MUT bids farewell to Professor Karabo Shale

Prof Shale saying goodbye to staff
Prof Shale saying goodbye to staff

On 27 November 2018 MUT bade goodbye to Prof Karabo Shale. Prof Shale was a Research Professor in the Faculty of Natural Sciences from January 2017. Staff that were touched by Prof Shale’s professionalism and depth of research knowledge pointed out that his departure was a huge loss for the University.

Almost in tears, the usually quiet Dr Malizo Buyeye, the Head of the Department of Agriculture, did not mince his words. “We need to ensure such a loss does not happen again.” Some staff members spoke about how much they have advanced with their studies as a result of Prof Shale’s leadership. Prof Shale has mentored more than 10 staff member towards obtaining their masters and doctoral degrees, as well as growing their research interest and knowledge.

Prof Alfred Msomi, the Acting Dean of the faculty, appealed to Prof Shale to make himself available online to staff. In his usual humble way, Prof Shale said his major contribution to MUT was securing funding for staff from both local and international funders, which include the National Research Foundation, Welcome Fund, and Fulbright Scholarship.

Professor Shale is a C3-rated scientist. He was a career development awardee from the Medical Research Council for the 2013 to 2016 cycle.   He published more than 25 papers in accredited journals such as PLoS ONE, Journal of Occupational Health, Journal of Food Safety, International Journal of Environmental Health Research and the Journal of Food Microbiology from his multidisciplinary research focus areas covering Bio-aerosols, Food Safety, Waste Management and Environmental Health aspects.  Prof Shale also presented more than 25 papers at both local and international conferences, and supervised masters and doctoral students.


MUT Convocation hosts its AGM

Convocation members with MUT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Malaza
Convocation members with MUT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Malaza

The MUT Convocation hosted its annual general meeting to report on activities of the previous year. The meeting was held on Saturday, 17 November 2018 at the Old Lecture Theatre, MUT main campus.

The meeting was also an opportunity for members of convocation to network with each other and for the MUT Vice-Chancellor to update the alumni community of the latest University developments.

Kwenza Madlala, the President of the Convocation, said it was not enough for him to just read the President’s report. He said the long term effect of the meeting would be creating a chance for members to get to know each other, and determine if they could come to each other’s aid.

Muzi Ngema, a Mechanical Engineering graduate, who has been working at Sapref for 18 years, confirmed his commitment to supporting MUT graduates with opportunities.  “Some of the graduates we recruited during the MUT careers fair in June are now employed fulltime at Sapref,” said Muzi.   He told the meeting that he already has a number of MUT graduates that he recruited and that he always prioritizes MUT graduates with opportunities within his division. This commitment was highly commended by the Convocation President and their entire meeting.

The MUT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, emphasized that he was looking forward to working with the Convocation in achieving the strategic goals of the University. These goals are encapsulated in the Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025, which is a roadmap that Dr Malaza has communicated to all stakeholders since he joined MUT. Dr Malaza thanked the members of Convocation for contributing to the Strategic Plan.  “Everyone has a role in shaping the future of the University,” Malaza said. Dr Malaza also shared the latest academic developments at the University. “Some of the highlights for this year are that two staff members in the Faculty of Management Sciences, Thobekile Luthuli, and Mphathi Ndlovu have obtained their PhDs, while Nokukhanya Cebekhulu, a staff member in the Department of Biomedical Sciences won the best poster presentation in the international Translational and Regenerative Medicine Conference in Rome in April 2018.”

Dr Malaza requested the Convocation to contribute in building the future of MUT for present and the future generations.

MUT TENUSA gets recognition

TENUSA leadership with MUT VC, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, seated, middle, and former HR&D Senior Director, Zweli Dlamini, second from left
TENUSA leadership with MUT VC, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, seated, middle, and former HR&D Senior Director, Zweli Dlamini, second from left

MUT Tertiary Education National Union of SA (TENUSA) has been granted recognition by the University. The Union has a membership of 172, which is the 30% threshold required for recognition.

Bonginkosi Zwane, one of the union leaders, said they aimed at growing the membership to more than 250 in 2019. “The recognition would give employees an option to choose between the two unions at MUT,” said Bonginkosi.  He said the current leadership was convinced that the leadership of the Union should diversify and be gender-balanced, attracting female members across the University.

IRDCE hosts roundtable to streamline MUT community development projects

MUT staff, a student, and other stakeholders at the event
MUT staff, a student, and other stakeholders at the event

The IRDCE hosted a roundtable meeting to discuss community development projects that MUT is involved in. The meeting brought together academic staff, support staff and external stakeholders.

Prof Busi Nkonki-Mandleni, the Director of IRDCE, said the main reason for the meeting was to streamline our projects and help all the project drivers to accelerate the pace of their respective projects. “We wanted to make sure that projects did not get in each other’s way, projects have to be properly registered with us,” said Prof Nkonki-Mandleni. “This was also a chance for interested individuals from different departments with different skills to discuss projects at length. We also wanted to update all our stakeholders about the projects, and invite them to make inputs.”

MUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza said the event was a “very timely initiative” since the institution is busy with strategic vision 2020 to 2025 which also seeks to anchor the institution within its surrounding communities. Speaking at the meeting held on Friday, 9 November 2018 at the Protea Hotel, Karridene, Dr Malaza said the meeting was in line with the University’s vision, which is that of making MUT a transforming, equitable, sustainable and academically excellent University of Technology, anchored in its communities. Dr Malaza applauded the University staff for working collaboratively with communities to address issues that impact their well-being and that of MUT. The external stakeholders were also well-represented. Over and above the contributions they made, they committed to contribute to some of the projects that were presented.  The biggest benefactor of such commitments was the Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Restoration project, driven by Sithembile Nkosi, a lecturer in the Department of Nature Conservation. The South African National Biodiversity Institute, Agriculture Sector Education Training Authority (AgriSETA), KZN Wildlife, and eThekwini Municipality will offer their resources and time to the project. Sithembile said she was thrilled to have these organisations on board. The MUT Waste Management Ambassadors also received commitments from eThekwini Municipality, AgriSETA and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa. This project is led by Londiwe Mbuyisa, a lecturer in the same department.

Also to benefit from the commitments by external stakeholders will be the Ukukhanya Project which is implemented by Enactus MUT in Babanangu, near Ulundi, in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Eskom has committed to making its resources available to the project. The President of Enactus MUT, Thembisa Mcetywa, said that the commitment was “exciting, and very good news”. The resources will help Enactus MUT to spread its Ukukhanya devise which is already being used by learners in the area to study. Thembisa said they were working with Ulundi Municipality to develop a new device that would be cheaper, and more effective.

The eThekwini Municipality also committed to continuing making a contribution to the Siyakha Reading Club. The club is led by Prof Sandiso Ngcobo. The MUT and eThekwini Municipality teams have refurbished the Umgijimi Primary School library where MUT staff teach learners the importance of reading.  Slie Mosia of the eThekwini Municipality said they would bring books to the library before the end of November 2018.

The other projects run by MUT staff are: An antidote for Xenophobia, the Nonoti Banana Production;  the Improving Online Presence for Community Projects in Umlazi;  the Improving Community Livelihood through Agricultural Activities;  the Vermicompost Project;  and Agricultural Subsidy Project, to which AgriSETA committed to contribute to.

Protection Services escorts students at night

Sizwe, right, with some of the security guards
Sizwe, right, with some of the security guards

MUT students can travel home and other places where they live safely, 24 hours a day, thanks to the initiative by the Protection Services, whose staff escorts students from campus to their homes at night. The critical times are from 7pm to 3am.

Sizwe Nkabinde, the Director: Protection, said they took the decision to escort students to their places because of the high level of crime in some of the places surrounding the University. “Our security guards go an extra mile in seeing to it that the students arrive home safe. We encourage them to organise themselves into groups and then come to us. Our guards walk them home, or take them home in the security company van if the group is too big,” said Sizwe.

Sizwe appealed to all stakeholders to be security sensitive. Security is a collective responsibility, he said. The hot spots are D and S Sections, and Mhlabeni.  The SRC President, Codesa Gwala, said they appreciated what the Protection Services were doing. “We welcome the initiative, and wish that this could be formalised. The University is moving towards the right direction,” Codesa said.