The University of Venda (UNIVEN) held a three-day interactive executive and senior management workshop that focused on the University high level performance overview based on the implementation of 2021-2025 strategic plan, strategic risks, and the new strategic trajectory, 2026-2030. The University aspires to be a high performing institution anchored on Results Based Management (RBM) approach. This exercise allows the University to anticipate and respond to changes in the corporate environment. It also helps to forecast potential opportunities and threats, which are crucial for the University’s sustainability and survival in today’s dynamic corporate world. The 2023 Performance Feedback, 2024 Strategic Planning and Institutional Risk workshop took place at Kruger Gate Hotel in Mpumalanga from 26 to 28 February 2024.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Bernard Nthambeleni setting the scene for the 2023 Performance Feedback, 2024 Strategic Planning and Institutional Risk Sessions

When setting the scene, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Bernard Nthambeleni stimulated the participants about the issues pertaining to strategic imperative. He gave a detailed presentation on performance feedback towards achieving the five years strategic objectives contained in the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. In his exciting presentation, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal reflected on the University’s position and the direction that the University intends to take, through the 2026-2030 Strategic Plan.
What came very strongly about the importance of hosting this strategic planning session was when Prof Nthambeleni alluded that this is an opportunity for management to gather and discuss the University ’s future whilst promoting the team spirit for optimal performance. He said, “Strategic planning meeting aims to assess the current position, set long-term goals, create a success roadmap, and bring diverse perspectives together.” He pointed that strategic planning sessions are necessary to determine the direction of the University. “It focuses on staff members’ efforts and ensures that all University staff are working towards achieving a common goal.”
Prof Nthambeleni reflected on the process of developing a successive strategy and important Strategic Thrusts that are consistent with the Strategic Plan 2025. He mentioned that UNIVEN is on a transformative journey focusing on becoming an Entrepreneurial University, strengthening student-centredness and leading in engaged scholarship. He underscored that in this journey, there should be effective contribution to government interventions to address the triple challenges that are Poverty, Inequality and Unemployment. Prof Nthambeleni further gave an overview of the UNIVEN Integrated Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Biodiversity Plan (UIEIBP) which is a visionary roadmap that propels UNIVEN as it redefines its role on the higher education landscape. He stressed the importance of aligning the vision and values that anchor the UNIVEN IEIBP goals into the new Strategic Plan.”
At the end of his presentation, Prof Nthambeleni projected a high-Level Engagement Process towards 2026-2030 Strategic Plan development and detailed project scope that should be completed within 24 months.
The University Registrar, Dr Joel Baloyi presented on the navigation of the Governance – strategy interface. He projected interface between governance and strategy planning processes which are essential for setting the direction, making decisions, managing performance, managing risks, ensuring accountability, engaging stakeholders, and adapting to change. Dr Baloyi asserted that UNIVEN can effectively manage its resources, mitigate risks, and achieve its long-term objectives by aligning governance and strategy planning efforts.
The Director Strategy Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Mutshinyalo Ratombo provided feedback on the implementation of 2023 Annual Performance Plan
The Director Internal Audit and Risk, Mrs Diana Makwarela shared the overview of the Institutional risk status. She further shared evaluation of results from risk rating. On the other hand, the Risk Officer, Mr Tinyiko Sibiya talked about the Risk reporting indicators.
On day two of the workshop, the University Registrar, Dr Baloyi provided an update on the 2024 student admission and registration process where he highlighted successes, challenges, lessons learned and intervention measures. The participants had a lengthy deliberation around admission and registration processes.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) Teaching and Learning, Prof Eucebious Lekalakala-Mokgele gave an update on 2024 enrolments against three-year rolling Ministerial-approved Enrolment Plan (successes, challenges, and interventions). She also provided highlights of 2023 performance against the Annual Performance Plan. There was also a discussion around the Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning (CHETL) intervention mechanisms to strengthen student support.
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr Botwe Kraziya gave an overview of 2023 financial performance and budget considerations for 2024 in support of 2024 Annual Performance Plan implementation. Mr Kraziya also spoke about UNIVEN student funding matters, including NSFAS and other private sponsors – successes, challenges, and mitigation factors.
This was followed by a presentation from the DVC Research and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Nosisi Feza who shared information on 2024 postgraduate enrolments against three-year rolling Ministerial-approved Enrolment Plan (successes, challenges, and interventions).
Later on the day, the DVC Corporate Services, Dr Robert Martin presented the overview of 2023 Corporate Services performance in support of the University Strategic Plan 2025. His presentation also covered the following topics: update on the 2024 staff performance agreements, including performance recognition and rewards; plans for the effective academic programme quality reviews; update on the current recruitment status and plans for improving turn-around time for the filling of vacant positions; plans for improving the efficiency of infrastructure provisioning in support of university business and update on the implementation of Brand Enhancement Strategy (successes, challenges, and interventions).
On the last day of the workshop, Mrs Mavis Madzhie (Director Financial Management and Reporting), Mrs Beauty Mutheiwana (Director of Supply Chain Management and Expenditure) and Ms Tshilidzi Ramulondi (Director Revenue and Financial Aid) respectively presented the University’s 2023 financial performance, 2024 cost efficiency measures, supply chain
management processes and the plans that are in place to generate income and save money for the University as well as student funding. What emerged from these three presentations was an emphasis that there is a need to be responsible when spending public funds.
The Director Community Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Inclusive Innovation and Commercialisation Directorate, Prof Vhonani Netshandama shared an exciting presentation that focussed on the issues of Community Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Inclusive Innovation and Commercialisation. Dr Mlungiseleli Ganto presented the University Commercialisation strategy.
The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, Prof Modimowabarwa Kanyane provided the summary of key issues and resolutions of the three-day workshop.
The outgoing University Registrar, Adv Edward Lambani in his remarks when giving a vote of thanks, encouraged the Executive and Senior Management team to have this kind of session annually. He thanked the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, in particular Mrs Esther Munano and Dr Mutshinyalo Ratombo for working so hard to make that the workshop be of this magnitude.
This three-day workshop was facilitated by the Director Marketing, Branding and Communication, Dr Takalani Dzaga.
When closing the workshop, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Bernard Nthambeleni shared a high-level summary of key issues emerging from the workshop and guidance on the next steps. He summarised the way forward in nine points, namely : Taking of ownership and Accountability; Resistance to Change; Communication; Culture; Lack of Teamwork; Effective delegation; Responsive Leadership; Celebrating wins and inadequate Resources.

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 02 March 2024

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