Various stakeholders in and around UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus recently gathered for a launch of the Pietermaritzburg Campus Management Forum.
Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, facilitated proceedings and welcomed uMgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor, Councillor Thobekile Mamphumulo; Msunduzi Municipality Ward Councillor, Nkululeko Mkhize; South African Police Service representatives; representatives of local residents’ and ratepayers’ associations; student leadership structures; academic representatives and members of the University Executive.
‘It is particularly special that we are coming here to the Pietermaritzburg campus to launch this Forum because this is the mother campus of the University; the building in which we are accommodated is the very first building of the University,’ said Mkhize.
Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Nana Poku, welcomed attendees. ‘These campus management forums are part of a strategic drive by senior management to bring cohesion and coherence to the University,’ said Poku.
Poku acknowledged Professor Albert Modi, the Chairperson of the Pietermaritzburg Campus Management Forum, for initiating the first meeting in bringing disparate elements of the University together and creating a platform that will enable the integration of the University with its surrounding community.
‘This is the start of a constructive coexistence and dialogue that we hope will improve the student experience and place the University at the very heart of the community that we are a part of,’ said Poku.
A video presented at the launch featured the experiences of staff and students on the campus as well as the buildings and facilities.
‘The thinking (behind the Forum) is that if leadership is present on all campuses of UKZN, leadership will be able to manage the challenges, difficulties and even opportunities around these campuses,’ said Modi. He explained how the Forum will work in collaboration with existing departments to achieve health and safety, communication and general care for the campus.
Mr Trevor Abrahams, Security and Traffic Manager, said the Forum would improve safety and security on campus by advertising to staff and students. He presented the Forum Charter at the launch.
The programme included a presentation from Life Sciences PhD candidate, Ms Refilwe Mofokeng who initiated campus recycling drives on the Westville campus in 2018 about the experience of working with students and staff at UKZN and private companies to achieve efficient recycling to improve the campus environment.
Mr Samkelo Gudazi, the Chairperson of the Pietermaritzburg campus Representative Council, said he hoped the Forum would create an open platform for constructive engagement between staff and students.
Ms Shamla Naidoo, a senior consultant at Information and Communication Services, presented her vision for the Forum, saying that it would enable the improvement and enhancement of service delivery.
‘This is an ideal opportunity for partnership and collaboration with UKZN to provide valuable input for enhancing the surrounds and Pietermaritzburg as a whole,’ said Naidoo.
Mkhize applauded Modi and his team for their visionary leadership in the creation of the Forum, and stated that the initiative had the full backing of community leaders and the community.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Busi Ncama, thanked all present for attending the launch and closed proceedings.
Attendees expressed their hope that the Forum would encourage staff, students and the community to take ownership of and pride in the campus.
Click to view the launch: https://youtu.be/Z6w8K279o3M
Words: Christine Cuénod
Photograph: UKZN archives