In the afternoon of Thursday, 21 October 2021, the Student Affairs Department of the University of Venda (UNIVEN) held a farewell function for the 2019-2021 Student Representative Council (SRC). The 2019-2021 SRC was the longest serving in the history of the University. This farewell function took place at Porche Villa Hotel. 

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni

In his Keynote Address, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni said this SRC was able to execute their duties under difficult time of COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Nthambeleni said UNIVEN, like other institutions of higher learning was caught in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic. He indicated that the University had to make ends meet with the little that it had. 

“Your leadership has ensured that no student was left behind. When we decided to give student data, there was no funding from government that was meant to buy data for students. But we had a difficult, robust discussion with the SRC to try to find amicable solution on how to get funds to fund students’ data project.” He explained that the University had to dig down its pocket to fund this project to make sure that the University continues with its business. 

Dr Nthambeleni further indicated that the University Management together with the 2019-2021 SRC managed to engage with NSFAS to discuss the issue of procuring laptops for students in a discounted price. “This is another achievement that the University, together with 2019-2021 SRC should pride themselves with. The previous SRC was able to take decisions that made sure that students continue to learn, and they were even applauded by the President of South African Union of Students (SAUS) and the University Council members. 

He advised the current SRC to engage management on challenges that they are faced with because UNIVEN believes in an open-door policy. “We need to sit and discuss challenges, engage each other to address issues.” Dr Nthambeleni acknowledged staff members in the Registrar’s office for working well with the previous SRC and wished the previous SRC well and encouraged them to fly the university flag high wherever they go. 

Outgoing SRC President, Mr Gift Chauke

The outgoing SRC President, Mr Gift Chauke opened his talk by saluting his cabinet members for serving students with pride even during difficult time of COVID-19 pandemic. He said even though the University lost some staff and students during this period, but this SRC risked their lives trying to serve students during that time, in an endeavour to save 2020 academic year. “We remained strong even though we had many challenges both internally and externally. Regardless of all these challenges, we always knew that we are here to acquire knowledge and skills that will assist us to better and shape our future. We encourage academic excellence, allowing young people to flourish without challenges that could be avoided. Now it is the time to give other students the opportunity to lead because we have served our term and we have achieved our goals. We were not the friends of management. We were intellectuals who realised that through meetings with the management to discuss issues, we could get solutions than through violent protests.” 

Mr Chauke explained that, during their tenure in the office, they managed to achieve a lot. He concluded his talk by encouraging the current SRC cabinet to research before they raise concerns and to engage in a discussion with full information on the matter that would be discussed at that time. “I therefore encourage all students to go and cast their votes on Monday, 01 November 2021.” He wished the current SRC cabinet well during their tenure in the office. 

The Acting Director Student Affairs, Mr Azwidowi Mukheli said this event was organised to bid farewell to the previous SRC cabinet which served during an abnormal time of COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Mukheli expressed that this SRC always made sure that students are taken care of. “Now it is the time to let you go and serve the country and the world with the experience that you have accumulated during your tenure as SRC members and as UNIVEN students.” 

As the Programme Director, Director Marketing, Branding and Communication, Dr Takalani Dzaga indicated that it is rare to witness this kind of event where you find the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of a university attending the SRC Farewell Function. Sometimes in other institutions of higher learning, members of SRC leave the office unceremoniously. Farewell functions of this nature send a message that this SRC leaves the office while they are still in good terms with the University. 

As the former Speaker of Parliament, Ms Fulufhelo Matshaya said this outgoing SRC has always made her job easy. “We have fought this journey together and we have conquered.” She advised the upcoming SRC cabinet to always strive to serve students with pride. 

In his vote of thanks, DVC Teaching and Learning, Prof Jan Crafford wished the previous SRC well. He applauded them for their excellent job when serving students. He welcomed the incoming SRC and wished them well in their tenure. 

Outgoing Student Representative Council posing for a photo with Dr Bernard Nthambeleni, Vice Chancellor and Principal- fifth from left, seated/front row), Mr Azwidowi Mukheli ,Acting Director Student Affairs- far left middle row) and Prof Jan Crafford DVC Teaching and Learning- far left back row

Issued by: 

Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication 

University of Venda 
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710 
Date: 26 October 2021 

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