued to students to meet their enrolment target.

The Head of Protection Services, Jackson Rammala, said they would be ready for the registration and would be on standby to ensure that none of the students who did not apply to the university enter the campuses.

Rammala cautioned against scams targeting desperate matriculants by promising them a place at MUT for a fee.

Students can visit for more on the MUT registration.

“We must put this University at a level where we can capacitate and train our youth to become future leaders” – MUT Administrator

MUT Administrator, Professor Lourens van Staden talking on MUT Radio

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Administrator, Professor Lourens Van Staden, is guided in his work by a single goal, to re-establish governance protocols so that the University can produce the next generation of leaders.

“We must put this University at a level where we can capacitate and train our youth to become future leaders,” said Professor Van Staden. “This university belongs to the taxpayers, even the unemployed, this university belongs to the people.”

Professor Van Staden was speaking on MUT Radio, during his visit to campus on Thursday, 26 December 2022, where he was scheduled to be part of engagements with the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation and the Department of Higher Education and Training delegation on the state of MUT’s readiness for the 2023 academic year.

The interview on MUT Radio comes after the MUT Administrator issued his first communication to the university community on Monday, 23 January 2023, where he detailed his role at the University, provided information on his team and a Communication Plan on what and how he intends to communicate with the University community during his tenure.

“A common misunderstanding could be that the administrator must address issues that belong to the university management. It [the Administrator’s position] has a clear governance role and management has their role. My job is not to interfere with the work of management unless there is a complaint that management is found wanting, not doing their work,” emphasised Professor Van Staden.

He explained that all the work that he would undertake with his team during the 24-month tenure as the administrator was meant to enable the university to play its role of empowering young people as was the vision of former president and struggle stalwart, Nelson Mandela.

In terms of the work itself, Professor Van Staden said he was expected to appoint the new Council.

“The main aim ultimately is to appoint a new Council for the university. That’s the overall goal. Very important is also to fill the Vice-Chancellor vacancy. The vacancy is the responsibility of the Council,” he explained.

Professor Van Staden added that coupled with appointing a Council and filling senior positions, he is also expected to deliver a five-year development plan for the university.

“That plan will be developed with the stakeholders of the university so that we develop a plan that can be implemented by management and the new Council,” said Professor Van Staden. “We will not just deliver the plan, but we will also start implementing it with management and the new Council.”

He further added that the forensic investigation that is mentioned as part of the activities he expected to deliver was meant to ensure that public money was spent on what it was intended for since MUT is a public university.

“This university is here for our children, our kids,” said Professor Van Staden. “I call them kids because I am a madala [an old man].”

Current heat wave will be devastating to agricultural yield – MUT Agriculture expert

Dr Eric Mthembu

An Agriculture expert at MUT pointed out that the recent heatwave will have more dire consequences on agricultural yield. Dr Eric Mthembu, the Head of the Department of Agriculture, has pointed out that the heat wave has started “ravaging” plants and livestock, and will “continue to have devastating effects on plants and animal productivity”.

Dr Mthembu said it was because high temperatures have negative effects on various production factors.

“It is important to remember that physical and chemical processes are controlled by temperatures which in turn control biological reactions in plants and animals,” said Dr Mthembu.

He added that heat stress from high temperatures suppressed seed germination. Dr Mthembu said the plants that will mostly be affected are those that are planted at this time of the year. He added that it was important to remember that most of the small-hold farmers plant dry beans in January, which is the second part of the growing season.

“Therefore, the heat wave will have a negative impact on legume productivity such as dry beans, a staple food crop,” said Dr Mthembu.

Dr Mthembu added that high temperatures negatively affect pollen viability and silks receptivity, leading to a high reduction in maize yield and grain quality.

Livestock are also affected by heat. He said the heat waves arising from current high temperatures reduce production in livestock and their reproductive performance, and that feed intake was reduced because of heat stress experienced by animals. This reduction in feed intake results in poor growth rates in animals.

“Heat stress might cause high mortality rates leading to income losses by farmers,” he said.

Dr Mthembu said the heat wave has persisted for more than 10 days and is a “clear indication that climate change” arising from global warming was real. Climate change through rainfall variability patterns (such as 2022 flooding in various parts of South Africa) and current high temperatures, poses great threats to South Africa’s food security and is catastrophic to the country’s ecosystems and humans.

Bittersweet moment as Chemistry Department bids veteran staff goodbye

Phillipa Middleton, seated, middle, with MUT staff from the two departments

The almost two decades she spent at the University were full of bliss, productivity and love. For her colleagues in the Department of Chemistry, she was a pleasure to interact and work with.

This was a dominant topic in a farewell meeting as staff bade goodbye to Philippa Middleton, who joined MUT in 2004 from a neighbouring institution. From the time she joined MUT, she became a reference for staff. Many confessed to having benefited from her vast knowledge of the subject, and life in general.

Dr Lindelani Qwabe, Senior Lecturer in the department, said Middleton was his “partner in crime”. They would swap lectures when necessary. Dr Njabulo Gumede recalled how Middleton assisted him with printing. The Head of Department, Dr Michael Shapi, struggled for words as he tried to tell everyone how life was with Middleton. Dr Shapi said he was expecting Middleton to leave in December.

The impact of Middleton upon staff and students was shown by the number of staff members who used to be her students. Middleton said what was most pleasing for her was that her subject was then going to be taught by her former student, who was “doing better than me”. What became clear in the meeting was that she was a glue to the whole department, a fact that was noticed by the Head of a neighbouring Department of Chemical engineering, Njabulo Zulu, who was invited to this ‘secret meeting’.

During her response to what colleagues said about her, Middleton reminded them of the quality time they had together as colleagues and friends. They discussed academic issues, as well as family and social issues. Middleton reminded staff that their children, who were very young when they met, were now in their final years of study at higher education institutions. Dr Thobeka Makhathini, another Lecturer in the department, said she was going to miss times when Middleton who would come to her and tell her about specials at one of the big chain stores they visited sometimes.

Thabani Mkhize, another Lecturer in the department, who has a child that Middleton is very familiar with, said Middleton’s footsteps were different from others’, and that she was a very organised individual. Mkhize said he moderated Middleton’s papers well before the deadline.

MUT congratulates Umlazi Schools on grade 12 results

Excited! Achieved! Zwelibanzi High School Principal, Sibusiso Maseko, second from left, with some of the top achievers in grade 12, and MUT staff

This morning, the Schools liaison unit in the Department of Marketing and Communication at MUT visited several schools in Umlazi Township to congratulate them on their performance in the grade 12 examinations.

Zama Sishi, Director: Stakeholder Relations Management, under which student recruitment falls, said they conduct the visits annually to encourage schools and show their appreciation for their efforts.

Sthembile Maphumulo, Schools Liaison Officer at MUT, said they chose feeder schools, in terms of the number of learners that applied to enrol with the University.

“We have decided to strengthen our relationship with these schools as they are showing interest in us,” said Maphumulo. Maphumulo said application statistics indicate that a high number of learners from these schools have applied for space at MUT for the 2023 new intake. Maphumulo said this was a direct result of their school visits and other stakeholder engagement initiatives to support these key stakeholders.

The MUT team visited Ogwini Comprehensive Technical High School, King Shaka High School, Velabahleke High School, Zwelibanzi High School, Umbelebele High School, and Ndukwenhle High School.  These schools are trully the jewel of Umlazi obtaining several distinctions and performances ranging from 100% to 83%.  Most impressive was Ogwini Comprehensive, one of the oldest schools in the township, a total of 516 matriculants wrote the exam and achieved 93.2%.  Managing such a huge number of learners requires sterling leadership and passion for learners which are some of the characters of the school principal Dr Vusi Dlamini.

Maphumulo said the main message they delivered to schools during the visits was how the learners would benefit from enrolling with the MUT.  “We tell the learners about how good our academic and other student development programmes are, and how our graduates are making an impact in the economic sector,” said Maphumulo.  Learners appreciated that  enrolling with the University will position them to benefit from the University’s efforts at promoting an entrepreneurial mindset. Business programmes are now being rolled out to all three faculties at MUT to instil a culture for entrepreneurship to curb graduate unemployment challenges that the country faces,” concluded Maphumulo.

Ugu District flying the KZN flag high at #MatricResults2022

Mr Sibiya

MUT congratulates Ugu District for its sterling performance in the 2022 grade 12 examination results. The district beat all other 11 districts in KwaZulu-Natal,  keeping its position in the top, three years in a row. Ugu District obtained an 87.2% pass, earning an exclusive invitation from Minister of Basic Education,  Angie Motshekga, during the 2022 National Examination results announcement in Pretoria last night. The district was represented by Mfundi Sibiya, its director.

Sibiya’s sterling leadership has produced a strong and passionate team of managers, coordinators, advisors, principals, and educators who all put hands on deck from day one to ensure that learners are fully prepared to face the ultimate examination.

In the 2022 grade 12 examination,  the district recorded a sterling improvement of more than 7% from the 2021 results.  Such excellent results by the district contributed immensely to the overall provincial performance of 83% which put KwaZulu-Natal in the third position nationally.

Ugu district has been an outstanding partner to MUT’s efforts of recruiting and providing support to the schools. This bond became more personal when MUT recruited Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, the DVC: Research Innovation and Engagement. Professor Sibiya is the wife of Mfundo Sibiya.  Indeed, alongside every successful man, there is a strong woman, and the woman is his wife.

The Senior Director of MUT’s Department of Marketing and Communications, Mbali Mkhize, said the district’s efforts were more than pleasing.

“My department is very involved with all the districts in the province. The consistency shown by Ugu District is more than pleasing. Last year this district performed very well, achieving 80.4%. Great appreciation to Professor Nokuthula Sibiya for her support and understanding of the challenging role and the sacrifices that Mr Sibiya makes while dedicating his time to the district to produce excellent results. It is clear to us that the Sibiya family are committed to empowering the community through education. MUT is more than ready to work with well-performing districts like Ugu. Well done, again, Mr Sibiya,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize also thanked the parents, and educators for working with the district in creating a conducive learning environment.

MUT is ready to register new students

Zolisa Gqamane

As South Africa celebrates the release of grade 12 examinations, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is itching to receive the 2023 cohort of students who will register to pursue their studies at the University. This week, the university reminded potential students who have just received their grade 12 results to be on the lookout for offers from MUT and to accept offers as instructed.

Deputy Registrar for Academic Affairs at MUT, Zolisa Gqamane, said the University’s selection processes were in full swing. He explained that the selectors had already started giving offers to potential students based on the released grade 12 results.

“Those who applied to study at MUT will receive instructions on how to accept offers and what they need to register,” explained Gqamane. “Our registration is fully online and we are not expecting any students to come to campus, except in cases where there are issues that can only be resolved physically.”

Gqamane added that the University has been hard at work ensuring that potential students apply to the institution through the relevant channels.

“Potential students who did not apply to MUT will not be considered. We are cautioning students and parents of these students to be careful of scammers who falsely promise to get students a place at MUT. I want to re-iterate that MUT does not accept walk-in applications and that our applications are made through the CAO. The University does not hire any intermediaries to accept money on its behalf,” concluded Gqamane.

MUT prepares staff for NRF ratings

MUT staff that attended the meeting. Research leaders, from left, Dr Jordaan, Dr Mienie, and Professor Sibiya

As the celebration dust begins to settle after staff members in the Faculty of Natural Sciences received their National Research Foundation (NRF) rating last year, the Research Directorate is planning on increasing the number of staff with NRF ratings.

In an information session that the Research Directorate hosted off-campus on 18 January 2023, it became clear that the journey towards being a rated researcher is not an easy one. About 20 academics, most of whom have PhDs, interacted with presentations from various members of the University that gave them advice on how to apply for the NRF rating, and what it means to be an NRF-rated researcher.

Dr Maryam Amra Jordaan, the University’s NRF Administrator in the Research Directorate, said the NRF rating system “remains the benchmark for research excellence, bringing prestige to both the researchers who receive the award and the institution where they are based”. Dr Jordaan said that the University has seen growth in NRF-rated researchers – from six in 2022 to an additional five researchers in 2023. These include the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, and Professor Theophilus Davies, a Research Professor in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Both professors received C2 ratings, as well as Dr Ebenezer Oluwakemi,  Dr Njabulo Gumede, both from the Department of Analytical Chemistry;   and Dr Devashan Naidoo,  from the Department of Nature Conservation, who are all Y2-rated.

The directorate invited NRF representatives Vuyo Mliswa, who served as a Professional Officer for the past five years at the NRF Reviews and Evaluation unit, and NRF Professional Officer, Jelka Monyela. The two joined the event virtually to provide information as well as a practical session on the new NRF connect system.

Dr Gumede and Dr Devashan Naidoo informed the prospective applicants how they applied, and what resulted in their applications succeeding. Both Drs Gumede and Naidoo emphasized that the peers, who review the applications, are more interested in what the applicant does, post their PhD studies. You must show some independence from your supervisor, said Dr Gumede. Dr Gumede also said that the applicant needs to give a clear indication that they have a plan for what they will be focusing on, in a reasonable period to come.

Dr Anette Mienie, the Director of the Research Directorate, discussed the common pitfalls encountered during the application process. Dr Jordaan provided information on the internal review processes as well as hints on how to improve application submissions. Dr Jordaan informed the academics that the Research Directorate has assembled an expert panel comprised of our MUT retired Research Professors to vet the applications, and to help strengthen them before they are sent to the NRF. These experts are Professor Aroonkumar Beesham, Professor Davies, Professor Paul Musonge and Professor Marcel Odhiambo Ohanga.

Dr Anette Mienie emphasized the need for applicants to focus on one area of study, and this must be very clear so the adjudication process will be easy.

Said Dr Mienie: “If the areas of specialisation are too broad the panel will struggle to find reviewers, as all fields must be covered, and it might indicate that you do not have a coherent focus.   No clear focus, no rating.”

Dr Mienie also warned academics to be extra careful when choosing journals to publish with. She told academics to stay away from predatory journals, advice that has been sounded by several leading staff members at the University.

Drs Mienie, Gumede and Naidoo impressed upon the academics the need for submitting research work that would have a meaningful impact on the adjudicators. The most meaningful work would be the one that has the applicant as a leading contributor to the work. Dr Gumede said the one where the applicant is the sole author is even more meaningful. This indicates independence from your supervisor, said Dr Gumede. Dr Gumede also added that work not linked to the applicant’s PhD would be regarded as ‘post PhD’, and would have a bigger impact on the adjudicators.