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Unforgettable year gone by

2012 was a great year in the history of the University of Venda particularly because the University celebrated 30 years of existence through a series of exciting activities. On Friday, 30 November 2012 staff and the University of Venda Management gathered at the University Auditorium for the end of year function which marked a milestone in concluding the 30th Anniversary that took place during 2012. It is in this event where retirees were also honoured.

The Director of the Library services, Mrs Mushoni Mulaudzi in her welcome address remarked “as we reflect on the year that will soon be ending, we remember the potholes and road blocks that we came across but above all we remember and celebrate what we achieved despite these obstacles.”

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Operations, Dr Jannie Zaaiman acknowledged the eleven staff members who were retiring – Mrs Mihloti Malange and Mrs Navhani Ramukumba who have 26 years of service each, Prof Teuns van Ree 28 years, Mr Ntshavheni Malinda has 21 years, Prof Liliana Mammino, Prof Jason Ogola, Dr Alpheus Marule, Prof Alice Siachitema, Dr Ntavhanyeni Sadiki, Ms Mutshekwa Mmboniseni and Mrs Masindi Maginya. Dr Zaaiman encouraged the retirees to visit places, read books and also take care of their grandchildren as they are now relieved but notably he showed that the University will miss those people who are retiring.

The retirees were represented by Mrs Masindi Maginya, (service staff) and Prof van Ree (academic staff) in expressing their appreciation for the wonderful years they had spent working at UNIVEN.

The Vice Chancellor and Principal, Prof Peter Mbati presented the end of year message which summarised all notable major projects of the last unforgettable year where the University was celebrating 30 years of its existence.

After much consideration of the University development during the year 2012, Prof Mbati appreciated all the significant and valuable work that employees have done for the University’s success. He thanked staff for their collective participation leading to the construction of the 2012-2016 Strategic Plan that will guide the University in the next five years. Prof Mbati informed staff that the Council will in February 2013 have a Bosberaad to plan in terms of the University Governance. Prof Mbati indicated that 2012 has been an exciting and fulfilling year in many respects. He highlighted the exceptional performance in the core academic project with regard to pass rates and graduation rates as well as research outputs which increased by 44% compared to the previous years. Five years ago we only had one rated researcher but today we have 15 NRF rated researchers.

Amongst the highlights on infrastructure development on campus were completed projects which were recently officially inaugurated by the Chancellor of the University Honourable, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe which are :New Life and Chemical Sciences Building; New Student Administration Building; Extension to the Environmental Sciences Building; New student female residence and Refurbishment to the library. With regard to on-going projects he mentioned the new School of Education, extension of the School of Agriculture, New Office complex, Research Conference Centre, and extension to the student cafeteria. He also alluded to the new projects for which funding has been made available from the Department of Higher Education and Training which includes: second phase of School of Education; New School of Health Sciences; two student residences; student centre, Media Lab; Language laboratory; Music studio; extension of the DSU; establishment of an animal-biotechnology laboratory; Campus clinic. From its own resources the University would construct the Academic Community Training Centre; student centre and many more.

The Director of Communications and Marketing, Mr Takalani Dzaga and his team were commended for the revamped Website although it is still on trial phase.

Prof Mbati highlighted that 2013 will focus on amongst others the staff houses project. He again reminded staff about the performance evaluation which will be for all. Staff. He further indicated that the National Treasury has given a notice of a possible reduction in allocations to all departments from 2013. He therefore urged that there is a need for UNIVEN to carefully relook at her expenditure pattern, and revise as necessary so that funding can be allocated appropriately. In his closing remarks Prof Mbati maintained that the University has experienced harmony and peace, which has been a major driver for the success that we continue to enjoy, as this gives confidence to government and other external stakeholders to fund our programmes and activities.

In his conclusion, Prof Mbati wished staff and their family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The Dean of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Prof Ernest Crafford proposed a vote of thanks. Prof Crafford cited that the Vice Chancellor has a responsibility for keeping a diverse flock together, and thanked Prof. Mbati for successfully uniting the different stakeholders in a common vision and purpose.