On Monday, 29 March 2021, the University of Venda (UNIVEN) met with a delegation from Bester Technology to discuss matters of bringing internet connectivity to communities of Vhembe District Municipality and, ultimately, UNIVEN students, including those residing at off campus accredited residences. This meeting took place at UNIVEN Council Chambers. 

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni

When welcoming the delegation from Bester Technology, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni clarified that UNIVEN is not a rural University but a University based in a rural area. “We want to become a role player that makes impact in our community, where we are located hence one of our institutional values is that we have accepted our social responsibility and community engagement in serving and contributing to the 

intellectual, social and economic well-being of our communities.” He said UNIVEN is ready to play an active role in the economy of the area where it is located. Dr Nthambeleni said that the UNIVEN Innovative Growth Company (UIGC) will assist the University in playing a big role to boost the local area economically. UIGC has an important role of linking the University with the communities and what is happening around those communities. 

“Times have changed drastically since December 2019. We found ourselves having to change the way we teach our students due to COVID-19 pandemic. We want to make sure that our University thrive towards achieving its goal even amidst this pandemic. We always strive to accommodate our students at secured residences with Wi-Fi connectivity.” 

He concluded his welcome message by mentioning that for the University to achieve its goal, there is a need to strengthen its partnerships. The Vice-Chancellor showed that partnerships should be key in achieving our core business of teaching and learning. As a University, we must come up with projects that benefit students and communities around us – in other words we want to improve the lives of people by providing solutions to the problems, he added. Dr Nthambeleni said he is looking forward that this partnership will be a game changer in addressing the problems we are faced with. “We are aware that to achieve what we want to achieve, we need to partner with companies and organisations that will assist the University to fulfill its role. We need to give and not expect anything in return.” 

Chief Executive Officer of Bester Technology, Helen Gao

Chief Executive Officer of Bester Technology, Helen Gao said that, since 2019, Bester Technology has established several companies worldwide. We now have seven (7) design subsidiary companies in China. “We are trying to stretch our performance in the technology industry. We want to become infrastructure owner in South Africa and we want to be the key ICT service provider in this area.” She continued to highlight that, one of their goals as Bester Technology is to own the network in rural areas and provide surrounding communities with internet connectivity. 

UIGC CEO, Dr John Mudau

UIGC CEO, Dr John Mudau said the University has started working with the surrounding communities regarding improvements in their area, however, the point of community interaction is municipalities within those communities. Dr Mudau concluded his talk by mentioning that they have started to liaise with Thulamela and Collins Chabane Local Municipalities. “The news of Bester Technology coming on board is exciting to us because they came at the right time.” 

L-R: Eric Chen, Stanley Kachaca, Helen Gao, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni and Dr John Mudau posing for a group photo after the meeting.

Issued by: 

Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 / 8710 

Date: 31 March 2021 

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