In a commitment to widen access to higher education as part of a Group-wide CEO Scholarship Programme, Absa Bank handed over an amount of R5 million to the University of Venda students. This contribution of R5 million by ABSA in scholarship funding is supporting 191 deserving students of the University of Venda undertaking a three-year undergraduate degree in commerce, humanities, engineering or science and technology on the basis of their academic excellence. Out of 191 students funded, 89 are first entering and 102 are returning students. During the year 2016, ABSA funded only 21 students with an amount of R500 000.

L-R: Umesh Mudhav and Prof Peter Mbati

The hand-over ceremony took place at the University of Venda’s Council Chambers recently.

ABSA Provincial Head Business Banking, Umesh Mudhav, in his handing over speech, started by talking about the ‘Ready-to-Work’ programme which is one of their share growth that empowers students to be able to compete equally with students from other universities. “All students should have an equal opportunity of learning. “We are very excited to be in partnership with Univen in its time of transformation. Today the country is faced with challenges such as maths and science. We need producers of technology and producers of ideas that can make everything great for our youth and our economy. Mudhav mentioned that Absa is very passionate to address the issue of the ‘missing middle’. “This will be a continuous partnership that will make a difference in various communities. As Absa we believe that these beneficiaries will do great things. As youth you are the future of this country as what Univen is known for creating future leaders” said Umesh Mudhav as he concluded.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda, Prof Peter Mbati said “Looking at the fact that the majority of our students come from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, this funding will play a major role in shaping their future. It will also serve as a motivation in students’ performance. “We also call upon other companies to follow suit in order to deal with the financial burden our students have to bear”. In terms of curriculum transformation, we have introduced a number of exciting new programmes which are intended to address the skills gap in our region. As an example, UNIVEN had recently introduced the SAICA supported BCom Accounting Sciences which will allow us to train charted accounts. We are also introducing programmes in engineering, added Prof Mbati

Acting Executive Mayor, Cllr Munyai

The hand-over ceremony was also attended by the Acting Executive Mayor, Cllr Munyai who was representing the Executive Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality, Cllr Florence Radzilani.

Ronewa Bamuza

On behalf of the beneficiaries, a Bcom Accounting third year student, Ronewa Bamuza, expressed his sincere gratitude to ABSA. He was excited about the ABSA initiative and said it would inspire recipients of the scholarship to work even harder. “We know what is expected from us as students. The students should give best performance to ABSA” he concluded.
One of the beneficiaries who attended the hand-over ceremony, is a Bcom Accounting final year student, Thabang Baloyi, was jubilant and unable to hide the smile during the interview with Nendila. “I am very delighted because ABSA is really doing a good job to us”. He further said: “They started funding me last year. In January they promised to fund us more and they fulfilled their promise.” He also alluded the fact that the funding will make him to work very hard. “With their funding, I will be able to graduate. The funding makes me to be determined and to work hard,” he added. What makes him more contented is that he will not pay back the tuition fee. “This initiative makes me happy because I know that I will not pay the money back,” he said. Thabang further encouraged ABSA to help other destitute students.

L-R: Thabang Baloyi, Mpho Denga, Mandla Shikwambana, Israel Mkhatshwa, Sandile Bob Masango, Umesh Mudhav and Ronewa Bamuza

In giving a message of support, the SRC President Mandla Shikwambana commended Absa for their contribution that will reduce the financial burden on students. “The initiative by Absa is very encouraging. With the support that you are giving to our students, you are going to see more and more students graduating”. said Shikwambana. He called upon other companies who are doing business with the University to follow suite.
When welcoming the guests, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford told the delegates that students drop out because of financial problems since NSFAS cannot cater for all students. Prof Crafford said “Absa is stepping into the bridge of education. We want to see our students completing their studies within stipulated time”.
In proposing vote of thanks, the Director of Finance, Ms Rose Mgobo thanked and appreciated Absa’s financial support to UNIVEN students. “Education is not the responsibility of the government alone, but private sectors as well”, she said.


L-R: Prof Jan Crafford and Rose Mgobo

Issued by: Department of Communications and Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: 015 962 8525

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