He survived a total onslaught against his leadership during his tenure, but survived with grace and dignity.

The outgoing Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Peter Mbati (left) receives a gift of appreciation for his sterling job from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Operations, Dr Robert Martin (right)

The University of Venda (Univen) staff gave the outgoing Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Peter Mbati, a heartfelt send-off during a Year-end function which was held in the University Auditorium recently. Prof Mbati was hailed as a man of honour during his send-off.

Some of the staff members were awarded long service certificates and retirees were also acknowledged.

There was exponential growth in research outputs – from 0.12 per capita units to 0.94 during Prof Mbati’s tenure

Prof Mbati began his tenure in 2008. “On 1 February 2008 the University of Venda community entrusted me with the responsibility of serving this great institution as its Vice-Chancellor and Principal. At that point I was not sure what awaited me, but I can now tell you that it has been a lot of hard work that needed well thought out strategies, collective wisdom, the buy-in of Council and staff at all levels from senior management, academic, administrative and support staff, the unions, the SRC and the general student populace,” said Prof Mbati.

The highlights of Prof Mbati’s 10 year tenure at Univen includes: academic re-engineering, programme relevance and viability exercise and a clean PQM, exponential growth in research outputs – from 0.12 per capita units to 0.94. The University’s new flagship programme, the Bachelor of Accounting Sciences Degree, currently offered through the Univen/Thuthuka project to train chartered accountants. The Agricultural Engineering programme is accredited and is now offered in the School of Agriculture, increased leverage on internationalization, linkages and partnerships in implementing our strategic vision, approximately R2.3 billion investment in infrastructure from DHET. The achievements during his tenure also includes approximately R84 million from Council controlled funds towards infrastructure projects, R300 million DBSA loan for student residences, growth of Bandwidth from 08mg/sec to 10gigs/sec. The roll out of staff laptops, student tablets and black board. The student leadership model implemented and unqualified audits, except for the 2016 academic year.

Prof Mbati further said “The future, though fraught with uncertainties especially as it relates to funding and sustainability of universities due to various factors such as inflation, global performance of the rand and #feesmustfall campaign, presents exciting possibilities.”

Prof Mbati further said that the University will need to reimagine its governance and leadership to align itself to the new realities that demand increased third stream income funding; new and relevant curricula that repositions us into the new status of a top 10 South African University; and most importantly strengthened cohesion and unity of purpose between all the stakeholders to ensure a prosperous and successful Univen.

He concluded by expressing appreciation and sincere gratitude to the entire senior management of the University of Venda, past and present, staff and students that he had the privilege of working with. “You translated the vision and dreams that I had as Vice-Chancellor into the successes that we see all around us,” concluded Prof Mbati.

Invest some portion of your money so that you can live well- Mr Manenzhe

The Director of Human Resources, Mr Justice Manenzhe, acknowledged the retirees and wished them a good life after their retirement. “Through your contribution, you’ve made the University the way it is today. You must thank God who made it possible for you to retire while you are still in good health,” Mr Manenzhe added.

Mr Manenzhe also made reference by quoting Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 for the retirees which reads: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to reap that which is planted….”

Mr Nthambeleni thanked the University for giving them an opportunity to work for it

On behalf of the Service Staff, Mr Shumani Nthambeleni, expressed gratitude to the University leadership for giving them opportunity to work in this Institution. “We thank the University for giving us an opportunity to work here. We will manage our retirement money very well,” added Mr Nthambeleni.

We are happy that as we retire, Univen is on the right trajectory for success as a University of choice both nationally and internationally- Prof Musyoki

“We want to thank Univen, most sincerely for the opportunity to serve at this special Institution,” said Prof Agnes Musyoki on behalf of the retiring academic staff members. “It has been a time of great transformation and reflection not only at the University but in the country as a whole. We are pleased to have been part of these changes. We have played our part and contributed in teaching, research and community work guided by the strategic directions established for the University.”

Prof Musyoki said they have grown their intellectual capacities and contributed to changing the future of many students and colleagues. “The students in turn and in many ways contributed to our growth as they entered into sharing of ideas and knowledge with us, at times challenging our views but leading us to share a better understanding of our fields of study. We are happy that as we retire Univen is on the right trajectory for success as a University of choice both nationally and internationally,” said Prof Musyoki.

Mr Mutoti said Prof Mbati’s mark will forever remain in the history of Univen

Univen’s NEHAWU Chairperson, Mr Alfred Mutoti, said the first day he met Prof Mbati was during his presentation as he was addressing Univen community in the Auditorium in 2007 during his interview for the position of Vice-Chancellor. “He attracted all staff members of Univen across all categories such as service staff, academic and admin staff members. His presentation shined in people’s minds like lightning that is usually followed by heavy thunders during rain” Mr Mutoti added.

“As NEHAWU, we are saying you lifted Univen to its greatest heights. You made us proud as a nation. Your mark will remain forever in the history of Univen. We wish you the best wherever you wish to go. Despite all challenges that you went through during your term in the office we believe you will continue to be Univen’s ambassador wherever you go.”

A lot of new programmes were introduced because of Prof Mbati’s leadership- Mr Dongola

When delivering a farewell message, on behalf of admin staff members, Mr Donald Dongola reiterated that “We wish you good luck wherever you go. Look after yourselves”. Mr Dongola said a lot of new programmes were introduced under Prof Mbati’s leadership.

Mr Dongola added that the graduation output has also increased during Prof Mbati’s tenure. ‘Today we are able to produce more than 2 000 graduates in every graduation ceremony,” Mr Dongola said.

“Prof Mbati has a vision of motivating people to improve their work performance. Prof Mbati also introduced long service awards and online registration and application. If you work with dedication and commitment, you will receive some tokens of appreciation.” Mr Dongola further said Univen is playing a big role in the development of Thohoyandou. “To Prof. Mbati we wish you the best. You’ve built a legacy at Univen,” Mr Dongola concluded.

Prof Mbati is a man of absolute integrity- Mrs Maluleke

On behalf of the academic staff, Mrs Malehu Maluleke, hailed Prof Mbati and said that he served Univen with dedication and commitment. “You never let your work go unnoticed. Have rest and enjoy the hard work you’ve done to the development of Univen,” said Mrs Maluleke.

Mrs Maluleke delineated Prof Mbati as a profound Vice-Chancellor. “Prof Mbati is a man of absolute integrity, goal-orientated and he made Univen a University of choice. Through his visionary leadership, we witnessed calmness and leadership in the University. We will miss your emotional intelligence. We wish you a successful and prosperous venture in your future,” Mrs Maluleke added.

Dr Mudau said she is who she is today because of Prof Mbati

Dr Thizwilondi Mudau described Prof Mbati as an authentic leader and approachable. “He allows everyone to be around him. I am who I am today because of Prof Mbati,” Dr Mudau said.

We are now a force to be reckoned with because of Prof Mbati- Prof Crafford

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford indicated that Prof Mbati survived a total onslaught against his leadership during his tenure, but he survived with grace and dignity. “We are now a force to be reckoned with. You have made us believe that a small university could transcend its history and disadvantage to the extent that it’s competing with universities that are 100 years old,” Prof Crafford added.

Collage picture of long service recipients and retirees (bottom right)

Issued by:
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 24 December 2017

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