As universities around the globe struggle with the challenge of funding and raising additional income, the University of Venda (UNIVEN) on Thursday, 31 March 2022, launched the Institutional Advancement Unit to develop and grow a third-stream income for the University. For institutions of higher learning to continue to operate and be competitive at global level, raising additional income is not a choice but a necessity. The UNIVEN Advancement Unit will have three primary functions: to generate third stream income for the University by actively driving fund-raising campaigns; establish and build the University’s relationship with key stakeholders, including alumni, the private sector and investors; and give meaning to the University’sstrategic intent, particularly around impact and relevance.

University of Venda Chancellor, Adv Mojanku Gumbi

The Institutional Advancement Unit was officially launched by the University of Venda Chancellor, Adv Mojanku Gumbi at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg. Adv Mojanku Gumbi called for a new model of development. The current model of capitalism, co- existing as it does with abject poverty is not sustainable. Adv Gumbi expressed her sincere appreciation to all sponsors for their generous support that has made this occasion a great success.

In his keynote address, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni said the launch of the Advancement Unit is a great moment for the University of Venda as we mark 40 years of our existence. He described an Advancement Unit as an important organ in the life of a university.

Dr Nthambeleni shared with the audience that the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) recently announced a significant grant to UNIVEN for the establishment of an SAMRC extramural unit focused on antimicrobial resistance. The Antimicrobial Resistance and Global Health Research unit at UNIVEN will be looking for solutions to the challenges of antimicrobial resistance from a microbial, human, and environmental perspective.

The University was established 40 years ago to accommodate 5 000 students, this year UNIVEN’s total headcount for both undergraduate and postgraduate students is more than 17 500 students. Not surprisingly, this has put the institution’s infrastructure and teaching facilities under immense pressure.

Given that a university’s good reputation underpins its very existence, Dr Nthambeleni is very cognisant that UNIVEN’s stature and credibility need to be maintained. As a result, good governance and transparency are a hallmark of the institution. “A negative reputation is like leprosy for a university – nobody wants to be associated with a tainted university which is why we protect and guard our reputation, follow prudent financial management policies and work to ensure we receive unqualified audit reports,” he said.

Situated in Limpopo, more than 70% of UNIVEN’s students come from lower income socio-economic backgrounds. As a result, ballooning student debt is a growing challenge. At the end of 2021, the University’s outstanding debt was a massive R462 million.

Part of the reason for this are students who do not qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) because their parents’ combined income is above R350 000 – but who still can’t afford the tuition fees.

A critical shortage of on-campus accommodation means that 75% live off campus which poses a huge reputational risk for the university, revealed Dr Nthambeleni.

“Universities can no longer rely solely on government subsidies if they hope to be sustainable which is why the launch of the Advancement Unit is critically important,” said the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Nthambeleni.

UNIVEN Council chairperson, Julius Lekgetha

Calling on businesses, alumni, and other stakeholders to support the university in its drive to become self-sustaining, UNIVEN Council chairperson, Julius Lekgetha, applauded the university for its ability to create future leaders. Mr Lekgetha further said through this Unit, we believe that the university will be better positioned to work together with external stakeholders to raise resources for its financial sustainability.

The Unit will bring together several functions and better position the University for investment and revenue generation, explained Dr Robert Martin, Deputy Vice- Chancellor Corporate Services at UNIVEN. “A pre-requisite to the University’s long- term sustainability is enhancing and building relationships as well as engaging with potential sponsors and donors on a regular basis.”

UNIVEN DVC Corporate Services, Dr Robert Martin

Dr Martin indicated that Advancement Unit intended to support the effective implementation of the University’s strategic objectives contained in the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, especially with regards branding and positioning as well as generation of third-stream income.

Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation – Ms Nompendulo

Messages of support hailed from the Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation – Ms Nompendulo Thobile Mkhatshwa, University of Johannesburg (UJ) Chairperson of Council, Mr Mike Teke and Standard Bank represented by Craig Polkinghorne , Head Commercial Banking South Africa.

University of Johannesburg (UJ) Chairperson of Council, Mr Mike Teke

Standard Bank represented by Craig Polkinghorne , Head Commercial Banking South Africa.

The launch was organised in a fundraising format and corporate sponsorship was received from Value Capital Partners (VCP) and Standard Bank. Sponsorship was also received from companies and individuals. The event was attended by University Council members, Senior managers, Convocation members and alumni, UIGC Board members and CEOs of Corporate companies

Entertainers of the night were Dr Colbert Mukwevho and UINIVEN Choir led by Dr Aubrey Khoza who left the audience with their melodious tone.

Dr Colbert Mukwevho and Band

UINIVEN Choir


Watch full event here:

Watch UNIVEN Corporate video here:


Issued by:

Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 / 8710
Date: 05 April 2022