On 03 April 2024, the University of Venda Convocation held its first-ever webinar titled ‘Reflecting on 30 years of democracy and unpacking the upcoming general elections: Who will step into the Union Building’s door?’ The purpose of the webinar was to break down the basic concerns about the 2024 upcoming elections and politics in general. The well-attended webinar was graced by the presence of the President of Convocation, Mr Sylvester Motadi, the Director of Community Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Inclusive Innovation and Commercialisation, Prof Vhonani Netshandama, the Director of Marketing, Branding and Communication, Dr Takalani Dzaga, members of EXCO of Convocation, Alumni Chapters, Alumni, UNIVEN staff and students, diplomats from various countries and many other dignitaries.

The eminent panelists were Prof Kgothatso Shai, Mr Thivhilaeli Makatu and Dr Levy Ndou.
The webinar discussed South Africa’s democratic progress since the transition from apartheid to democracy in 1994, focusing on the gains, losses and upcoming elections and their potential impact on the country’ s diplomatic relations and political fortunes.
In welcoming the audience, Prof Netshandama commended the Convocation leadership for organising the webinar on the current pressing issues of politics and elections. She described
a university as a place where reflective thinking is a culture and a vehicle for engaged scholarship.
In his presentation, the SAAPAM President and UNIVEN alumnus, Prof Shai took an angle on the electoral dominance of the ANC in the national political landscape. “The 2024 General Elections will serve as a litmus test for the ANC if they continue political dominance as Africa’ ‘s democracies regressed when they reached the third decade”, said Prof Shai. He concluded by appreciating the remarkable achievements of the ANC government despite increased levels of crime, corruption, and state capture.

In amplifying the voice of South Africa in the international arena, the former diplomat and UNIVEN alumnus, Mr Makatu, applauded the South African government led by one of UNIVEN ‘s luminaries and alumnus, Mr Ronald Lamola, by taking Israel to the International Criminal Court for their alleged genocidal acts against Palestine. He highlighted that South Africa and 63 other countries around the world would be holding elections in 2024, which is a sign of the maturing of democracies.

A well-known political analyst and an alumnus of the University of Venda, Dr Levy Ndou, gave an overview of the current political dynamics characterised by the launch of almost identical manifestos with jobs, electricity, water, corruption, and education among their priorities. “The ANC made considerable progress on its transformative agenda but also scored its own goals, which led to the emergence of many new political parties,” said Dr Ndou.
During discussions, several issues were raised, including political socialisation to young voters, campus voting power and community voting power, identical manifestos, new political entrants, anxieties, and uncertainties on the outcomes of elections and political dominance. Some critical issues that might influence election outcomes include voter turnout, media coverage, personality cults, propaganda, voter apathy, and provincial dynamics.
The Director of Marketing, Branding and Communication, Dr Dzaga proposed a vote of thanks and closure. In his vote of thanks and closing remarks, Dr Dzaga praised and appreciated the leadership of Convocation for the wonderful initiative which brought together all generations of the University of Venda alumni, staff, students, and diplomats. He expressed gratitude to the facilitator and panelists for ensuring the webinar’s success.
The webinar was facilitated by the Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, Prof Patrick Dzimiri.

President of Convocation, Mr Sylvester Motadi (Pictured)

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 11 April 2024

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