2010 2010 2010 2010
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IC R F A R O TIONS F
The VISION of the University of Limpopo is to be a leading African university epitomising excellence and global competitiveness, addressing the needs of rural communities through innovative ideas. The MISSION of the University of Limpopo is to establish itself as a world-class African university, which responds to education, research and community needs of our society through partnerships and knowledge-generation, continuing the tradition of empowerment.
2010 2010 2010 2010
The year in review, including narrative and financial reports, and special features I personally believe that the notion of a ‘historically disadvantaged institution’, an HDI, is now obsolete. We have broken the shackles. We have reached a point where we can reclaim our vision and mission with pride and confidence. Our university is turning out to be a centre of excellence in itself, not merely a general environment in which small centres of excellence subsist. We are becoming the pride of our province, and of our nation. We’re one of a team of 23 public universities in South Africa, and we are no less than any of them. – PROFESSOR MAHLO MOKGALONG, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Limpopo, from the Annual Report 2009
The Annual Report 2010 is published by the Marketing and Communications Department, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, Limpopo, South Africa. www.ul.ac.za
Compiled by: David Robbins and Janice Hunt Design and layout: JamStreet Design (Cape Town) Printing: Colorpress (Pty) Ltd Production Management: DGR Writing & Research (011-7929951 or 082-5721682) ISBN: 978-0-620-47349-1 Material may be reprinted with acknowledgment
04 Message from the Chancellor 06 Message from the Chairperson of the University Council 08 Report of Vice Chancellor 14 Report of DVC, Teaching & Research 17 Report of DVC, Medunsa 20 22 24 26 28
Report of the Registrar Report of the Chief Human Resources Officer Report of the Dean of Student Affairs Report of the Executive Director of Libraries Report of the Executive Director of Marketing & Communications
30 37 42 46
Faculty Reports • Health Sciences • Science and Agriculture • Humanities • Management and Law
50 The new Academic Hospital in Polokwane 54 Research Roundup 58 60 62 64
Financial coverage: Report of the Chief Financial Officer Financial Spreadsheets Report of the University of Limpopo Trust Report of the UL Student Trust Fund
66 Centres of Excellence 83 Alumni Reports 89 Council Member Profiles
4 Message from the Chancellor DR REUEL KHOZA Dr Reuel Khoza, an alumnus of the erstwhile University of the North, has served as Chancellor of the University of Limpopo since November 2007. He’s a highly successful businessman and is currently chairman and major shareholder of Aka Capital. He’s also chairman of the boards of Nedbank Group, and founding Chairman of the Nepad Business Foundation, while holding directorships on the boards of several other prominent companies including Old Mutual plc, Nampak Ltd, and serving as President of the Institute of Directors in South Africa. He is also Business Administration professor at Rhodes and author of several books on leadership and corporate governance.
DURING 2010 I attended three graduation ceremonies on the various campuses of the University of Limpopo. It was encouraging to notice the increase in the number of senior students who received their degrees at Honours, Masters and, to a lesser extent, Doctoral level. These achievements were spread fairly evenly over all the main areas of study: Science, Agriculture, Medical Science, the Humanities, as well as Law and Commerce. The willingness of more and more students to take their studies further than basic undergraduate level is of great importance for the province of Limpopo and for South Africa as a whole. There can be no doubt that their personal achievements, and the general determination of our university to further enhance its postgraduate performance, will add to our understanding of the political and economic challenges facing us nationally. For a developing economy – and South Africa is undoubtedly still that – it behoves all of us involved in higher education to work not only ‘smart’ but ‘hard’ as well. The emphasis now being placed on postgraduate output is certainly an example of working smart. There is also ample evidence of working hard. Two examples spring to mind immediately. Professor Cosmas Ambe, who holds the Nedbank Chair in the School of Accounting and Auditing, is introducing a new order of discipline and a new work ethic into the students in his School. From my discussions with him, it is obvious that Professor Ambe’s ‘new order’ asks very much more than the minimum requirement for achieving academic success. My second example is Professor Phuti Ngoepe, head of the Materials Modelling Centre in the School of Physical
and Mineral Sciences. Not only is he a world authority on energy storage alloys; he is also indefatigable in his determination to nurture excellence in those around him. Proof of this can be found in the achievements of Dr Rapela Maphanga, a young physicist working as a senior researcher under Professor Ngoepe’s guidance. Late in 2010, Dr Maphanga won the NRF-sponsored TW Kambule Award for a ‘distinguished young black female researcher over the last two to five years’. These contributions – including the one dozen Centres of Excellence in the university receiving special attention in this Annual Report – point undeniably to the achievements of an institution prepared to work both ‘smart’ and ‘hard’ in the pursuance of its goals. It should be self-evident that centres of excellence, as they increase, will ultimately cohere into an entire institution of high excellence. Nevertheless, there remain some who suggest that the geographical position of the Turfloop campus, ‘in the middle of nowhere’, is an impediment to excellence. I disagree with this sentiment. Allow me to turn to matters religious to support my point of view. Jesus did his best thinking when he withdrew to the isolation of the desert. And the home of Islam, Mecca, is also situated in the middle of nowhere. The importance of academic best practice in our particular ‘middle of nowhere’ cannot be over estimated. We sit in the middle of rural Africa with the tools and the determination to make a significant contribution to the challenges with which our transforming continent is faced. Of course, this does not mean that we should willingly seek isolation. The world is now a shrinking neighbourhood; and
networks of exchange and support are vital. Two examples come to mind that I believe should be actively developed in the months and years ahead. The first is the importance of increasing our contacts with interested institutions in other parts of the world; the second is the development of our own alumni constituency. Every time I travel to London, representatives of various British universities approach me with ideas for making common cause with the University of Limpopo. I undertook postgraduate studies at Warwick University, for example, and this institution is keen to look at the possibility of regular student and academic exchanges, as well as shared research projects. Other universities with whom I have discussed such possibilities include Essex University and the Law Faculty at Oxford. The advantages for our university of north/ south linkages like this must be obvious to all. Universities all over America and Europe thrive on the support of their past students. This support manifests not only through financial inputs, but also in the spheres of image building, targeted pressure groups, not to mention the intellectual clout and influence of thousands of professional people at various stages of their careers. The alumni of the University of Limpopo possess exactly this potential. We have top legal people and health care professionals, commercial and industrial leaders, senior politicians and civil servants, as well as some of the countryâ€™s leading entrepreneurs. Many of them have offered their services as guest lecturers, and it is incumbent on the leadership of our university to take advantage of this
goodwill. I also suggest that the introduction of modern modes of communication could serve to rally our powerful alumni groupings and raise a renewed sense of belonging to the university family. In conclusion, I would like to make a few comments on leadership. Perhaps the most important concept for South Africans to grasp is that leadership is not about a person but about a process. My burning wish is that our university experience a brand of attuned leadership that is values driven and vision beckoned. Attuned to what? First, attuned to the needs not only of students and staff, but also more broadly to the political economy of South Africa, as well as to our region of the continent. Secondly, to the concept of a serious ethical responsibility, a determination to do the right thing as opposed to â€˜doing things rightâ€™. I believe that the University of Limpopo, as it strives for excellence, can at the same time develop a leadership process that has a strong moral core and that nourishes co-operation while minimising conflicts and divisions, both old and new. It should be a leadership characterised by probity, humility, integrity and compassion, with a style that demonstrates competence and a sense of efficacy. With these remarks as preface, I must thank the Vice-Chancellor and his Executive Committee for their sterling efforts during 2010. The University Council and Senate, as well as the various academic faculties, must also be commended for their contributions, the combined impact of which is helping the university to fulfil its vision and mission.
6 Message from the CHAIRPERSON OF COUNCIL JUDGE LUCY MAILULA Judge Lucy Mailula was born in a small village less than ten kilometres from the University’s Turfloop campus, where later she studied law, finally graduating with an LLB in 1981. She did her articles with a Pretoria law firm before working for the Bophuthatswana Attorney General’s Office. She was admitted as an advocate in Bophuthatswana, and in 1986 she came to Johannesburg for re-admission to the South African Supreme Court. She has served as Chairperson of the University Council since 2008.
I AM PLEASED to be able to report that 2010 – despite its myriad distractions with the FIFA World Cup and extended holidays – saw serious commitment on the part of the Council membership to strengthening the relationship between the Council and university management without breaching governance lines. Attendance at meetings was superb and our various committees were extremely effective, making the Council as a whole effective. Our efficiencies showed improvement by the day in the different areas where we have responsibilities, such as auditing, remuneration, human resources, physical planning, and tendering and procurement, including the formulation and adoption of policies relevant to the different spheres of operation. The infrastructure on both campuses is in the process of being improved, which includes student residences. The Council is, however, cognisant of the need to increase the amount of accommodation for students at Turfloop and Medunsa, especially considering the semi-rural locality of the campuses. The other reason for increasing on-campus accommodation is the security risk for students living offcampus and having to move between campus and their accommodation at different hours of the day and night. Progress was also seen under the auspices of the Council in the development of the medical training platform in Polokwane for first year students in 2012 and 2013. Financially, challenges of the past were met, and great strides were made in the improvement and implementation of stronger fiscal disciplines throughout both campuses.
2010 also saw very few disruptions in the academic programmes, which is encouraging. The year did bring with it, however, some uncertainty as the debates about the merger between the University of the North and Medunsa to form the University of Limpopo continued to reverberate below the surface. This was brought to a head towards the end of the year when Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande announced that a task team would investigate the future of the merger and its two campuses. Consequently smooth management of the institution became a bit of a challenge and many questions were raised about whether aspects such as harmonisation should be continued or put on hold. Speculation was rife and had to be handled with care to ensure that the core business of the university continued. This again emphasised the importance of the Council, and its need to show strong leadership throughout the period of uncertainty. The Council’s support of the university management team was strengthened as it helped the institution to retain its focus and remain alert to potential destabilising factors. Helpful to the Council too, was the fact that regular reports were received from management and Senate, that enabled the Council to see where there was a need for support, where it was adequate, and where there were weaknesses in the university’s activities. This enabled Council to give the right advice and direction where required. The year also held the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) accreditation process, with the auditing team visiting the university
campuses in September. This saw measures being put in place and distinct improvements made to the universityâ€™s functions and facilities in order to meet the requirements of the accreditation.
demography of the society that the university operates in, which was achieved successfully, even taking into account the two distinctive regions represented by the university campuses.
One of the highlights of the year for the Council was the finalisation of the Student Representative Council (SRC) Constitution, which brings clarity to student leadership and responsibilities. Unfortunately, at the Turfloop campus, the SRC dissolved in the course of the year due to internal problems, and it was some time before the matter was resolved.
With the signing of the Institutional Statute of the University of Limpopo by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, in August, the work the Council had put into developing the Statute was ratified. The objective of the Statute is to give effect to the Higher Education Act, 1997, as amended, and promote the effective management and governance of the university in respect of matters not expressly prescribed by law.
A positive development was the appointment of a Dean of Students Affairs, Dr Segopane Seroka, which will assist in stabilising student activities on campus. This appointment will deliver much needed continuity to this aspect of the university. On the membership side, the Council had the privilege of welcoming new members on board for 2010 including ministerial appointments. We did, however, also have two resignations. One council member came to the end of the term of service, while the other resigned due to pressure of work. We continued to see that one of the strengths of the Council is the wide range of expertise it brings to the table. Some of the members are medical doctors, and others are in the legal and the business worlds and in IT. All in all, the council membership was an extremely good mix, as determined by legislation which dictates the makeup of the Council membership â€“ the number of ministerial appointments, representing students from the SRC, academics, alumni, and senior management. Legislation also stipulates that the Council must reflect the
The Statute also sets out the composition of the Council and the expertise required to be represented on the Council. The list for the new Council was furnished by relevant parties and the Council is scheduled to be inaugurated in 2011. To end, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to members of the Council and the various Committees for their unstinting contribution to the well-being of the University of Limpopo throughout the year under review. The university has faced problems over the years, and the Council did well, delivering the Strategic Plan for the forthcoming three years that will see improved delivery and improved stability in terms of financial management. I would also like to emphasise the importance of a successful University Council in ensuring the independent and transparent approach to the governance of the University of Limpopo. It means that whatever the future holds for the university and its campuses, it will have the foundation of a sound commitment to a common cause.
Message from the Vice-Chancellor AND PRINCIPAL PROFESSOR MAHLO MOKGALONG Professor Mokgalong has served as acting, then interim, and finally substantive ViceChancellor and principal of the University of Limpopo since the beginning of 2003. He studied biological science for his undergraduate degree at the university he now leads. Subsequent degrees included BSc (Hons) in Zoology, an MSc in Limnology, and a PhD in Parasitology. His research took him to many parts of the world, but Mokgalong has put aside his scientific interests to respond to the leadership demands of his alma mater.
THE YEAR UNDER review has had its share of controversy and triumphs. The latter far outweigh the former, and this report will concentrate on the positive developments and successes with which 2010 was liberally studded. However, it is important that all the university’s constituencies are apprised of the facts surrounding recent activities relating to the merger of our two previous universities – the University of the North and the Medical University of Southern Africa – to form the current University of Limpopo. This merger occurred six years ago, on 1 January 2005, and since that date an enormous amount of work on both campuses has been done to harmonise the two previously independent institutions and to create a common institutional culture and purpose.
made in May 2011, that the universities would demerge to become separate institutions once more. The details of the announcement and the developments arising from it will be reported in the annual report for 2011. Suffice to say here that the decision to grow Medunsa into an expanded single focus health sciences training institution, while at the same time to establish a new medical training platform in Polokwane, as part of the University of Limpopo, was positively received by students and staff on both campuses.
Nevertheless, late in 2010, the Minister of Higher Education and Training unexpectedly announced in the media that he would appoint a task team to examine the state of the merger with a view to recommending whether it should remain in place or be reversed. This was a surprise to the University Council and to our Executive Committee. Our Council immediately contacted the Ministry, requesting that Council be consulted on the matter. A delegation from the University of Limpopo travelled to Cape Town for precisely such a consultation, where the Minister apologised for the lapse in protocol. It was then agreed that a task team comprising two senior academics from universities in Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal be appointed to examine the situation and make recommendations by early 2011.
Apart from these administrative uncertainties late in the year, both main campuses of the University of Limpopo have made encouraging strides. Last year I talked of 2009 as being our watershed year. The constituent parts of our merged university had come through turbulent times. Our reputations as institutions of resistance during the final years of apartheid were well warranted, but the struggle had left its scars on our academic and administrative stability. After the advent of democracy in 1994, the higher education sector in South Africa as a whole was affected by the very necessary ‘size and shape’ debate that led to many mergers across the country, some relatively easily achieved, others – like our own – much more complex and difficult. Nevertheless, on 1 January 2005, we were joined for better or worse by Cabinet decree. This action, however logical from the development potential and decentralisation of intellectual resources points of view, brought with it a new set of challenges and instabilities that have taken at least five years to resolve.
The result of these events, as is well known, is that an announcement was
By early 2007, our financial and administrative affairs were in considerable
disorder, and it took the Ministerial appointment of an external assessor, and the development of and serious commitment to an Institutional Operating Plan to right the ship and keep it on the course defined by our vision and mission. This was accomplished in the watershed year of 2009. As a result, the progress achieved in 2010 has been considerable: it has been a year of consolidation and ascent. It was also the year of our first external institutional audit conducted by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the national Council on Higher Education. After preparations lasting well over 18 months, the audit culminated in September in a weeklong assessment visit to the university by the HEQC audit panel. Before going into further detail concerning the results of the audit, I would like to focus on several key areas of our activities that support my contention that 2010 was a year of genuine consolidation and sustainable ascent. The first key area concerns the successful launching in October 2010 of our collaborative research partnership with the Flemish Inter Universities Council (VLIR), through which substantial amounts of funding and expertise from Belgian universities will flow for a minimum of five years into our research efforts on both our Medunsa and Turfloop campuses. What is most significant about the partnership is that the research projects it includes – dealing with the development of selfsustaining communities, the supply and optimal use of water, as well as food security and public health – are all contained within the overarching slogan: Human wellness in the context of global change – finding solutions for rural Africa.
In other words, the VLIR partnership lends real punch to our avowed vision of ‘addressing the needs of rural communities through innovative ideas’. This vision has been in our thinking for several years in the form of our mooted Rural Development and Innovation Hub, which it was envisioned would do the same thing: address the needs of rural communities through innovative ideas. Like the VLIR initiative, an interdisciplinary approach for the Hub was mooted, where the traditional silo approaches to research were replaced with more broad-based and inter-faculty methodologies to deal with rural development challenges. In this way, we would be able to move more effectively in pursuit of the central thrust of our vision and mission: finding solutions for rural Africa’s innumerable problems. I am happy to announce that our ideas for a Rural Development and Innovation Hub found their way to the top of the agenda during 2010. An eminently suitable Director has been found and will be officially appointed early next year – and I confidently expect a surge of interrelated research more focussed on our vision than has been possible in the past. I expect as well some exciting collaborations between the fledgling Innovation Hub and the VLIR partnership. In speaking of these developments, the importance of research, in regard both to the funding and the effectiveness of our efforts, comes into clearer focus. Historically, the University of Limpopo was not expected to nor did it engage in a great deal of research. This situation changed dramatically after 1994, when we were asked to take our place in a unified
South African team of 23 universities. As a consequence of this change in status, research has assumed increasing importance in our planning from year to year. This has been evident most recently in the substantial strengthening and restructuring of our Research Office. This renewed support for the research arm of our core business, coupled with increasing research efforts from all four faculties, led to some encouraging results during the year under review. For example, the flow of funding from the National Research Foundation more than doubled from 2009 to 2010, and our number of research publications rose by at least 65 percent. When this output is converted into units (the actual figure will only be verified during the second half of 2011) I am confident that our 2009 ranking of 17th (out of 23 universities) will be improved. The second key area I have chosen to support my contention that 2010 was a year of genuine consolidation and sustainable ascent, concerns the development of a second University of Limpopo Medical School, which will be attached to a fully-fledged tertiary hospital in Polokwane. Such a medical training facility for the largely rural northern parts of the country has been on the cards for some time, and we have held extensive discussions with the provincial health authorities, as well as with the national health and education and training departments. The news from the province is that the building of a 600bed training hospital costing in excess of R1,2-billion will begin in earnest in 2011. This major asset will be erected on the Edupark campus in Polokwane itself and
will take approximately five years to complete. But the training hospital is only one part of the total medical training platform that is being planned. Other parts include the construction of a dedicated medical school building to house departmental and speciality offices, lecture halls and seminar rooms, instructional and research laboratories, and library facilities; and of course student residences will also need to be built. The additional funding will be raised by the national departments of Health and Education to bear the costs of establishing the complete health training package under the auspices of our university. We have (late in 2010) appointed a high profile consultant, Professor Dan Ncayiyana, to help us to put the whole plan together. A key point to remember is that we wonâ€™t be waiting for the completion of the infrastructure before the training of doctors begins. The good news is that weâ€™re planning our first intake of MBChB students for the 2012 academic year. The recruitment of senior specialist staff, to be shared between the provincial Department of Health and the university, has already begun. Students will attend lectures on the Turfloop campus and will use the Pietersburg/Mankweng Hospital Complex for their practical training. There could hardly be better evidence of our universityâ€™s trajectory in the direction of sustainable ascent. For this reason, a special section of this Annual Report has been devoted to the details of this important development. Thinking of the large amount of physical infrastructure required to facilitate the establishment of the new medical training platform, brings to mind the advances
made generally in this regard on both our main campuses during 2010. On the Medunsa campus, substantial amounts of money have been spent on various infrastructural upgrades. Most important of these are the new Phantom Head Laboratory and upgraded and re-equipped operating theatres in the School of Dentistry; and the new fully equipped Skills Centre to assist with the training of doctors and other healthcare professionals. The inclusion of state-ofthe-art simulators and manikins will add a new dimension to teaching and learning at Medunsa. On the Turfloop campus, the new Multipurpose Centre has been built near the main gate, where it will be used as much for community activities as for university events. The Centre is due to be officially opened during the second half of 2011. In addition, an entire block of new training laboratories and lecture halls has been erected to facilitate training in the life sciences; and next year (2011) work will commence on a similar facility for the physical sciences â€“ including our resuscitated Geology Department whose first graduates can be expected, also in 2011. These are impressive achievements, yet it is essential that they be viewed in the light of the comments made by the audit team at the end of the institutional audit process finalised in September 2010. Although we still await the official audit report, the university did receive oral feedback at the end of the process. What follows is a summary, not of their praise of the seriousness with which the University of Limpopo had prepared for the audit, but of those key areas in our performance
that the audit panel believed require special attention. There were three such areas: the first related to what the panel saw as a lack of any real organic relationship or integrated academic focus between the three elements of our core business, namely teaching/learning, research, and community engagement. The second related to what the panel saw as a general lack of influence exerted by our vision and mission on the programmes and curricula offered by the university. And the third key area requiring our attention related to the merger between Medunsa and Turfloop. The audit panel said simply that a single institutional identity had not yet been achieved. With regard to the first two comments, I believe that we are well on the road towards major improvements. With regard to the difficulties surrounding the merger, perhaps I should say that the jury is still out. Whatever the verdict, however, I believe that the various components of our institution will continue to work for the betterment of the communities in which they operate, and for excellence in everything they jointly or separately do. This striving for excellence is amply borne out in the pages of this annual report. Every Faculty report contains evidence not only of renewed effort but also effort that is increasingly targeted. In addition, we have devoted a special section of the report to a brief examination of no fewer than sixteen centres of excellence spread across both main campuses of the University of Limpopo. Naturally, these centres of excellence do not dictate the general level of proficiency of the institution as a whole. However, as the
number of these centres increases – as they have been doing over the past decade, and particularly since the merger in 2005 – it is inevitable that the general quality of the institution will be elevated. This observation is based not so much on the idea of critical mass, as on proximity to high quality endeavour having the power to change collective mindsets. There can be no doubt that this is beginning to happen. Our improving research output, and the increases in the number of postgraduate degrees awarded, indicates a growing awareness that a vigorous pursuit of higher learning is the surest way to personal and collective socio-economic development. In short, these indicators suggest to us that a genuine ‘culture of learning’ is beginning to flower at our university. Allow me to remain for a moment with our postgraduate achievements. Honours degrees have increased from 365 in 2009 to 463 in the year under review. Across the same timescale, Masters degrees have risen from 84 to 216; and Doctoral degrees from 11 to 17. As we continue more finely to relate our efforts to our vision and mission, and as we continue to nurture the mindset changes that are beginning to transform our campuses into places where genuine scholarship holds sway, these profoundly encouraging upward trends will, I believe, become selfperpetuating. With these achievements as background, I would like to turn my attention very briefly to the contributions made by the University Council and by the University Senate.
With regard to the Council, I cannot help comparing our situation at the University of Limpopo with the unsatisfactory situations that not infrequently appear elsewhere in the country. The relationship here at the University of Limpopo between Council and my Executive Committee is beginning to gel into a solid example of mutual responsibility and common cause. Council support and Council vigilance are valuable assets in times of rapid change; and I must accordingly thank the Council Chair and individual councillors for the part they have played in a successful 2010. University Senates are the custodians of the core business of the institution – that organic combination of teaching/learning, research, and community engagement, all driven by the demands of the institution’s basic vision and mission. Throughout the year under review, our Senate has taken these responsibilities more seriously than anyone could have realistically hoped for. The various Senate Committees – dealing with research, higher degrees, ethics, and other crucial considerations – have all done important work. My sincere thanks to everyone involved with Senate affairs. In conclusion, I must extend my appreciation to all staff, academic and non-academic, on all the campuses of our university. Their efforts and their dedication during 2010 are highly valued. The successes achieved by the University of Limpopo are their successes. The challenges still facing our institution are equally their challenges. I believe that with the quality that now characterises our staff at every level, we will be more than equal to whatever the future may hold.
14 Report of Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic and Research PROFESSOR MBUDZENI MBULAHENI SIBARA Professor Mbudzeni Mbulaheni Sibara, originally trained as a biochemist and microbiologist, has wide experience of university administration, having served in senior positions at several universities during the institutional mergers that characterised the South African higher education sector during the first decade of the 21st century. His undergraduate degree was obtained from Fort Hare in the late 1970s, with subsequent postgraduate degrees in microbiology from Wits, and a PhD in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin (Madison). Professor Sibara worked as a senior academic at the University of the North from 1992 to the end of April 2001. He returned to the University of Limpopo to take up his present position in May 2010.
DURING MY SHORT time at the university I have seen steady progress in those areas under my direct control, namely in the areas of teaching/learning, research, and community engagement; and in those academic support functions that are indispensable to the efficient operation of a university such as ours, with geographically separated campuses and, thanks to our history, a lot of ground to cover in order to deliver on our mandate. Although we lost one of our executive deans during the latter stages of the year under review, I am pleased to report that except for two schools on the Turfloop campus, all school director posts have now been permanently filled. The academic structure of our four faculties has stabilised, and the large Health Sciences Faculty, based primarily on the Medunsa campus, has been fully integrated with the university as a whole. Thanks to improvements achieved under the Institutional Operating Plan of 2008/9, we now have good and uncorrupted data on all our academic activities, which means that we have the wherewithal for proper strategic planning. With regard to the quality of our academic programmes, the recently concluded institutional audit has served several important purposes. Not only has it exposed the university to external scrutiny, it has also served to highlight the importance of quality in everything we do. Quality assurance should not merely mean compliance to a set of standards imposed from outside. Rather, it should be about sustainable best practice. If this is the target â€“ and I am confident that the experience of the institutional audit has helped to focus our collective awareness in this direction â€“
then the idea of quality and quality assurance will rapidly become embedded in the ethos and culture of the institution itself. That is certainly our goal. In this regard, we are particularly concerned with increasing throughput rates and success rates across our academic effort at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Our twopronged approach here is to improve the quality of graduates as well as the academic profile of our lecturers. Our student improvement initiatives are many and varied. To begin with, via the Science Centre on the Turfloop campus, we have engaged with increasing numbers of schools and schoolteachers involved in the teaching of mathematics and science. This is enabling the university to engage at the pre-admissions level with our largely rural student pool. After admission, our Centre for Academic Excellence comes into play with extended degree programmes and other support activities, including life skills and computer literacy and library usage training for firstyear students. In addition, Senate approved the establishment of a special Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning towards the end of the year under review. The focus of this committee will be to suggest further quality improvements and to centralise policy-making in this vitally important field. The Centre for Academic Excellence will play a prominent role in the activities of this new Senate committee. Our staff improvement initiatives are as varied. The best examples of what has recently been introduced (in 2010) come from the universityâ€™s Research Office. The appointment of a specialist Research
Developer has focussed attention on increasing research output from both staff and post-graduate students. On the staff side, several initiatives have been introduced to encourage further study and increased research output. These range from a special support project for staff currently working towards PhD qualifications; research article-writing workshops; and a special initiative where senior staff members are encouraged to apply for National Research Foundation rating. Only 22 percent of our academic staff currently hold doctoral degrees. Our medium-term aim, perhaps somewhat ambitiously, is to increase this to over 30 percent. In addition, we hope substantially to increase the number of research chairs at the university in the next few years. All these endeavours are aimed at improving the quality of our academic and research outputs on our various campuses. On the community engagement front, the university’s Development, Facilitation and Training Institute (based at the Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership) is involved in an important new research initiative entitled the CommunityUniversity Partnership Programme, which is being piloted in four rural-based universities, namely Limpopo, Fort Hare, Venda, and Zululand. The aim of the programme is to develop a comprehensive tool for improved response to community aspirations, and for addressing the problems of poverty, underdevelopment and inequality that are still rife in South Africa today. The University of Limpopo’s role in this joint venture concerns the mapping of university-inspired community
engagement impacts and has three main goals: to develop a holistic view of knowledge flows that result from university community engagement programmes; to establish a sustainable ‘community engagement office’ at the university; and to build capacity to tackle the challenge of increasing South Africa's ability to anticipate the complex consequences of forthcoming environmental and socio-economic change. This is cutting-edge social science research. To return to campus matters, I must mention the Reakgona Disability Centre on the Turfloop campus. The news of the year (for 2010) must be the generous grant from the Airports Company of South Africa that has made possible the addition of many refinements and enrichments at this centre for students afflicted by all forms of physical disadvantage. The University of Limpopo has a proud tradition of ensuring that disadvantaged people are not excluded from the mainstream, particularly as we move towards the full nurturing of a culture of learning as the necessary foundation upon which our knowledge economy will be built. This knowledge economy, which will underpin our socio-economic survival as a nation through the 21st century, will increasingly depend on our ability to keep pace with the technological advances that are available to us as individuals and as a modern institution. It therefore behoves me at this point to say a few words about the need and the impact of technology. Our Information Communications Technology (ICT) Department has made significant
advances in the year under review. The upgraded e-mail service that is now available on both our main campuses has facilitated easier communications and has consigned much ‘junk mail’ to a deserved oblivion. Even more important has been the university’s connection to the national fibre-optic grid. This will fully connect us to other South African universities and institutions, as well as to the world, a development that will greatly optimise the use of information technology in our teaching/learning and research endeavours. In addition, it is of vital importance now that we aggressively pursue – through the acquisition of relevant equipment and 24/7 computer labs, as well as through targeted training – the issue of e-learning not only for our on-campus students, but for the possibilities inherent in systems of distance learning in the future. I must also mention the role the International Office has continued to play in recruiting foreign students to the University of Limpopo and the Director’s efforts in ensuring the students’ comfort during their stay on our campuses. The Registrar’s Office and my own are currently reviewing the structure and activities of the International Office with the view of streamlining its functions to best serve the interests of both students and staff of the university. Readers of this report will be fully apprised elsewhere of two of the most important university developments to have taken place in 2010. The first was the establishment of a Rural Development and Innovation Hub, which is designed to channel and integrate academic endeavours, particularly research. The second was the green light for the
establishment of a fully-fledged tertiary training hospital to enable the university to develop a second Medical School to train doctors and other health professionals in the province of Limpopo. Suffice it to say here that both developments are of the utmost importance to the future relevance of the university in terms of its geographical setting and the vision and mission of the institution. One passing comment on the new training hospital. The University of Limpopo is represented on the joint standing committee that deals with the appointment of specialists being recruited by the province to work in the various medical disciplines required to staff a tertiary hospital. We have found the applications for these positions to be plentiful and of high quality, and very often they are from people who have left their homes in Limpopo to develop and improve their skills elsewhere. Now they want to come home. This tendency is hugely encouraging for the future of the university and the province. My sincere thanks to all staff working in the departments and divisions that report into the Office of the Deputy ViceChancellor (Academic and Research): your application is beginning to pay dividends as the university continues to strive for the excellence to which we all aspire.
Report of the Acting Deputy ViceChancellor at Medunsa PROFESSOR HERMAN JOUBERT Professor Herman Joubert achieved his MBChB and MMed in pathology from the University of Pretoria, and is a Fellow of the College of Pathologists in South Africa. He is a member of the HPCSA National Accreditors Forum and the NHLS National Academic Pathology Committee; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the NHLS Research Trust; Chairman of the NHLS National Chemical Expert Committee; and Coordinator and Examiner for the College of Medicine of SAâ€™s Faculty of Pathology. At Medunsa, he is Director of the School of Pathology and Head of the Department of Chemical Pathology, positions he retains while acting as DVC.
STUDENT ENROLMENTS AT Medunsa can best be evaluated by looking at the enrolments in the four Schools of the Faculty of Health Sciences, as the campus has only one faculty since the academic restructuring took place. In 2010, the trend in annual increases in student enrolments on this campus continued and a total number of 3 837 students (both undergraduates and post-graduate) were enrolled. This represented an increase of about 4 percent compared to the 2009 enrolments. The students were distributed over the four schools as follows. Oral Health with 357 students (9.3 percent of the total enrolments); Health Care Sciences had 1 143 students (29.8 percent); Medicine as can be expected had the largest number of students â€“ 1 645 (42.8 percent of the total); and Pathology and Pre-Clinical Sciences enrolled 692 students (18.1 percent). Of these students, 744 (19.3 percent) were postgraduates. It is envisaged that these student numbers will further increase in 2011 and if student accommodation problems on the campus could be solved, the campus could possibly enrol 5 000 students in the 2012 academic year.
CAPITAL PROJECTS AT MEDUNSA In 2010, the University of Limpopo received an Infrastructure and Efficiency Grant from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to the value of R99.4million with an additional amount due in 2011 of R101.4-million. This was supposed to be supplemented by R24.3-million from the universityâ€™s own resources in order to improve teaching, learning and accommodation infrastructure on both campuses. At Medunsa, funds were targeted for the following projects: PROJECT
Upgrade of Hostel 1A
New e-learning facility (Reading Laboratory)
New bio-hazardous waste facility
Additions to the Clinical Skills Centre
Upgrading of the Basic Medical Sciences Building
Upgrade of the Polokwane Hostel
Upgrading of Medunsa lecture facilities
TOTAL DHET ALLOCATION
By the end of the reporting period the upgrades of the Polokwane Hostel and the Basic Medical Sciences Building were well underway. Planning for the new e-learning centre, the lecture hall upgrades, and the additions to the Skills Centre, was also well underway. A matter of grave concern was the fact that there were significant delays in the upgrade of Hostel 1A on the Medunsa campus, particularly in view of the fact that student accommodation at the campus was already falling drastically short of requirements and causing severe difficulties for many students who were forced to travel long distances to university daily, thus compromising their studies.
The Department of Higher Education and Training Clinical Training Grants are ring-fenced grants awarded since 2008 by the DHET to universities that are training health care professionals in certain designated disciplines. The disciplines that benefited from this grant at Medunsa in 2010 were Medicine (MBChB and MMed); Oral Health Science (BDS and MDent); Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Speech, Language Pathology and Audiology. The various disciplines used these grant allocations to improve staff/student ratios on the clinical training platforms, implement official programmes directed
to Community-Based Service Learning (CBSL) programmes, improve clinical training equipment for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, support operational requirements for newly appointed staff and fund transport of both staff and students to remote clinical training sites. The total amount awarded to the Medunsa Campus in 2010 was R34.16million. Although the various disciplines initially had problems spending the allocation in one financial year, in 2010, however, the campus spend was a total of R35.8-million. This meant that the entire allocation was spent plus R1.69million of the R42.45-million carried over from previous funding cycles. It has now become an irrefutable fact that these grants have become an essential component of the funding streams in health science education and will have to be continued in order to sustain quality and quantity in clinical training. The long-awaited Council on Higher Education Quality Committee Audit of the University of Limpopo took place from 27 September to 1 October 2010. Although all the interviews were held at the Turfloop campus, a number of staff members from the Medunsa campus were invited to take part. These included the Unions, Academic Heads of Departments, Directors of Schools, the Executive Dean and the Deputy ViceChancellor. These interviews were conducted in a cordial manner by the audit team and their report is currently awaited.
Medunsa hosted schools from the surrounding areas during National Science Week which took place in the first week of August 2010. The campusbased programme was funded by a grant obtained from the South African Association of Science and Technology (SAASTA) and the project leader was Florence Seseng, Outreach Programme Co-ordinator for Medunsa. The programme targeted mainly Grade 10-12 learners, but their teachers were involved as well. At least 2 724 learners and 32 teachers were reached in this attempt to assist learners with their science subjects, as well as to create a primary interest in science as a career. The programme consisted of lectures and presentations on Genetic Engineering (Biochemistry), Introduction to Statistics, Basic Emergency skills (Medunsa Clinical Skills Centre), and South Africa: a Wonderland of Birds (Biology). Career exhibitions and simple experiments were also demonstrated. Staff from the science departments of the School of Pathology and Pre-Clinical Sciences gave presentations on diverse topics in sciences, while staff from the new Clinical Skills Centre gave demonstrations in basic resuscitation skills, using some of the newly acquired manikins.
20 Report of Registrar RATHNUM NAIDOO Rathnum Naidoo first qualified as a teacher from the University of Durban Westville in 1975. He followed this up with further qualifications from Unisa and Rhodes University where he graduated with a B.Ed degree in 1991. He has also studied law at the University of Fort Hare. After holding several administrative positions at tertiary education institutions in the Eastern and Western Cape, he moved to Gauteng in 2003 to serve as Senior Deputy Registrar at the Tshwane University of Technology, and finally moved to his current position at the University of Limpopo in August 2008.
TO MAINTAIN CONTINUITY, this report begins, as it did last year, with the basic registration and graduation data for the year under review. With regard to admissions, the 2010 data were as follows: Undergraduate Postgraduate TOTAL
14 874 3 210 18 084
It is important to note that these figures represent an 8-percent increase in under- graduate admissions and a 33-percent increase in postgraduate admissions over 2009. The total admissions figures are broken down across the four faculties as follows: Health Sciences Dentistry
Health Care Sciences (Medunsa)
Health Care Sciences (Turfloop)
Pathology & Pre-clinical sciences
Language & Communication Studies
Management & Law Economics & Management
Graduate School of Leadership TOTAL
300 4 533
Science & Agriculture Computational & Mathematics
Molecular & Life Sciences
Physical & Mineral Sciences
Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
When compared with 2009 admissions, the Health Sciences Faculty has grown by 30 percent, the Humanities Faculty by 28 percent, Management and Law by 12 percent, and Science and Agriculture by 14 percent. With regard to certification and graduations, a total of 2 842 students graduated from the University of Limpopo in 2010.* This figure represents 16 percent of the total student body registered at the beginning of that academic year. The breakdown per qualification is as follows: Undergraduate Bachelor Degrees
Honours Bachelor Degrees
The year under review saw some significant developments and changes that enhanced the functioning of the Office of the Registrar. A key development was the gazetting of the University of Limpopo Statute, which effectively assists the University Council in governance issues. A departure from the standard institutional statute format to the new University of Limpopo Statute has meant that all governance structures within the institution have needed to be reconstituted. This process was started in 2010 and will be completed by mid-2011. I now want to turn my attention to governance issues. The university’s governing body is Council, which comprises elected staff, students, graduates, Council appointees and Ministerial appointees. Council is chaired by an elected chairperson who must be an external member of Council. In terms of the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997 and the new University of Limpopo Statute, Council has the following main functions: to appoint the Vice-Chancellor and Principal; to ensure that the institution is governed in accordance with the relevant statutes; and to determine and approve all University of Limpopo policies. It is also incumbent on Council to ensure that the university attains the highest standards of excellence in its core functions, that community participation in the activities of the university are encouraged, and that the university’s resources are responsibly and optimally deployed. The financial affairs of the university constitute an important responsibility for Council. In this regard, special Council Committees deal with various aspects of the university’s financial dealings and systems. The Finance Committee has an overarching responsibility in relation to financial performance and sustainability of the institution in both the short and longer terms, while the Audit, Human Resources, and Joint Tender & Physical Planning committees, maintain close attention to their specific briefs. All these committees are required to meet at least four times a year; and these requirements were met during the year under review. * Note that this figure excludes undergraduate certificates and diplomas.
With regard to full Council meetings, I am happy to report that all the essential requirements listed above were more than met by Council during 2010, and that attendance at Council meetings by its legally mandated members was generally good. On academic matters, Council consults with and delegates to the University Senate, a body that is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal. Each faculty is a committee of Senate, while the Senate itself is a committee of Council. In addition to the coordination of the teaching/learning and research activities across the university’s four faculties, Senate is responsible for encouraging high quality scholarship and research at the institution, and for the efficient administration of the teaching faculties. In conclusion, the year under review was once again a fruitful one. Even with the pressures of the 2010 World Cup, the Office of the Registrar was able to accomplish all the milestones set, and to conclude the year on a high note. This was achieved by our involvement in the HEQC Institutional Audit, which scrutin- ised our responsibilities with regard to registration, certification, assessment and postgraduate matters. My office was well prepared for the audits, and from initial reports it appears that we met the requirements as per the criteria that had been laid down. I wish to thank my hardworking staff for a job well done. I must add that support from colleagues in the Executive Management Committee, and especially from the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, ensured that the Office of the Registrar performed optimally.
Report of CHIEF Human Resources Officer JOSEPH MOLOTO
Joseph Moloto received a B.Admin degree, majoring in industrial psychology, from the University of the North in 1981, followed by an Honours degree in the same subject. He completed a two year Advanced Leadership Programme, offered jointly by CSIR and Wits in 1995/6, and an Advanced Executive Management Programme in 2003. His work experience includes stints at the KwaNdebele National Development Corporation, the HSRC, the Centre for Cognitive Development, the CSIR and the Department of Public Works. He joined Unisa in 2000 as executive director of human resources, in which capacity he tackled many of the problems associated with the merger of Unisa and Technikon SA. He returned to his alma mater to take up his current position in February 2008.
THE HARMONISATION OF human resources conditions of service and the main policies is now complete at the University of Limpopo. The process began in 2008, when as a result of the merger we were confronted by two sets of policies: one that pertained to the Medunsa Campus and another that came from Turfloop Campus. By 2009 most of these policies and procedures that supported them, were consolidated through a complicated and sometimes time consuming process of harmonisation which was completed during the year under review. Now we can say with confidence that the emphasis in the human resources portfolio has to shift from ‘just ensuring that things get done’ to ‘ensuring that things get done efficiently’. I will give an example of what this new emphasis means in practical terms. We need not only recruit and fill the posts; we must do so within an improved turn-around time. Another area that requires serious attention is the implementation of the Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which consists of five key thrusts: • Differentiated remuneration, other conditions of service as well as reward schemes • Career management and development initiatives • Nurturing of good management practices
• Development and maintenance of social and recreational and overall physical facilities • Leveraging the unique economic development in the areas in which the campuses of the university are located. All these key thrusts are aimed at marketing the university as an employer of choice in the higher education sector to enable us to attract and retain staff. Indeed the university is slowly but surely seeing an improvement in attracting high quality people even in the scarce skills areas. However this improvement varies per campus because the two campuses of the university are located in two different provinces. It is worth mentioning that in harmonising the conditions of service, we were guided also by what existed in the two previous universities, incorporating into the new conditions of service and HR policies, good practices that were already in existence. In this instances there was no need ‘to re-invent the wheel’. Comparatively speaking, the new and harmonised conditions of service and HR policies of the university, represent largely, an adjustment which has put the university on a par with other universities. The previous two sets of conditions of service and HR policies were generally regarded as generous and unaligned with those at
other universities in the country. The adjustments in the conditions of service required rigorous engagement with organised labour. In this regard, credit must be given to union leadership who, contrary to general belief, cooperated and were willing to see reason and persuade their membership to understand the position of the university as well as its broad aims for the future. Fortunately, organised labour in the university understands that the running and sustainability of the university requires a partnership which involves healthy interaction and mutual respect.
reliance on print media advertising is saving the university more than half of what we used to spend, especially as new managerial academic posts on the structure are filled. Apart from cost saving initiatives, it has become opportune and imperative that HR should focus on value-adding projects such as ensuring that staff are optimally utilised, wherever they are located. With most of the merger related activities slowly getting behind us, we can look forward with optimism towards the future.
As already mentioned elsewhere in this report, the overall impact of the new conditions of service and HR Policies places the University of Limpopo on an even playing field with other universities in the recruitment of quality staff. I referred, at the beginning of this report to the shift of emphasis in the human resources portfolio from ‘ensuring that things get done’ to ‘ensuring that things get done efficiently’. Our plan for 2011 is clearly focused on cost savings as far as HR processes are concerned, especially as we populate the new structure. An example of how HR has started with cost saving initiatives, relates to increased use of the university website when advertising vacant positions. This simple switch from heavy and absolute
24 Report of the Dean of Student Affairs DR SEGOPANE SEROKA Dr Segopane Seroka was born in the rural hinterland of what is now Limpopo Province where his only option was to study for his matriculation examinations by correspondence. He employed the same method to gain his undergraduate BA degree from Unisa in 1986. He had been teaching in Limpopo schools since 1975, but in 1987 he enrolled for a B.Ed at the then University of the North. Masters and doctoral degrees followed from the Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg). Seroka had held senior positions in the sphere of Student Affairs in several institutions of higher learning before moving to the University of Limpopo in August 2010.
I WOULD LIKE to begin this report by stating the obvious. If you take the students out of the tertiary education mix, there will be no tertiary education. They are the reason why our universities exist. It is therefore imperative that we look after them properly. They are the next generation of the nation’s intellectual capital, certainly; but they are also young adults with needs – academic, as well as political, social, emotional, and financial needs. The role of my office is to listen and respond appropriately by channelling students to the specialist services most suited to their particular needs. Having said this, it is also important that the thrust of the services offered by Student Affairs accords with the overarching philosophy of the university. An example of such synergy is the new residence admissions policy that was approved by the University Council in 2010. For the first time, residence admission – and particularly residence re-admission – is coupled with the academic performance of the student making application for a place in the residences. This makes sense from the university’s point of view, since the funding formula that establishes the amount of financial support due from the state to the institution recognises student throughput rates. In other words, the sooner students graduate, the more funding is secured. We have also received positive feedback on the arrangement from the
students, parents and sponsors. They appreciate that good academic performance ensures a place in the residences. It also obviates the need to queue for a place at the beginning of each academic year. It is now widely accepted, as well, that student accommodation plays a significant role in supporting the academic mission of any higher education institution. On-campus accommodation offers the muchneeded combination of living and learning environments that are crucially important for optimal academic performance. The support and developmental opportunities offered within our student residences go a long way to ensuring that students are developed holistically. The statistics for 2010 provide a snapshot of what still needs to be done in this regard. Of the 3 700 students studying at Medunsa, 2 394 were accommodated in the various university residences. An effort was also made to lease residences from private providers. Of the 17 000 students studying at Turfloop, there was room for only 6 577 in the on-campus residences. The unfortunate reality in most historically disadvantaged higher education institutions – and the Turfloop and Medunsa campuses of the University of Limpopo are no exception – is that student residences are generally dilapidated. This is due to historical
neglect, poor basic services infrastructure, insufficient funding, and the deprived socio-economic backgrounds of most students. This basic situation has been exacerbated by increased student intakes in recent years, in accordance with the socioeconomic needs of the country. While on the subject of residences, two significant developments must be mentioned, both of which relate to the possibility of increasing the number of residence places through public/private partnership arrangements. The first new development relates to a scheme whereby land may be made available by the university for privatesector development of new residences which private companies will then operate on a for profit and profit-sharing basis for a set period, after which the residence infrastructure will revert to the ownership of the university. The second new development concerns the more extensive use of existing accommodation in the communities adjacent to the campuses. This option will be piloted at the Turfloop Campus. An investigation is already under way in Sovenga which will reveal the amount of accommodation potentially available, and how this could be utilised by students if accredited by the university. The investigation will make suggestions relating to compliance with minimum standards, amenities, safety and security issues.The idea is to make the university an integral part of the local community.
It is worth noting that this second development has already stimulated interesting side effects in the realm of community engagement, as well as active co-operation between the university and community on a variety of issues, such as the environment, crime, and the general upgrading of amenities in the areas adjacent to the university. I mentioned earlier, the holistic development of our students. This concept is now taking centre-stage in our vision for the students of the University of Limpopo. It is worth noting that our response to the HIV/Aids threat is not a stand-alone policy but is deliberately incorporated into our overall health and wellness philosophy, which takes into account the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of our students. An important manifestation of this policy is our ‘Ladies Talk’ and ‘Gentlemen’s talk’ programmes, which are generally well attended. This same emphasis on overall health and wellness can be said to inform our policy relating to disabled students. Although they constitute a small minority of our total student population, and although they fall into numerous categories of disability, we endeavour to provide individualised attention and to maintain ‘disabled’ facilities that are accessible and as good as any in the country.
Report of Executive Director, Libraries MAKGABELA CHUENE Makgabela Chuene was born in the ga-Dikgale district in Polokwane and attended the University of the North (now the Turfloop campus of the University of Limpopo) where she graduated with a BAdmin degree in 1975. While employed in the Turfloop library, she completed a Higher Diploma in Librarianship, and a B.Bibl honours degree through Unisa. In the late 1980s, she went to New York where she completed her Masters degree at the University of Long Island. She acted as the University Librarian in 2004 and from December 2006 to April 2009 as Executive Director (Libraries). She was appointed permanently to this position on 1 January 2010.
THE LIBRARIES AT the University of Limpopo enjoyed a successful 2010. I would like to say immediately that this success is in no small measure due to the support we have received from the Vice-Chancellor with regard to improvements we are trying to introduce to the service we offer both to students and staff on our various campuses. The importance of welldeveloped and well-administered library resources is also recognised by the university at large, a reality that is reflected in the increasing budget allocation for library services. Some of the most important indicators of our activities can be summarised as follows: • The libraries budget increased from R8,7-million in 2009 to R13-million for the year under review. • A total of R4,25-million was spent on books, while the purchase of print periodicals declined in favour of on-line databases, where just over R7-million was spent. • The number of new items (books, periodicals, CDs, etc) added to the general library catalogue rose from 2 342 in 2009 to 10 147 in 2010. • The annual total of items borrowed in 2010 stood at 75 270, an increase of 16 percent over the previous year. Undergraduate students constituted the largest borrower group with more than 65 500 items issued. • Specialist subject librarians were kept busy with a total of 5 271 special
amount of wasted space which a sensible redesign could utilise, including additional computer areas for general library user use, and an improved user flow that would mean savings in staff requirements. These improvements have been designed and provisionally costed at around R2-million, and they are definitely high up on our priority list. Due to financial constraints during the year under review, the only physical infrastructure improvement we were able to undertake was the recarpeting of our 24/7 reading room. The second priority item that continues to demand our serious attention is our ‘information literacy’ training course, especially for new students. We had hoped to persuade the university to make this training compulsory from 2010, in fact to incorporate it into all first year curricula. But this hasn’t happened yet, so we’ll continue to fight for it. The course is available on-line, and we note that first year pass rates are enhanced among students who have taken the trouble to become information literate. This is especially the case with our rural students who have little or no prior experience of either libraries or computers. Our aim is to assist in the production of students and graduates for the 21st century who are equal to the best in the world, and who are empowered. This overused word, empowerment, must mean much more than acquiring
lots of information. Surely it’s about having the knowledge to do things. It’s about solving problems. One of the ways of achieving this is by helping students, and people generally, to differentiate between information and knowledge. We live in an age that is overburdened with information on every conceivable subject. Access to information is no longer a problem. The real challenge now is knowing how to select, knowing how to place information into relevant contexts, knowing, in other words, how to process information into knowledge. Obviously libraries have a central role to play in this important process. The libraries of the University of Limpopo should not be seen only in the supportive role that such facilities have traditionally occupied. We want to be active partners in academic processes that turn information into knowledge, for use in the service of a South African society increasingly reliant on problemsolvers and innovators for our wellbeing. I began this report by thanking the Vice-Chancellor for his support of the libraries. To this must be added my appreciation to the Deputy ViceChancellor, to whom I am directly responsible, for the development and efficient operation of those libraries. His interest and understanding are invaluable resources. Finally, I must thank my library staff for their loyalty and hard work throughout the year under review.
Executive Director, Marketing and Communications KGALEMA D K MOHUBA Kgalema D K Mohuba studied on the Turfloop Campus during the turbulent 1980s. He achieved a BA degree, majoring in languages and social sciences. A teacher’s diploma followed, and finally he graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree. Thereafter, he taught for some years at the then Modjadji College of Education. In 1994 he returned to Turfloop as a Senior Public Relations Officer and worked in what was known as the Department of Development and Public Affairs. He was appointed Director of Public Relations and Communications in 1996 and has been the University’s Spokesperson since then. He became an Acting Executive Director in December 2008 and was promoted to his present position late in October 2010.
THE YEAR UNDER review proved to be a busy and productive one for the Marketing and Communications Division. This report will deal with all aspects of the Division’s activities, but as an example of the levels of activity undertaken, I wish to highlight the Events Management and Guest Relations section. A total of 47 events was organised and successfully hosted during 2010. This represents a total of somewhat more than one a week throughout the academic year. The breakdown between the two main campuses was as follows: 26 on Turfloop and 21 on Medunsa. These events ranged from the annual graduation and academic School oath-taking ceremonies to new student orientation activities on both campuses and the annual research awards. In addition, special one-off events – the visit of the Higher Education Quality Control audit panel in September; the official opening of the Medunsa Clinical Reseach Unit (MeCRU) building on the Medunsa campus; the 20-year reunion of the MBChB class of 1989; and a pharmacy conference – were organised and hosted. The Marketing and Communications Division comprises the following sections: Student Recruitment and Marketing; Corporate publications; Media Relations and Advertising; Alumni and Convocations; Website Management; Audiovisual and Graphics sections; and the University Staff Restaurant.
On the student recruitment front, our open days attracted more than 10 000 learners in 2010. We also participated with presentations during the National Science Week and the International Science Festival held in Polokwane. School visits were held regularly throughout the year, as were active collaborations with the university’s various Schools and Faculties with their special requirements for incoming students. These activities were supplemented by participation in radio talk shows on local stations. Challenges during the year under review have presented specific opportunities for the future. The most important of these are: initiating a process of visiting former Model C schools; maximising the use of the university’s website to reach new potential student audiences; and to specifically target, through appropriate media, learner audiences in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to the north. The production of our publications continued throughout the year, The Dawn and UL Witness being intended mainly for internal consumption, while the quarterly Limpopo Leader and the 72-page Annual Report 2009 were aimed at the university’s external constituencies. Through an arrangement with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, copies of Limpopo Leader reach every South African Consulate and Embassy throughout the world. The writing and production of Limpopo Leader and the
flagship Annual Reports are currently outsourced. However, through a continuation of our journalism training, it is our aim to build in-house capacity to ensure that this outsourcing is gradually discontinued. Throughout 2010, our Media Relations and Advertising Section has continued to interact with print and electronic media outlets at both the local and national levels. Our media releases are used at the national level to highlight general university achievements and developments, not least from our increasing number of Centres of Excellence. Releases aimed at local and regional audiences deal with executivelevel appointments, as well as coverage of specific events, examples of which are the University of Limpopo Student Trust Fund golf day, and the Onkgopotse Tiro Awards. Our relationships with local newspaper and radio stations continue to flourish, with the result that we are strongly represented in these media. The national media, on the other hand, tend to give maximum coverage only of negative stories, such as student strikes and other controversies. One area where our coverage could be improved, resulting in a more positive profile for the university, is the use of our own academics acting as commentators on matters falling within their spheres of expertise. Our Alumni Officers have continued to collaborate with the Student Trust Fund with regard to the fund-raising golf day, and the Onkgopotse Tiro Awards
banquet. The alumni database now totals more than 10 000 for both campuses, but difficulties have been experienced with regard to the updating of contact and other details of the highly mobile community of alumni. The central task of making this community aware of the advantages to be derived from participating in university activities was on-going throughout the year, and was emphasised in the special alumni edition of Limpopo Leader distributed in the spring of 2010. Beyond the activities (key performance areas) of our various sections as outlined above, the Division sometimes finds itself involved in fundraising activities through sponsorships and resource mobilisation programmes. All the activities of the Marketing and Communications Division are designed to comply with the strategic objectives adopted for the University of Limpopo in 2007. In particular, improved external and internal communications, improved alumni liaison, as well as improved marketing of the university in SADC and developing a strategy to promote the universityâ€™s skills and knowledge and achievements have been of paramount importance to my Division. It remains for me to thank all those working in the Division for their efforts, and to record my appreciation to my fellow members on the universityâ€™s Executive Management Committee for their support and co-operation.
30 The Faculty Reports HEALTH SCIENCES
Statistical details The Faculty of Health Sciences comprises five Schools: Health Care Sciences, Health Sciences, Medicine, Oral Health Sciences, and Pathology and Pre-Clinical Sciences. The School of Health Care Sciences has four departments, each with their own clusters: DEPARTMENT
Department of Human Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech Language Pathology and Audiology
Human Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech Language Pathology and Audiology
Department of Nursing Sciences
Department of Pharmacy
Department of Public Health
The School of Health Sciences has four departments and their clusters: DEPARTMENT
Department of Human Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech Language Pathology and Audiology
Human Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech Language Pathology and Audiology
Department of Nursing Sciences
Department of Pharmacy
Department of Medical Sciences, Public Health and Health Promotion
Medical Sciences, Public Health and Health Promotion
The School of Medicine has ten departments and their clusters: DEPARTMENT
1. Department of Internal Medicine and Sub-specialties
Internal Medicine Cardiology Dermatology
2. Department of Pharmacology
Pharmacology and Therapeutics
3. Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care
Family Medicine and Primary Health Care
4. Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care/Intensive Care Anaesthesiology Critical Care 5. Department of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, and Otorhinolaryngology
Neurology, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology
6. Department of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Paediatrics Obstetrics and Gynaecology
7. Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology and Psychology
Psychiatry Clinical Psychology Psychology
32 8. Department of General Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Urology
General Surgery Cardiothoracic Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Urology
9. Department of Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiography and Biomedical Physics
Radiology Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiography, Medical BioPhysics
10. D epartment of Community Health and of Occupational Health
Community Health, Occupational Health
The School of Oral Health Sciences has three departments and their clusters: DEPARTMENT
Periodontology, Oral Medicine and Community Dentistry
Periodontology, Oral Medicine and Community Dentistry
Maxillofacial Surgery, Pathology, Radiology and Orthodontics
Maxillofacial Surgery, Pathology, Radiology and Orthodontics
The School of Pathology and Pre-Clinical Sciences has seven departments and their clusters: DEPARTMENT
Department of Anatomical Pathology and of Forensic Pathology
Anatomical Pathology and of Forensic Pathology
Department of Biological Sciences and Language Proficiency
Biological Sciences and Language Proficiency
Department of Chemical Pathology and Haematological Pathology
Chemical Pathology and Haematological Pathology
Department of Human Anatomy & Histology
Human Anatomy & Histology
Department of Human Physiology
Department of Microbiological Pathology and Virological Pathology
Microbiological Pathology and Virological Pathology
Department of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Physical and Mathematical Sciences
The size and effectiveness of the various faculty schools is indicated by student and staff numbers in 2010, as well as by the number of successful graduates from the same year (but graduating in 2011). The tables below summarise this information: Students and graduates: School
% of Students graduating
Oral Health Sciences
Health Care Sciences
Pathology & pre-Clinical Sciences Health Sciences
% with Masters +
Staff and qualifications: School
Oral Health Sciences
Health Care Sciences
Pathology & pre-Clinical Sciences
The Faculty Reports HEALTH SCIENCES Comments from the Executive Dean â€“ Professor Errol Holland Johannesburg-born Professor Holland qualified as a doctor at the University of Cape Town in 1972. He then returned to the Witwatersrand where he worked at several major hospitals, while at the same time studying for his postgraduate specialist degrees in internal medicine and clinical haematology. During his distinguished career he has worked at UCT and Wits, and has held senior positions within the Gauteng Department of Health. He took up his current position at the University of Limpopo on 1 April 2009.
TANGIBLE IMPROVEMENT IN the optimism and morale was evident within the Faculty during 2010, due mainly to the concerted efforts by the University of Limpopo to standardise the staffing structures, budgetary processes, policies and procedures, and quality control measures with regard to assessment reporting. A number of new academic appointments were made during 2010 which will provide stability for the governance structures and assist in optimising the achievements of the strategic priorities of the Faculty, including the performance in research output. The Faculty has identified its niche area for research, which is to focus on the largely uncharted research fields associated with addressing the needs of vulnerable communities. This will be addressed in a systematic manner with the full operation of the Health Sciences Education Council established in 2010, where a number of functions common to all programmes of the Faculty will be coordinated within a structured Council, including Community Engagement and the Community-Based Service Learning programme. The envisaged establishment of academic training bases within communities will facilitate the promotion of community needs-based research by registrars in training for specialist degrees. In this way, the Faculty strategic objective of addressing community needs in a scientific manner, towards improving the conditions in which people live, and the health services available to them, could be realised. Great optimism prevails as we are increasingly being made aware of support at the level of government for this approach to social responsiveness.
It is our conviction that our Health Sciences training is well placed to fully embrace this noble initiative. Outreach was a leading focus of the activities of the Faculty of Health Sciences in 2010, which saw active community engagement at a number of levels. The Community-Based Service Learning (CBSL) programme was revised, expanded, and introduced for first to fourth year medical students. The CBSL was also integrated with community engagement projects, as well as with specific departments in the faculty. Towards the end of the year, a successful meeting was held with stakeholders from local communities and students and members of staff from the Medunsa Campus, under the auspices of the CBSL department, to discuss the status quo of community engagement and develop a clearer strategy for effective involvement in the future. The interactions were enthusiastic and it was determined that activities in the local area are becoming more relevant to communities. This meeting is to be an annual event to ensure that activities remain relevant and that useful feedback can be given to university departments, to serve as guidelines for strengthening of the CBSL programme.
fully equipped, including Information Technology (IT) with efficient electronic networks, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Development. While this would require significant investment in an IT infrastructure, it would greatly enhance the involvement of the university in health service delivery and enable an improved implementation and management of facilities, this university is going to be increasingly community-based, it must be able to run its CBSL programme at a technologically enhanced level. Students should be able to learn wherever they are. It is a fallacy that because we are providing health services for disadvantaged people facilities should be sub-standard. A mandate of the government is upliftment. Health care is a part of that, and appropriate technology is a channel for its delivery. The most exciting potential of CBSL training bases is that they could serve as the basis from which postgraduate students could conduct community needs-based research projects, and through the interaction with communities, serve an advocacy role for the improvement of their health care.
The Medunsa Campus also made progress during 2010 towards consolidating and enhancing joint working programmes with the Department of Health in terms of services provision within the local communities. The aim is to ensure continuing upliftment of health services within the communities through a partnership model.
A second major thrust for the Faculty initiated early in 2010 was a co-ordinated Council for Health Sciences Education, which will offer the range of services that are common to all the schools within the Faculty. For optimal functioning, these services should be co-ordinated and located in one physical structure. A major fundraising campaign will be initiated to raise R60 million for the centre.
The goal of the Faculty is to establish training bases within the communities,
The services include: • An extension of the Practice of Medicine
Education (POME), part of the MBChB programme, to Practice of Health Sciences Education to focus on all health sciences. Skills training for students in all skills, linking the skills laboratory to other aspects of health training. Health Sciences curriculum development to bring the curricula of all programmes in line with a model of nationally accepted frameworks. Community engagement as a common area of activity for all schools. Health sciences ethics, as ethical standards underpin every area of health science education. Biostatistics for health sciences to increase the scientific orientation for all departments through research.
To advance this project, effort will be made to obtain financial support from the Department of Higher Education, the university, and the private sector. The Skills Centre at Medunsa, University of Limpopo, has been functional since 4 January 2010. The purpose-built facility, covering 1 660 m2, comprises an administrative block, 21 venues of varying sizes for teaching, a computer room and two sets of rooms for observation through twoway mirrors. This centre provides a controlled and nonthreatening environment for teaching and learning of clinical and communication skills. It enhances experiential learning in a simulated structure, without putting patients or students at risk, and offers a space where discussions can be conducted freely. The year also saw progress being made in genomic studies with the ongoing collaboration between the J. Craig Venter
Institute Genomic Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases, California, and the University of Limpopo, which involved both Medunsa and Turfloop campuses. This project saw the sequencing and publication of the first South African Genome in February 2010. The collaboration is ongoing and promises to hold benefits for the university. The Faculty of Health Sciences looks forward to an increase in the number of researchers on both campuses being trained in this field. We believe this can be quite a lucrative area for research. The Department of English established a special Reading Laboratory in 2010, through funding from the Department of Higher Education. The main reason for this development was that, of all the disadvantages that youngsters bring with them to university, battling to read and write in English is one that impacts on all aspects of their academic life. This advancement in the offering will greatly assist students with language proficiency challenges, giving them a full grasp of the teaching offered, which has the potential to dramatically impact on their performance. At this stage, findings are that students are performing well in their assessments in the Reading Laboratory. One of the ongoing and biggest challenges we face on the Medunsa campus relates to the fact that most of our students come from rural, impoverished areas, without means to private accommodation. Though the university provides accommodation for a large percentage of the student body, there are serious limitations in accommodation provision. In a long-term project, Medunsa is working on a systematic programme of upgrading our facilities. We recognise the need to expand the number of students
that can be accommodated on the premises or source funds to have more accommodation provided in the private sector. In line with the ongoing focus on community and outreach activities, several specific projects that took place during 2010 are worth highlighting. The first project: Medunsaâ€™s fourth year physiotherapy students were again members of the medical team available to the thousands of athletes running the Comrades Marathon on 30 May, to help ensure that medical assistance would be available to the athletes at all times. All final year students from the eight physiotherapy training institutions around the country participate in the medical team. The physiotherapy services start a day before the marathon so athletes can obtain advice from the students on aspects such as performance, cramps, and so on. Conditions such as muscle stiffness and joint weakness are treated by the students under supervision of qualified physiotherapists. On the day of the marathon students were dispatched to various medical stations along the route and at the end tent. Athletes used the physiotherapy facilities at the medical stations for massaging or for strapping support. The most challenging work was done at the stations from midway through to the end, as athletes were tired and battling with aching muscles. The end station was exceptionally hectic for the physiotherapy students as they faced overwhelming demand for medical attention from athletes.
Management of sport injuries is an important aspect of our curriculum. The Comrades Marathon offers students an opportunity to manage conditions and athletes that they would not be exposed to in normal clinical education. Networking with other students also gives them added learning opportunities. Over the years several Medunsa alumni have pursued careers with various sporting codes and excelled in this area, some becoming involved with national sports teams. The second project: The School of Pathology and Pre-Clinical Sciences presented a two-part National Science week programme in the first week of August, under the leadership of Florence Seseng. The programme included a visit to schools at Soshanguve and Hammanskraal, and presentations and demonstrations at the Medunsa Campus Sports Complex. The week ended with a visit to the Pretoria National Botanical Gardens by a group of 28 students. Two junior secondary schools were visited in Soshanguve (Ntsako and Babina Phuti) and two secondary schools in Hammanskraal (Modilati and Tipfuxeni). Grade 9 learners at the schools were shown chemistry and physics experiments. About 1 300 leaners were reached during this part of the programme. The relevance of the impact of Science on our immediate communities and the economy of the country was highlighted. Activities during the Science Week were supported by a grant from the South African Agency for Science and Technology advancement.
The third project: Oral Health Month, an annual activity in South Africa, seeks to raise public awareness about oral health habits and attitudes. The aim is to help people understand the cause, symptoms and conditions of dental problems. The theme for Oral Health Month in September 2010 was No Health without Oral Health. Students within B. Dental Therapy II and University Diploma in Oral Hygiene II participated in these activities. Most of the areas visited during 2010 (except Soshad) were not on the School of Oral Health Science’s sustained oral health outreach programme, and thus offered opportunities for the School to expand its outreach programme. The areas of focus included: • George Mukhari Radio Talk Show, which gave listeners the opportunity to call in and ask advice on aspects of oral health care. • Colgate initiatives at Soshanguve Mall and Garankuwa Mall. People were screened and educated on oral health matters, and those who needed treatment were referred to appropriate oral health facilities. 747 people were screened at Soshanguve Mall and 762 at Garankuwa Mall. • Soshanguve Block TT Community Health Centre. This is a new area of focus and a needs analysis was done in the community. People visiting the health centre were educated on oral health matters. • Soshad School for people with disabilities, where young people and children were educated on oral health. • Itireleng School for the Blind Daycare Centre, where talks were given on correct oral health care.
The fourth project: Third year dietetics students organised a campaign as part of their community nutrition practical. The main aim was to promote healthy eating and lifestyle modification for a healthy heart. It was also designed to enhance students’ skills in nutrition assessment and counselling, expose students to organising and running a campaign, expose students to teamwork and the management of team dynamics, and give them a platform to showcase the role of a dietician in promoting health. Marketing of the event on 22 September was achieved through posters, pamphlets, a banner, and a heart model built by the students that showed the management of a healthy heart. The event comprised five stations which were visited by the attendees which provided anthropometric assessment, clinical and biochemical assessment, interpretation and counselling, information and education materials, and a vegetable and fruit bar. The campaign saw a turnout of 378 university students and staff who responded positively to the information they had been given. On 23 September, second year dietetics students of the Human Nutrition and Dietetics department held a cultural event as part of their Food Science practical. The aim was to enable students to learn to differentiate between different cultures and their belief systems. The cultural presentations were divided into two groups: Ditau, which represented Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tswana, and Venda; and Nguni, which represented Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Ndebele, and Tsonga. Other departments including physiotherapy, occupational, speech and audiology supported the event.
The Faculty Reports SCIENCE & AGRICULTURE
38 Statistical details The Faculty of Science and Agriculture comprises four schools: the School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on the Turfloop Campus; and the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences; the School of Molecular and Life Sciences; and the School of Physical and Mineral Sciences, straddling both the Turfloop and Medunsa Campuses. (See the Executive Dean’s report for details of a new departmental configuration as it straddles the two campuses.) The various Faculty schools comprise the following departments: • The School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has five departments: Agricultural Economics and Animal Production; Geography and Environmental Studies; Soil Science, Plant Production and Agricultural; Water and Sanitation and the Aquaculture Research Unit. • School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences has three departments: Computer Science; Mathematics and Applied mathematics; and Statistics and Operations Research. • School of Molecular and Life Sciences has three departments: Biodiversity; Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology; and Physiology and Environmental Health. • School of Physical and Mineral Sciences has two departments: Chemistry; and Physics and Geology The size and effectiveness of the various Faculty schools are indicated by student and staff numbers in 2010, as well as by the number of successful graduates from the same year (but actually graduating in 2011). The Tables below summarise this information: Students and graduates School Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
% of students graduating
Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Molecular and life Sciences
Physical and Mineral Sciences
Science & Agriculture
Faculty Total Staff and Qualifications School
% with Masters +
Acad Staff: Student ratio
Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
1 : 36
Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Molecular and life Sciences
Physical and Mineral Sciences
1 : 12,6
1 : 24,1
The Faculty Reports SCIENCE & AGRICULTURE Comments from the Executive Dean – Professor Hlengani Siweya Professor Hlengani Siweya was born in the old homeland of Gazankulu, matriculating from the Giyani High School with several distinctions in the late 70’s. Distinctions also characterised his first degree, a BSc (Paed). Siweya spent a year at the University of Sussex in southern England, doing a Masters in Point-free Topology. By 1993 he had a second Masters from Unisa in Categorical Topology. His doctoral degree followed through the University of Durban-Westville in 1999 in Point-free Topology. He has occupied his current position since the beginning of 2009.
THE YEAR UNDER review presented the Faculty with many challenges, but in general 2010 turned out to be a successful and productive period. In spite of some of our 2009 pre-clinical science students being re-allocated to Health Sciences, our overall student numbers across the five Turfloop-based Schools continued to grow. With regard to the teaching of preclinical sciences on the Medunsa campus, the new arrangement mooted in my last annual report (for 2009) was introduced in January 2010. Previously, line management for these activities emanated from the Executive Dean’s office at Turfloop. The new arrangement places the line management function within the Medunsa School of Pathology and Pre-Clinical Sciences, which falls under the ultimate control of the Faculty of Health Sciences. The new arrangement makes sense, considering the distance between the two campuses. My Faculty of Science and Agriculture, in particular the schools of Molecular and Life Sciences, Physical and Mineral Sciences, and Mathematical and Computer Sciences has, as planned, retained a functional guidance role. The new system has simplified my Faculty’s activities, and appears to be working well. Even more encouraging has been the Improved Graduate Throughput (IGT) project that began in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences in mid-2009 and by the end of 2010 was beginning to show some heartening results. The project was made possible through funding received from the Department of Higher Education and Training. An IGT Management Committee was set up, and a Project
Co-ordinator was appointed and answered directly to the Executive Dean. The project’s aim was to ensure that strategies were put in place that would assist the Faculty and the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences to increase its pass rates across all its undergraduate courses in computer science, mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics. Additional teaching resources were purchased for the school, a motivational talk in mathematics (concentrating on the centrality of the subject for all the sciences and technical subjects) was given by the well known female mathematician Professor Mmamokgethi Setati of Unisa to students and staff, and a ‘Facilitation and Assessor’ course was made available to all teaching academics in the school. A total of 74 staff members attended the course, of whom nearly 50 received certificates. For the majority of our teaching staff, this was the first training opportunity in lecture facilitation and assessment that had come their way. The impact of the IGT project on actual student pass rates in 2010 was more evident in some courses than in others. Pass rate improvements topped 10 percent in some courses, but remained the same or even deteriorated in others. However, there was a definite improvement in overall school pass rates between 2009 and 2010. Speaking more generally, the Faculty as a whole still faces the reality that pass rates in some modules remain well below 60 percent. Although measures have been put in place to make improvements, more interventions are required. Some of the identified areas that require attention are:
• Many classes are too large and need to be divided. This will necessitate additional teaching equipment so that more manageable groups can be taught simultaneously. • Staff development must be made a top priority. The work begun under the IGT Project in one school should be ongoing and Faculty-wide. In addition, first year students often arrive with shortcomings in such skills as reading, writing, computer and presentation skills. Strategies will need to be put in place to counteract this problem; but little can be done unless our teaching staff is provided with the know-how and skills to respond adequately. • More computer resources for Honours and Masters students are required in order to assist them with Internet searches, to keep their results orderly and up to date, and to give them the tools to complete their reports and dissertations on time. During the year under review, several important new research collaborations were established. During August 2010, a delegation of professors and scientists from Kansas State University in the USA visited our Faculty. The result was an eagerness on both sides to join in collaborative research in agricultural and environmental issues. Teams of academics both here and in Kansas are now working on identifying projects to and from which both institutions could add and extract value. At the same time, a partnership developed between scientists in our School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the research and development department in one of the largest commercial tomato producers in the country, ZZ2, with farming enterprises in Limpopo
province. This could result in reciprocities of considerable value to both partners. Moving from collaborations to our fundraising drive, we have made some significant strides. The Industrial Development Corporation has donated 35 computers to our BSc extended degree programme for under-prepared students. This will ease the pressure on our existing computers and should be sufficient, with careful utilisation planning, to cope with 200 students. Eskom has provided the Faculty with R75 000 for staff development and postgraduate training: this is in addition to funding injected into our Materials Modelling Centre in the School of Physical and Mineral Sciences. Other support has come from Statistics South Africa, the National Research Foundation, and the Land Bank which funds a Chair in Plant Production in our School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to the tune of R330 000 a year. Special mention should be made of our efforts to resuscitate Geology on the Turfloop campus. After 21 years, the Geology Department closed in 2003 – just at the moment when platinum mining in Limpopo province received the boost of Anglo Platinum’s R1,4billion smelter plant commissioned near Polokwane. But by early 2007, Geology returned, and a batch of first year students was enrolled in 2008. Many of these students graduated during 2010, and a few will be graduating with Honours in 2011. Although there have been problems with the retention of senior staff in the Department of Geology, Mining and Minerals, these have now been positively resolved, and
our Faculty is on track to make an increasingly significant contribution to the booming mining industry in the province. Another significant advance in the Faculty during the year under review was the launch of the process of curriculum review, a process that will only be completed by the end of 2011. Of particular importance in this regard has been work on the inclusion of modules in all our courses that deal with science in a human context with the help of curricula developed at the University of Pretoria. The history and philosophy of science will be taught, with an emphasis on the citizenship responsibilities of science as an entity of human endeavour and of individual scientists. Staff development also received sustained attention throughout 2010. I have already mentioned the special ‘Facilitation and Assessor’ training given to staff under the IGT Project. More generally, our staff development policy is driven by our belief that we must nurture young talent by encouragement – even using some coercion if necessary – and by serious investment. In this regard, we have started materially to support staff studying for their PhDs at other universities; we are especially encouraging our female researchers, and we have embarked on a deliberate mentoring programme by inviting senior researchers from other countries to spend time in the Faculty. Some Russian researchers worked with us for a time. A senior American academic visited our School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences where he mentored our academic staff, teaching them not only what to research but how to go
about the research process. Academics from Zimbabwe’s National University of Science and Technology also worked in that school for six months in 2010, assisting with research in the ‘operations’ field. The result of this mentoring was that we produced four operations research papers in 2010, compared to none at all in 2009. I am convinced this trend will now continue. I am equally convinced that the academic offerings from our Faculty of Science and Agriculture will very quickly meet international standards of excellence. It is our priority now to remove forever all the negative perceptions of our performance and abilities in the higher education sector generally, and the Limpopo public at large. Our Faculty is bursting with potential. Very soon we will be universally respected for what we do and produce. My thanks to all who are assisting us to achieve this goal.
42 The Faculty Reports HUMANITIES
Statistical details The Faculty of Humanities comprises three schools: the School of Languages and Communication Studies on the Turfloop campus; the School of Education on the Turfloop campus; and the School of Social Sciences on the Turfloop campus, with some activity, notably in psychology, also taking place on the Ga-Rankuwa campus. The various faculty schools comprise the following departments: • The School of Languages and Communication Studies has six departments: African Languages; English and Foreign Languages (also embracing Fine and Performing Arts); Information Studies; Translation Studies and Linguistics; Media Studies and Communication. • The School of Education has four departments: Languages, Social & Educational Management Sciences; Educational Studies; Maths, Science and Technology Education; and Community and Continuing Education. • The School of Social Sciences has seven departments: Anthropology and Archaeology; Criminology and Criminal Justice; History and Folklore Studies; Philosophy and Political Science; Psychology; Social Work; and Sociology. The size and effectiveness of the various faculty schools is indicated by student and staff numbers in 2010, as well as by the number of successful graduates from the same year (but actually graduating in 2011. The tables below summarise this information: Students and graduates: School
% of Students graduating
Languages & Communication Studies
Staff and qualifications: School
FT academic staff
% with Masters +
Languages & Communication Studies
Social Sciences Faculty Total
44 The Faculty Reports HUMANITIES Comments from the Acting Executive Dean – Dr Makgwana Rampedi In 1972 Dr Makgwana Rampedi enrolled at the then University of the North where he successfully completed his BA and B.Ed degrees. For some years he taught in Seshego before joining his alma mater as a lecturer in comparative education. He then went to the University of the Western Cape where he graduated with a Masters in Education, while at the same time completing a BA Honours degree from Unisa. His doctorate in Education followed from the University of Groningen in Holland in 2003. Rampedi served as Dean of the Education Faculty at Turfloop between 1996 and 1999. He has, since 2007, been the director of the School of Education, and was appointed Acting Executive Dean of Humanities late in 2010.
THE MISSION OF this faculty is to empower students to reach their full potential, to attract and develop and retain quality staff, and to deliver quality teaching, research and people-centred outreach programmes. It is envisaged that the next three years will see a concerted effort to improve the execution of the mandate of the Faculty of Humanities with regard to the tripartite pillars of teaching/learning, research and community outreach mentioned above. As in the past, 2010 was characterised by both gains and losses in terms of academic staff resignations and promotions. Between January and November there were two promotions, one to the position of senior lecturer, the other to professorial level. In addition, three staff members took PhD degrees and six completed their Masters degrees. But during the same period there were four resignations. Nevertheless, the number of staff defined as researchers (those who spend more than 5 percent of their working time on research) exceeded 80, which represented over 65 percent of the total academic staff employed in the faculty. During the year under review, there were several completed and several on-going individual research projects in the faculty, some of which were externally funded. Publications in 2010
included 14 accredited articles, seven non-accredited articles, two chapters in books and six edited books. The accredited article tally translates into a figure of around 0.12 articles per fulltime staff member. The number of accredited articles for 2010 is double that produced in 2009, and slightly higher than the 13 produced in 2008. It is hoped that this upward trend will continue. Indeed, the faculty is confident that the support provided from the Research Development Grant, in the form of several capacity-building workshops that were well attended, will bear fruit in the next three to four years. There were several 2010 developments which should boost the faculty’s research rating. The first was the initial formation as a ‘virtual centre’ of the Indigenous Knowledge Centre of Excellence with plans to develop this centre into a fully-fledged node for the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) hub, which is based at the Mafikeng campus of North-West University. The introduction of the new B.IKS degree has been deferred to 2012 due to internal processes. The second development worthy of mention is the progress being made with regard to the teaching of the Advanced Certificate in Education in School Management and Leadership. Launched in 2010, the plan is for a 2011 first year intake of 150 students. Substantial scope for research into the subject of school management,
particularly in rural schools, will doubtless be explored by many of these students and the staff who teach them. Particularly noteworthy in 2010 was Professor Esther Ramani’s success in obtaining funding from the Ford Foundation that assisted in the employment of lecturers, purchasing of computers, stationery, translation, bursaries for students, books and workshops for the Department of Contemporary English Language Studies. She also secured an amount from the SANPAD project that provided bursaries for two MA students and one PhD student, as well as additional computers, video cameras, data projectors and software. Researchers were able to attend training workshops, and staff and researchers to attend local and national conferences. Funding was also obtained from the HSRC/University of Pretoria/University of Limpopo research project on ‘Paradigms of Language Teaching’ that funded three Honours students and one MA student. Professor Leketi Makalela of the English language department secured funds from the National Research Foundation that was used for student support, student assistants, research operating costs and expenses. In spite of the current low research output, the Faculty of Humanities has many major research focus areas that are ripe
for exploitation. These include HIV/Aids communication, literacy, constructivist learning environments, school violence, educational policy, mathematics and science in a classroom, assessment methods in education, democracy and education, migration trauma, gerontology, indigenous medicine heritage issues, oral history, and general social policy issues. One important area of research being conducted in the faculty relates to the effectiveness or otherwise of using both English and African languages as the media of instruction in the schooling system. The research will shed light on whether South Africa should continue having English as a medium of instruction at the expense of other languages such as indigenous African languages. Research development and capacitybuilding among both staff and postgraduate students remains a high priority for the Faculty of Humanities. But it needs to be stressed that external funding is crucial as it enables academics to conduct reliable and valid research. With adequate funding, it becomes easier for researchers to travel long distances in order to conduct credible interviews, to buy the required latest equipment and reading material. As important, funding provides scholarships for students who otherwise could not dream of furthering their studies. Such students end up becoming useful members of society.
46 The Faculty Reports MANAGEMENT & LAW
Statistical details The Faculty of Management and Law comprises four schools: the School of Economics and Management on the Turfloop campus; the School of Accountancy on the Turfloop campus; the School of Law on the Turfloop campus; and the Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership situated at Edupark in Polokwane. The various faculty schools comprise the following departments: • The School of Accountancy has two departments: Accounting and Auditing • The School of Economics and Management has four departments: Economics; Business Management; Public Administration; and Development Studies. • The School of Law has five departments: Criminal Law and Procedure; Mercantile and Labour Law; Private Law; Public Law; Legal Pluralism and Jurisprudence and a Legal Aid Clinic. • The Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership has three academic programmes: the Masters of Business Administration (MBA); the Masters of Public Administration (MPA); and the Masters of Development (MDEV). The Development Facilitation and Training Institute (DevFTI) is also housed in the graduate school. The size and effectiveness of the various faculty schools is indicated by student and staff numbers in 2010, as well as by the number of successful graduates from the same year (but actually graduating in 2011). The tables below summarise this information: Students and graduates: School Accountancy
% of Students graduating
Economics & Management
Graduate School of Leadership Faculty Total Staff and qualifications: School
% with Masters +
Economics & Management
Graduate School of Leadership
* Includes part-time staff
48 The Faculty Reports MANAGEMENT & LAW Comments from the Acting Executive Dean – William Tladi William Tladi attended the University of Fort Hare where he graduated with B.Com and B. Com Honours degrees in the early 1970s. He joined the University of the North (now Limpopo) in 1974, lecturing in industrial psychology, marketing management, personnel management and labour relations. He has diplomas in personnel management (from Fort Hare), in labour relations (from Unisa), and in marketing management (from Tufts University in the USA). He was the acting director of the School of Economics and Management throughout 2010, before being called upon to act as the executive dean of the Faculty. Tladi has specialised in consumer behaviour, human resources management, and employment relations.
DURING 2010, THE Faculty of Management and Law was successful in executing its core mandate, despite the challenge posed by increasing student numbers without a corresponding increase in the academic staff complement. With a staff/student ratio of 1:59 (80 staff and 4 752 students), the Faculty had one of the highest staff/ student ratios in the university. In spite of this, a great deal was achieved during the year under review. Perhaps the most impressive achievement was the establishment, on 1 January 2010, of the new School of Accountancy, which, in line with the new academic structure set out for the university as a whole, had evolved from the old Department of Accounting and Auditing in the School of Economics and Management.
which brings together the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and the universities of Johannesburg and Limpopo. The two main objectives of the Thuthuka Project initiative are: • To build capacity at the University of Limpopo towards achieving SAICA accreditation for its Bachelor of Accounting Science (BCompt) programme • To identify and nurture talent from the rural areas of Limpopo and to provide these students with access to quality education and an opportunity to qualify as chartered accountants.
The School of Accountancy, under the directorship of Professor Cosmas Ambe, has contributed significantly towards the national transformation agenda of urgently increasing the number of black chartered accountants in South Africa. There were more than 1 300 accountancy students registered in 2010, which made the new school the largest academic unit in the entire university.
The flagship Thuthuka Project has faced a number of challenges since its inception. The move towards SAICA accreditation was slow for the first six years of the programme, but new energy was brought to the situation in 2010 when the erstwhile department was upgraded to a School. Real energy was expended to mobilise resources at the university, and to recruit appropriately qualified lecturers – including the boosting of the number of chartered accountants in the team. As a result, the permanent staff complement increased from 15 to 25, of which 21 are academic staff.
The transformation agenda is part of the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition and the broader objectives of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa. The agenda is given practical expression through the Thuthuka Project, initiated in 2004,
The University of Johannesburg has actively partnered with the University of Limpopo since the start of the Thuthuka Project. This has allowed direct access for BCompt graduates from Turfloop to the University of Johannesburg’s Certificate for Theory in
Accounting (CTA) programme. But this route for black chartered accountants from Limpopo province is soon to be superseded by a more direct and localised pathway. Throughout 2010, regular meetings were held with SAICA to establish the detailed accreditation requirements for the Turfloop School of Accountancy, and then to develop a plan of action to ensure that accreditation targets were met. A lot of encouraging progress has been made, and I am confident that 2011 will see our own School of Accountancy being fully accredited by SAICA. The school also commissioned a programme review for its BCompt degree which resulted in a change of name to Bachelor of Accounting Science (DaccSc). The revised qualification will be implemented from January 2011. In the School of Economics and Management, eight students (two each from each cohort from First year to Honours) have been awarded Economic Research Southern Africa prizes for the 2010 academic year. The best student received R1 000 plus a certificate, while the others received R800 each. The School of Law hosted an open day, a mock trial, a Law Week conference, a seminar on the LLB qualification, as well as several research workshops and seminars.
ship (the university’s business school) made a profit of over R440 000 through its short learning programmes conducted in the areas of executive management, senior management, and management development. The programmes were offered both in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. The Development Facilitation and Training Institute (DevFTI), also based at Edupark, undertook continuing research into how communities are coping with their changing environments. One project, which is part of the comprehensive partnership between the University of Limpopo and universities in Belgium, examined the challenge of ‘energising competent communities and improving wellness in the context of global change'. The other, as part of a probe by the Department of Science and Technology and working in tandem with three other rural-based universities – Fort Hare, Venda and Zululand – deals with mapping the impacts of community engagement efforts from universities. DevFti’s head, Dr Chris Burman, described this important project as follows: ‘what are the dynamics that attend the flow of knowledge from a source to recipient communities; and what impact does this flow have on communities’ ability to cope with constant change?’ I would like to thank all faculty staff for their support during a time of leadership uncertainty that has thrust me into my present acting position.
On the Edupark campus in Polokwane, the Turfloop Graduate School of Leader-
THE NEW MEDICAL TRAINING PLATFORM IN POLOKWANE The mooted academic medical centre would be only the first step, however. The ultimate objective was eventually to establish a full stand-alone medical school campus in the province. With this in mind, the two provincial hospitals in greater Polokwane were gradually upgraded and linked to form the Pietersburg/Mankweng Hospital complex, which was soon accredited for undergraduate and postgraduate medical training by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
IT’S BEEN ON the cards for some time – since the middle 1990s, in fact – this idea of a medical school for South Africa’s most northerly province. Long before the merger between the old University of the North and Medunsa occurred on 1 January 2005, the idea had been to develop an academic medical centre in Polokwane for undergraduate training, primarily for medical students from Medunsa. In other words, students would be given wider hands-on experience during their training, while Limpopo province would enjoy the obvious health care benefits that tertiary training facilities inevitably bring.
But difficulties arose when the merger occurred and the new University of Limpopo was established. The stated (original) aim of the merger was eventually to relocate Medunsa to Polokwane, a prospect that caused serious uncertainty among hundreds of medical academics at Medunsa. As the essentially unrealistic relocation proposal faded, the University of Limpopo, with enthusiastic support from the provincial authorities, began to explore the prospects of establishing a second medical training platform at Polokwane, while at the same time strengthening existing facilities at Medunsa. Although strictly speaking outside the ambit of this 2010 annual report, it is important to note that the notion of two medical training platforms was powerfully reinforced when the University of Limpopo de-merger was announced in May 2011. Medunsa will be expanded as a stand-alone medical university; while at the same time the expansion of the tertiary facilities in Polokwane into a full Medical School is set to become a reality.
Even while these facilities are being built, first year medical students will enrol on the Turfloop-based University of Limpopo to begin their training. The initial intake of 50 such students is scheduled for the beginning of 2012. Construction on the new tertiary hospital and medical school is expected to commence during the second half of 2011. The strategic objectives underlying the new medical training platform in Limpopo can be summarised as follows: • The first is to address the shortage of medical practitioners in Limpopo, given that this province has the lowest doctor/population ratio in South Africa. Compare the Limpopo figure of 1,8 doctors per 10 000 population with, for example, the 14,7 doctors per 10 000 population in the Western Cape. Another factor to be taken into account is that the Limpopo ratio has worsened over the past decade, while South Africa’s doctor graduation rates have remained static (at 1 200 a year) over the same period. Given the fact that the country’s public service is severely under-supplied, the new Polokwane training facility will make a considerable difference to the national picture. Does this mean that Polokwane-trained doctors will quickly be lured away into the cities? According to recently compiled evidence, this seems unlikely. The evidence shows that the vast majority of medical graduates from rural medical universities are most likely to choose a career in rural settings. • The second strategic objective is to improve health care delivery in Limpopo in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, which
states that ‘everyone has the right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care … and the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures within its available resources to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights’. • The third strategic objective is to meet national and provincial policy objectives with regard to the delivery of health services, including the 10-point plan of the national Department of Health, point 5 of which seeks to ensure ‘that all provinces develop and implement human resource plans that are consistent with service-delivery objectives’. This national objective also coincides with the Strategic Positioning Statement of the provincial Department of Health and Welfare in Limpopo.
greater medical specialisation as well as the installation of specialised equipment and clinical units, and will include purpose-designed spaces and facilities for bedside teaching. The estimated cost will be around R1,5-billion, and it should be fully operational by 2013.
To achieve these strategic objectives, a new 600-bed academic hospital is to be built in Polokwane, adjacent to the Edupark facilities on the eastern side of town. The new hospital will permit
For this reason, a medical school building is planned adjacent to the new tertiary hospital. Concept designs have already been drawn up that provide the following facilities: administrative offices
But to run a fully-fledged medical training platform, more than a topflight hospital, is required. It is estimated that the basic infrastructure needed to train medical students in the basic medical sciences is already present on the Turfloop campus, including a multi-site medical library, teaching venues and laboratories, student residences and amenities, and a medical skills laboratory housed in the Pietersburg Hospital. These facilities, however, could not satisfactorily be used on a permanent basis.
sufficient for a dean, deputy deans, faculty officer, student affairs officer, and around 20 heads of department; board rooms; lecture theatres; at least 20 tutorial rooms, basic medical science laboratories, as well as clinical skills laboratories. Ideally, then, student residences should be built adjacent to the hospital and medical school complex. The plan is to increase the student population by 50 per annum until an optimum 300 is registered each year to replace the 300 who qualify. All this represents a huge investment into the University of Limpopo, and into the province that this university serves. The eventual impact on South Africa as a whole will be immense: an addition of 25 percent onto the current rate of supply of doctors countrywide. And they’ll have been trained at an institution attuned to the rural realities of the southern African region.
52 DRIVING THE POLICY SOUTH AFRICA FACES a serious problem in its public health sector. The national population is increasing, and so is the incidence of many diseases. Against these realities must be placed the state of our public health services. There is an endemic shortage of human resources, not least of doctors, and our national healthcare spend is already well over the five percent recommended by the World Health Organisation. In fact, we’re sitting at 8,5 percent, but our outcomes are often poorer than in other African countries. What’s the fundamental problem?
Dr Aaron Motsoaledi was appointed the national Minister of Health for South Africa in May 2009. He obtained his MBChB degree from the King Edward VIII medical school in 1983. After 1994, he played a prominent role in the provincial government of Limpopo, serving as MEC for Agriculture, Transport, and twice for Education.
In a word, it’s the divide between public and private consumption of health care. Look at the facts. Seven million South Africans enjoy medical aid support and together they consume 60 percent of the money we spend on health care. The remaining 42 million South Africans make do with the 40 percent of the money left over. This rich/poor dichotomy has some extraordinary manifestations. For example, no fewer than 26 specialist gynaecologists operate out of a single Gauteng private hospital: that’s more than twice the number of gynaecologists servicing the entire province of Limpopo. Of course, these facts represent a powerful argument for our mooted National Health Insurance scheme. More to the point here, where we are considering major financial injections into public health training and facilities, it is essential that the current imbalances between rich and poor – in other words, between private and public – be addressed. Our policy for doing so is relatively easy to understand. We need to close the gap
between the facilities available. We need to spend money to create tertiary hospitals as good as anything available in the private sector. We need to draw resources from the private sector by undercutting private sector fees and offering care that is as good or better. To achieve this, we need to simplify the control of these flagship hospitals, eight of which already exist, each attached to one of the eight medical training platforms in the country. At the moment, the administrative systems are cumbersome, with the education side of medical training being controlled by the national Department of Higher Education and Training, and the health care side being run, and partly funded, by the relevant provincial health authorities. Delays and conflicts of interest are often the result of this arrangement. My plan is to place all these important national assets under direct national control, but with powerful advisory inputs from the provinces. Only in this way can medical training be brought into direct line with national and provincial needs in terms both of the training of medical professionals and the provision of top-class and affordable services across a broader profile of South Africans. The new tertiary hospital and medical school planned for Polokwane, which will be South Africa’s ninth such combined facility, will benefit directly from these new arrangements. The province of Limpopo, as well as the university, have a unique opportunity to align their medical training platform – and the health care it provides – with the finest in the country.
Driving the project A GREAT DEAL of the groundwork necessary to launch a fully-fledged medical training platform in Polokwane had been completed before the de-merger of the University of Limpopo into its two original institutions was announced in May 2011. Indeed, as the vicissitudes of the merger have unfolded and the ideas surrounding a medical school for Limpopo province have evolved, the need for just such a facility, and particularly for it to be sited in the country’s most northerly province, has remained constant.
Professor Dan Ncayiyana, wellknown editor of the prestigious South African Medical Journal, was appointed in 2010 as a consultant to guide the University of Limpopo in matters relating to the establishment of a new medical training platform in Polokwane. He began his medical studies at King Edward VIII hospital in Durban. After being arrested as a student and jailed for political activities, he left the country and completed his training in Holland and his specialisation in America. He has wide experience of medical training institutions in Africa.
My personal involvement began about six or seven years ago, and particularly in a workshop held in 2007. The objectives were set, and the preparatory groundwork mapped out. We’re now ready. We’ll begin with 50 medical students on the Turfloop campus at the beginning of 2012. We’ll end up with an annual output of 300 doctors a year, contributing more than 20% of South Africa’s total output. According to recent research, a great many of the doctors we train will remain in the province, strengthening health care services in a region in serious need of such strengthening. The process of incremental growth over six or seven years makes sense when the nascent medical school is placed in the context of the facilities that must be built to accommodate it. It will also allow time for solid foundations – not least in the recruitment of suitable expert staff – to be established for the twenty or more specialist departments planned for the medical school. Accreditation with the Health Professions Council of South Africa will be simplified somewhat now that
Medunsa has been uncoupled from the University of Limpopo. But the two institutions will remain intertwined on the medical training front for some time to come, and there will be numerous opportunities for cooperation. In considering the various moves towards the establishment of the new medical training platform, one is struck by the massive opportunities that are being presented to the Turfloop-based University of Limpopo. Its proximity to our Southern African Development Community (SADC) neighbours, and its own deeply rural setting, place it in a unique position to influence regional and continental thinking on ruralspecific health challenges. I am thinking in particular of the general rise of diseases of lifestyle among rural populations, and also the genetic work already done at Turfloop on rural-based birth defects and peculiarities. The latter field offers tremendous scope for research; and the memorandum of understanding signed recently with the prestigious J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego (world leaders in human genomic research) provides an inkling of what kind of future we should be working for at Turfloop and at the new medical facilities in Polokwane. I am honoured to be a part of the team that is striving for this future.
54 RESEARCH ROUNDUP Professor RACHMOND Howard Professor Rachmond Howard was born in 1965 and grew up in the small town of Piet Retief in Mpumalanga. After attending schools in Middelburg and Pretoria, he completed his undergraduate and masters degrees at the universities of Cape Town and Western Cape respectively. He studied for his doctorate in biochemistry and applied molecular biology at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, and he joined the staff of the University of the North (now Limpopo) in 1992. He was appointed to his present position – the Director of Research Development and Administration – late in 2009.
I WOULD LIKE to begin this report for the 2010 calendar year by outlining the reorganisation and strengthening of the Research Office, which has been one of the key components in the University of Limpopo’s new drive towards improved research activity across both main campuses. We began by appointing a Deputy Director of Research to head up a permanent Research Office on the Medunsa campus. This was followed by four new positions that were created to give shape to our core intention of driving, supporting and promoting research and innovation at the university. The positions and their functions are: • A senior administrative officer, Ronel Hattingh, who concentrates on the university’s relationship with the National Research Foundation (NRF), which is by far the largest single source of research funding that flows into both main campuses of the university each year. This function oversees all bursaries and loans, as well as applications for funding, funding claims, and on-campus NRF events. • A research co-ordinator, Ramakgolo Lekalakala, whose task is to manage and maintain our research information systems, our electronic linkages with NRF national databases, and those bodies and authorities dealing with accredited subsidised research. The research co-ordinator also looks after the research web pages on the official University of Limpopo website, and the university’s database of research equipment. • A university statistician, Victor Netshidzivhani, provides expert
advice to university researchers on questionnaire design and coding, data capturing, and the interpretation of statistical results arising from the data. The statistician conducts regular training workshops on statistics for researchers; and earns varying amounts of third stream income for the university through consultation services offered on the open market. • A research developer, Dr Jesika Singh, whose brief is to encourage and assist researchers and postgraduate students to increase the university’s output of high-quality research. This is done by general research assistance, helping with applications for funding, finding likely funding sources, writing proposals, publishing research articles, and, via workshops and seminars, generally improving research skills. All the above positions were filled in 2010 (or shortly thereafter); and the new-look research office has increased in capacity accordingly. Our role is, among other things, to provide strategic leadership for promoting and advancing research and innovation at the university. We believe this is already beginning to happen, and we are proud to be a part of the definite surge in research activity that took place in the year under review. Here is a selection of facts that illustrate the surge. To begin with, the total amount of money made available for research on both campuses increased dramatically between 2009 and 2010. In fact, it rocketed from R11,9-million to R85,4million. Within these totals certain details need to be pointed out. In 2009,
the university had just emerged from a period of intense scrutiny occasioned by the Institutional Operating Plan (IOP). The priority had been to stabilise the institution financially, one significant result of which was that the amount spent on research from the internal budget was a mere R814 000. For 2010, once the results of the IOP process had been blended into the university’s strategic plan, the figure rose to nearly R35-million, to be spent largely on research development in the form of research capacity building, equipment and training. In short, the successful implementation of the IOP had earned us the right to own our own strategy, of which focused research that furthered our vision and mission was a high priority. Other factors have also influenced the dramatic jump in research funding between 2009 and 2010. The NRF remains a major external funder of our research, and the increase in funding from that source, from R6,8-million to over R20-million must be seen as a mark of confidence in our ability and potential to do meaningful research. Funding from the Medical Research Council followed this encouraging trend, rising from just under R300 000 to R5-million. Other sources of research funding, including foreign donors, also increased from R636 000 to somewhat over R2,5million. But have these encouraging financial trends yielded any tangible results? The answer does appear to be an emphatic affirmative. The 2009 research output for the University of Limpopo amounted to 109 articles in accredited journals, a total which translated into 73,77 units as calculated by the national Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
This was our lowest level of research activity since 2005, when the university earned 105,95 units. Since then, the decline has been steady. Although our efforts in 2010, expressed in DHET units, will not be known until November 2011, we do know that our research output leapt from 109 (as indicated above) to 181 journal articles, conference proceedings, chapters in books, and books, an increase of nearly 70 percent. I am confident that this will translate into an increase in actual DHET units for the first time in five years. Not unexpectedly, these improvements in research financing and research outputs are matched by a significant increase in the numbers of our students who are moving from undergraduate to postgraduate studies. It is important that this report now record a few of the research highlights that occurred during the year under review. The university hosted its Annual Research Excellence Awards on 8 November 2010. The guest speaker was the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Minister Derek Hanekom, and the following University of Limpopo academics received awards. • Professor Supa Pengpid from the School of Public Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences was awarded overall best researcher in the category Established Researcher. • Professor S.D. Mathebula from the School of Health Care Sciences in the Faculty of Health Sciences was awarded overall best researcher in the category Upcoming Researcher. • The award for the researcher who generated most research income in
2009 went to Dr Lesilane Mampuru from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences in the Faculty of Science and Agriculture. It is noteworthy that two of the three awards have been won by researchers from the Faculty of Health Sciences. According to the Bibliometric Profile of Research conducted on the University of Limpopo*, Health Sciences has been increasing its share of research activity at the university. This now amounts to 44 percent of the university’s total output, a prominence that is obviously the result of the merger with Medunsa. This dominance by Health Sciences will doubtless act as an added incentive for the faculties based at Turfloop. An example of high achievement for the School of Physics and Mineral Sciences must be Dr Rapela Maphanga, a senior researcher in the Materials Modelling Centre. Dr Maphanga won the 2009-2010 T.W. Kambule Award for a ‘distinguished young black female researcher over the past two to five years’ at the prestigious National Science and Technology Forum Awards Ceremony held on 4 May 2010 at the Emperor’s Palace in Gauteng. The Turfloop-based School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences features prominently in a consortium consisting of the University of Limpopo, the universities of Fort Hare and Venda, and the International Centre for Developmentoriented Research in Agriculture, which funds the consortium. The aim of the funding is to strengthen the capacity of the three universities to deliver skilled graduates via integrated experiential learning, and associated action research initiatives with rural communities, with particular attention to skills and gender constraints.
During 2010, our university entered into a research partnership with a consortium of European universities under the Erasmus Mundus Exchange Programme. The six universities involved are: Radboud University at Nijmegen in the Netherlands; the universities of Duisburg-Essen and Munster in Germany; Jagiellonian University at Krakow in Poland; the University of Poitiers in France; and the University of Siena in Italy. The partnership provides real opportunities to advance research capacity at the University of Limpopo through student and academic exchanges. Masters students have the opportunity to study abroad for a period of six to 22 months, doctoral students for a period of six to 34 months, while staff member exchanges will be for periods of one to three months. Closer to home, the university’s Research Office is forging valuable linkages with the Limpopo provincial government. The present writer, Professor Rachmond Howard, was appointed to the Premier’s Advisory Council, and is serving as chairman of the Technical Working Group on ICT and the Knowledge Economy Sector. Howard is also chairman of the Limpopo Research Forum, in which capacity he was instrumental in 2010 in assisting the provincial government to draft a range of research policies and procedures, including the establishment of the proposed Limpopo Research Observatory, which would draw together both universities in the province (Limpopo and Venda), and the provincial government, to conduct research relevant to the needs of the province. Some significant improvements were made during 2010 to various research facilities at our university:
* This Bibliometric Profile was commissioned in 2010 as part of the External Audit conducted on the University of Limpopo by the Higher Education Quality Committee. The profile was produced by the Centre for Research on Science and Technology (CREST) situated at Stellenbosch University.
• Through the efforts of Dr Chantal Baker of the Electron Microscope Unit and Professor Jeffery Mphahlele of the Department of Medical Microbiology, the university received from the NRF’s Research Infrastructure Support Programme a R5.56-million boost for state-of-the-art electron microscope equipment. • The national Department of Science and Technology identified the University of Limpopo as one of five rural-based universities to host a Regional Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Centre. The University of Limpopo is the first university to be awarded R5-million to establish the centre since it has already started with the establishment of a high-tech Centre for Spatial Analysis and Modelling with internal seed funding of R2-million. These two centres will be merged, and the focus will be to train postgraduate students and provincial government officials on research related to global climate change and its impact on vulnerable communities and natural resources in
the region. High-tech tools will be used to make predictions and to assist government with planning and intervention strategies. This centre, which will have wide and lasting uses, forms part of the Flemish Inter Universities Council – University Development Co-operation (VLIR-UOS) programme that links our university with universities in Belgium. To conclude this report, I would like to return to our efforts to develop a research ethos at the University of Limpopo. Readers will recall that the year 2010 saw the appointment of a dedicated Research Developer. Dr Jesika Singh started in the Research Office in August. Working with Ronel Hattingh, a great deal was accomplished in what remained of the year under review. No fewer than eight visits (from organisations like the NRF) and workshops for researchers (for example, a pre-doctoral workshop sponsored by Programme Support for Pro-poor Policy Development) occurred before the end
of the year. The research development activities for 2011 will greatly surpass this opening salvo. All the activities and gains described in this report augur well for the future of research on both our main campuses. There is undoubtedly a new breath of enthusiasm for research blowing through the institution, which will have a profound effect on the future of the university as a whole. My sincere thanks to the staff at the Research Office (both at Turfloop and on the Medunsa campus), and my appreciation for the high degree of confidence placed in us by the executive management of the university.
The Finances: REPORT OF THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Raymond Olander Raymond Olander completed a Bachelors degree in accounting science through Unisa while doing his articles with an East London firm of chartered accountants. There followed a fascinating and highly successful career, including senior positions in the Ciskei People’s Development Bank and the equally successful ownership of a company managing the Bophuthatswana Housing Corporation and value added taxation system. He returned in 1996 to the Eastern Cape as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Finance to oversee the financial turnaround of the University of Fort Hare, a task he achieved with distinction. After a short spell in America, he was appointed Chief Financial Officer at the University of Limpopo in July 2007.
THE UNIVERSITY OF Limpopo began 2010 with a positive cash flow, a trend that was maintained throughout the year. This healthy situation was greatly assisted by additional subsidy amounts generated by improvements to graduate throughput (see details below), a policy of vigorous student fee collection, as well as special earmarked funding. Strict budgeting control was enforced and the various budgeting targets were achieved. The result of these trends and measures is that the university is now in a stable and healthy financial position. This is reflected in the unqualified audit report received for the year under review – the first unqualified report received since the establishment of the merged University of Limpopo in 2005. The increasing financial efficiencies of the institution can be illustrated by the total throughput of monies, which for the first time topped R1-billion (representing an income increase of 19 percent on recurrent items). Of that amount, slightly more than half (R605-million) was received as subsidy income, while student fees (up by 18 percent over the previous year) amounted to R361-million. Private grants and gifts rose from R30-million in 2009 to nearly R46-million; revenue from contracts rose by R6-million to R21-million; and the sale of goods and specialist services grossed R40-million, an increase of R8-million over the 2009 figure. Two important achievements characterised our performance in 2010. The first related to the reconciliation of the university’s moveable assets (immovable assets had been tackled in 2009) and the development of an accurate and reliable moveable assets register. Nearly R1-million was spent on the exercise, and after exhaustive efforts to reconcile expenditure
to historical general ledger amounts, firm and permanent control of the university’s moveable assets was established. The second important achievement was in the field of graduate throughput. Making use of special grants from the Department of Higher Education and Training (totalling R20-million), the faculties of Science and Agriculture at Turfloop and of Health Sciences at Medunsa embarked on IGT (improving graduate throughput) programmes during the year under review. In the Faculty of Science and Agriculture, emphasis was placed on First year modules in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences that had particularly low pass rates. At Medunsa, the programmes focussed on the identification of and special attention for vulnerable students in the extended degree programmes (EDPs) for medical students. The programmes consisted of staff and student development elements, the training and deployment of mentors, as well as the acquisition of teaching aids and equipment. These programmes provided positive results. In the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, results in the maths and statistics modules improved markedly, although other module results showed little change, or even decreased. In the Health Sciences, 53 out of 54 EDP students passed at the end of 2010. If these successes can translate into marked improvements in student throughput, significant additions to our subsidy amount will continue to be forthcoming. Important additions to the university’s infrastructure on both main campuses have been completed, or were ongoing, in 2010. The total amount being spent on the various projects is around R250million.
The most important projects on the Turfloop campus are:
The most important projects on the Medunsa campus are:
• Multipurpose Centre, R45-million, of which R20-million has been donated by Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited, the balance coming from the Department of Higher Education and Training. The main 3 000-seat auditorium will cater for the following sports at ground level: badminton, tennis, wrestling, boxing, karate, judo, trampoline, basketball and table tennis. First and second floor facilities will include offices, storerooms, toilets and change rooms, as well as space for darts, chess and snooker. An important use for the centre will be graduation ceremonies. The size of the centre will enable the university to reduce the number of ceremonies held each year. The multipurpose centre will be completed during 2011. • A new laboratory building, R31-million, comprising two floors of laboratory space housing 200 laboratory stations on each floor, and including ablution facilities, strong-rooms and storerooms, was completed early in 2011. • Refurbish hostel accommodation, R44-million, to generally upgrade accommodation, including the installation of heat pumps which provides the entire Turfloop campus with adequate supplies of hot water. All work was completed during the year under review. • Refurbish 26 existing lecture halls, R20-million, including the installation of modern teaching aids and new floor tiles. Projected completion date: mid 2011.
• Skills laboratory, R45-million, a state-ofthe-art facility, phase 1 of which was completed late in 2009 and was commissioned in January 2010. All student groups studying the ‘practice of medicine’ year modules make extensive use of the facility. Phase 2 of the project, which entails the development of offices in the basement of the newly built structure, will be completed at the end of August 2011. • Natural Science Building, R27,6-million, will also house the new e-learning centre. In addition, the money is being spent on refurbishing two chemistry laboratories and three existing lecture halls. • Dental Faculty building, R6-million. The building was altered to meet with certain occupational health requirements. At the same time, improvements were made to existing offices, ablution facilities, lighting and the waterproofing of the roof. All work was completed during 2010. • Student residences, R17-million, is being spent on upgrading existing residential accommodation for students. In spite of contractual problems and consequent delays, the work was completed in mid 2010. • Basic Medical Science building, R9-million, has been upgraded to comply with occupational health requirements. At the same time offices and ablution facilities of the top three floors have been upgraded. Finally, I wish to record my appreciation to all those who have worked with diligence and commitment to sustain the real financial security that we are building for the University of Limpopo.
The Finances: FINANCIAL SPREADSHEETS
University of Limpopo Consolidated Annual Financial Statements of the year ended 31 December 2010
Consolidated Statement of Financial Position Note(s)
2010 R '000
2009 R '000
Assets Non-Current Assets Property, plant and equipment
2 184 376
2 022 553
2 235 735
2 068 513
Current Assets Inventories
Trade and other receivables
Cash and cash equivalents
2 912 481
2 691 061
Investment revaluation reserve
Restricted use funds
Unrestricted use funds
1 883 445
1 730 200
1 998 515
1 808 365
Total Assets Funds and liabilities Funds and reserves
Asset revaluation reserve
Liabilities Non-Current Liabilities Interest bearing borrowings
Deferred income Retirement benefit obligation
Current Liabilities Trade and other payables Current portion of borrowings Total Liabilities Total Equity and Liabilities
2 912 481
2 691 061
University of Limpopo Consolidated Annual Financial Statements of the year ended 31 December 2010
Consolidated Income Statement Council controlled Note(s) Recurrent items
Specifically funded activities R '000
1 025 899
1 109 496
State appropriations, subsidies and grants
Tuition and other fee income
Income from contracts For research For other activities Sales of goods and services Private gifts and grants
1 075 094
1 012 755
1 099 815
Profit on disposal of investments Fair value adjustments
Subtotal Interest and dividends
Expenses Personnel costs
Post retirement benefits
1 010 045
1 097 105
Other current operating expenses Depreciation, amortisation and impairments Subtotal Finance costs
Loss on disposal of investments
Profit on disposal of property plant and equipment Other non-current income
Expenditure Other non-current expenditure Net surplus/ (Deficit)
The finances: REPORT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LIMPOPO TRUST JAAP Metz and CARINA Marais
THE UNIVERSITY OF Limpopo Trust was founded in 1989 as the Medunsa Trust and is an autonomous entity, but ultimately responsible to the University Council, governed by an independent board of trustees in terms of the provisions of a registered trust deed. It is also a registered public benefit organisation. Since its inception it has contributed in excess of R270-million to the university. Since 1991 the Trust has been managed on an out-sourced basis by The Africa Consulting Group and the managing director of the company, Jaap Metz, has been the director of the Trust ever since. He is assisted by the deputy director, Carina Marais, who has also been involved with the Trust since 1991. Between them they have more than 66 years experience in marketing, public relations, fund-raising, project management and financial management. Jaap Metz was previously, inter alia, head of fundraising at the University of Pretoria and Director of the Rand Afrikaans University Foundation. The bankers of the Trust are First National Bank, and the external auditors are KPMG Inc. The investment portfolio is managed by RMB Private Bank.
The Board of Trustees of the Trust as at 31 December 2010 consisted of the following members: • Mr Grant Dunnington # – Chairman Group Managing Director, SBV Services (Pty) Ltd • Professor Denis Goldberg Retired Consultant • Mr Malose Kekana Business executive • Hon Madam Justice Monica Leeuw Judge President, North West High Court • Mr Shad Mapetla – Deputy Chairman Chief Executive Officer, Biotech Laboratories (Pty) Ltd • Professor Letticia Moja #* Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Medunsa Campus, University of Limpopo • Professor Mahlo Mokgalong #* Vice-Chancellor and Principal: University of Limpopo • Dr Gwen Ramokgopa Deputy Minister of Health • Professor Mbudzeni Sibara#* Deputy Vice-Chancellor: University of Limpopo • Dr Derek Winstanly Vice-President: Quintiles Transnational, USA # Member of the University of Limpopo Council * Ex officio members as per the provisions of the Trust Deed
The business model used by the Trust is rather unique in the South African higher education environment. It is completely self-funding and receives no financial support from the university, but relies on investment income and cash flow management to pay its own way. Its services are free to the university community and it does not levy donor funds. Over the last seven or so the Trust has in most years been able to transfer more funds for bursaries, research, community projects and other activities to the university than its net income and this has put some strain on the investment income and the balance sheet. The current worldwide economic turmoil is still severely affecting donor and investment income and the finances of the Trust were feeling the pain. Despite the challenging economic environment the Trust was able to increase donor income from R7-million in 2009 to R9,6-million in 2010. Total income, including investment income, amounted to R11,2-million and transfers to the University amounted to R9,3million. At the end of the 2010 financial year the net current assets of the Trust amounted to R16,1-million. Total expenditure was R1,7-million, an increase of only 6 percent over the previous year. The figures for 2010 are un-audited.
The total value of the investment portfolio and the current account of the Trust as per 31 December 2010 amounted to R16,1-million, distributed almost equally between equities and interest-bearing investments. Major donors during 2010 included VLIR-UOS (Belgium) â€“ channeled via the University of Antwerp; Fredskorpset (Norway) â€“ channelled via the Universities of Bergen and Oslo; PATH (USA); Nedbank, Medi-Clinic; Yakani Investments; Loewenstein Trust and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The pattern over the past several years has been that overseas grants constitute about 60 percent of total donor income. New initiatives, both locally and internationally, are continuously being explored, but this is hampered by a shortage of suitable university programmes that will attract donor funding. The challenging economic conditions have necessitated donor organisations to refocus their priorities and are consequently much more demanding in their requirements and with a focus on mutual advantage rather than just channelling funds to one party. The solid reputation of the Trust in the donor community and its impeccable record of sound management remains a major selling point and will ensure its future role in the advancement and development of the university.
The finances: REPORT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LIMPOPO STUDENT TRUST FUND Judge LUCY Mailula Judge Lucy Mailula became the second chairperson of the board of the Student Trust Fund in 2000, when she succeeded Professor Sam Mokgokong, the founding chairperson. She is also serving as the chairperson of the University of Limpopo Council. See her report in that capacity on page 6.
THE UNIVERSITY OF Limpopo Student Trust Fund recognises the government’s intention to ensure that no child will be turned away from tertiary education because of lack of funds; but at the same time, the government cannot cater financially for everyone. organisations such as the Student Trust Fund are essential for filling in the gap and enabling youngsters from disadvantaged background to be able to pursue their studies. The Student Trust Fund was initiated by the Students Representative Council (SRC) of 1995 to 1996 with Professor Sam Mokgokong, then acting head of Medunsa’s Department of Neurosurgery, as the first chairperson of the Trust’s board. Over the years, the Fund has contributed significantly to assisting students with ability but with no resources to fulfil their potential by providing bursaries for studies in various fields. Since its inception, the Trust has allocated close on 400 bursaries to deserving students of the university. The Student Trust Fund does, however, face continuous challenges with fundraising. In 2010 the inaugural fundraising University of Limpopo Student Trust Fund Golf Day was held at the Polokwane Golf Club in August. The objective was to bring in much needed funds for the Trust, as well as raising awareness of the Trust Fund’s activities and achievements with a view to future involvement and contributions. Alumni and friends of the Trust Fund were the target market for the event. Unfortunately, the Golf Day brought in about 60 percent of what we anticipated would be raised, but we do believe that it increased awareness of the Trust Fund,
and how it actively assists needy youngsters who might otherwise not have the opportunity to study in a tertiary institution, as well as the Fund’s need for support. In 2010, the Fund assisted about 40 students with university fees, representing an investment of R400 000. Further fundraising activities saw us striving to nurture and build relationships with people who have sponsored us over the years. We also increased our efforts to create interest in the corporate environment, particularly among our alumni. We see great value in networking with alumni who have a vested interest in advancing the interests of the university, because in that way, they are also advancing their own interests. They are ensuring that their degrees are a worthwhile investment in their lives. We continuously attempt to reach the right people who would be sympathetic to our cause, as well as in a position to support us, trying to work within the companies where our alumni are influential. We believe this is an area where alumni can get involved, in their own capacity or in their corporate capacities. Enabling a student to be educated is a great achievement in itself. The highlight on the Trust Fund’s 2010 calendar was the Annual Onkgopotse Tiro Excellence Awards ceremony held at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, in November, where individuals were honoured for their valued services and contributions to society and to their alma mater. The criteria for these awards are that the nominee should be an alumnus of the university, he or she
must have made a substantial contribution to the community and society, must have demonstrated leadership qualities, and be a role model. Awards can be given in education, health and science, agriculture, law, arts, culture and sport, as well as business categories. The two 2010 award winners were extremely worthy recipients. Gilbert Phalafala, Co-founder and Chairperson of Yakani Group, and Shirley Mabusela, Managing Member of Bafedile Consultancy, both of whom are alumni of the University of Limpopo were honoured – Phalafala received the Business Category award, and Mabusela the Community Service award. Three other individuals were also appreciated for their continuous financial contribution to the Trust Fund: Sarah Manthata, Senior Manager at the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in Pretoria, responsible for women, children and persons with disabilities; Dr Sello Rasello, who previously served in the SRC of both Turfloop and Medunsa and is now attached to Themba Hospital in Mpumalanga; and Mandla Seopela, former University of Limpopo SRC President and former national President of SASCO, Speechwriter in the Office of the Premier, Limpopo Province. The keynote speaker at the event was another alumnus of the university, Honourable Judge President Dunstin Mlambo, Labour and Labour Appeal Courts, South Africa. Also planned for 2010 was the Inagural Onkgopotse Tiro Memorial Lecture, as a commemorative and fundraising event.
It was postponed to fit in with university calendar activities in 2011. The Trust Fund is in dire need of increased support to enable an increased number of students from poor socio-economic backgrounds to be able to complete their degrees without anxiety about paying their fees. The Trust Fund depends entirely on goodwill. In identifying students to benefit from the Fund, our criteria include children from impoverished, generally rural, backgrounds. We also examine their respective performance records to ensure that beneficiaries are motivated, hard-working, and capable of doing well academically. We are also biased in favour of ‘scarce skills’ identified by government, such as bachelor of science, agricultural sciences, and various other fields. We need to be careful too, to strike a balance between male and female beneficiaries of the Trust funds. I must extend my appreciation to the 15 members of the board of Trustees of the Fund, who demonstrated their commitment to our efforts in the course of the year. We were also extremely grateful to the membership of the University Council for their support of the Trust Fund. Members of the Council divert the honorarium they receive for attending Council meetings into the Trust Fund. These and other generous gestures in terms of time and resources are appreciated by the Student Trust Fund, and we believe it will continue to bear fruit in years to come – in the lives of students who benefit, as well as the university and society in general.
Centres of Excellence AN UBIQUITOUS FLOWERING 16 centres of excellence TO SOME, THE concept of centres of excellence might suggest a few bright spots in a generally gloomy sea of mediocrity. This is certainly not the case at the University of Limpopo. The number of bright spots on both main campuses has now passed the critical-mass tipping point. The result is that the bright spots form a network of excellence by which the whole institution is drawn towards the concepts of ‘world class’ and ‘global competitiveness’ that are so forthrightly expressed in the institution’s vision and mission. But what do these concepts actually mean? And how is a centre of excellence differentiated from the general stream of university activities? The first part of any definition should take into account the core business of the university – teaching/learning, research, and community engagement – and should bring significant value to at least one component of this business. The second part should be measured by the level of enrichment that the centre of excellence adds to the university, whether in terms of extra opportunities for students and for research, or in partnerships with other universities, either in South Africa or abroad. The final part should directly address the quality and best practice issues surrounding the activities of the centre of excellence. The quality should be of the highest, and should include a definite determination to work as part of the university team, to enhance the institution’s general reputation, and particularly its relevance to its geographical and socio-economic positioning. The 16 centres of excellence briefly described in the pages that follow are examples of centres that fit this definition. They are reaching down into the core business of the university, and they are enhancing the standing of the university beyond the boundaries of its various campuses. The list presented here is by no means exhaustive. Nevertheless, it provides an indication of the depth and breadth of the ground covered by the centres of excellence thriving all over both main campuses of the University of Limpopo.
Turfloop Centre of Excellence MICROBREWER BREWERY PROJECT ProfESSOR EMIL Abotsi Emil Abotsi of the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology, the advantage is that the microbrewer can be used as a prototype bioreactor for training and research in brewing and other biotechnological processes, in particular: plant design and scale-up, process control and monitoring, sterility and quality control, the biochemistry of brewing, fermentation microbiology, and waste management. The conglomeration of stainless steel piping and vessels and electrical panels filled with switches and lights is definitely a valuable asset. And it’s being used to everyone’s advantage.
SINCE 2007 A beer making plant has been bubbling away in the Life Sciences Building on the Turfloop campus. The microbrewer plant was donated to the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology (in the School of Molecular and Life Sciences) by South African Breweries (SAB). The reciprocal advantages are obvious. For the donor, who runs a large commercial brewery in Polokwane, the prospect of nearby scientific support, not to mention a pool of well trained potential employees au fait with all aspects of brewing, must be worth the cost of the initial investment. For the university, says project leader Professor
In 2010, for example, lectures were delivered to senior industrial biotechnology students, as well as BSc Honours students in beer brewing, as well as hands-on training using the microbrewer brewery plant. In addition, five internship students were involved in preparing different styles of beer for the 2010 3rd Intervarsity Beer Brewing Competition that was held in Stellenbosch in August. Competing against seven other universities, the Turfloop team won the prize for the ‘best lager beer’. This was a considerable improvement over the 2009 achievement, when the University of Limpopo team of brewer interns won third prize in the ‘ale beer brewing’ category. The initial SAB investment was R50 000 for the basic plant, plus ongoing supplies of the raw materials (like barley and hops and sundry chemicals) needed to operate the plant. As well as this original support, SAB provided an additional R40 000 in 2009 for the
purchase of six Mettler Toledo pH meters for use in the microbrewer brewery on the Turfloop campus. So important has the microbrewer plant become in the teaching of microbiology and biotechnology, that a further request for equipment has been sent to SAB. As Abotsi states: ‘there’s a lot of interest among our students. However, we are limited by space and infrastructure to accommodate large classes.’ The construction of at least one new fermentation vessel (as requested), and the acquisition of stainless steel kegs for beer storage and conditioning, as well as a beer dispensing and carbonation system, will go some way to maximising the use of the individual plant. Meanwhile, an Honours student has been working with the SAB Laboratory Consultant, Ms. Jayshree Morar, from the Polokwane commercial brewery on the problem of beer flavour stability; and plans are afoot to use the microbrewer brewery for the research and development stages of commercialising certain indigenous knowledge system products that require similar processes to beer. Turfloop’s microbrewer brewery operates under the control of a management team comprising staff from the university and the Master Brewer from SAB Miller in Polokwane.
Turfloop Centre of Excellence UNIVERSITY SCIENCE CENTRE Annelize Potgieter Obviously, the centre also serves as an important tool to encourage talented school learners from South Africa’s most rural province into the university’s growing ranks of science and technology students. The manager of the centre, which operates under the umbrella of the Turfloop-based Faculty of Science and Agriculture, is Annelize Potgieter, assisted by Sandile Rikhotso who is the programme’s co-ordinator. The centre is also staffed by six postgraduate National Research Foundation (NRF) and National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) science interns, usually at Masters level, who work with the hundreds of school children who visit the centre each week. For the last four years the centre has also been awarded a volunteer from Japan who assists with exhibit building.
The University of Limpopo Science Centre, established in 2007, is a facility that offers an informal learning experience in all aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, through interactive exhibits and displays as well as interactive educational programmes. The basic mission of the centre is to stimulate the interest of school children into the excitements – and varied career opportunities – presented by the sciences and applied sciences. The centre therefore serves as a powerful introduction for young people from Limpopo’s frequently marginalised settings to the fascinating worlds of physics and chemistry and the life sciences, and all the technologies that have grown up around the pure sciences.
A glance at the list of activities undertaken by the Science Centre leaves no doubt of the importance the University of Limpopo places on science and technology education, as well as on the need to prepare communities within Limpopo province for the world of technology and the twenty-first century. Here are some examples of the programmes being run. The Science Learner Assisted Programme (SLAP) caters for schools from disadvantaged rural areas. Bookings can be made for learners to perform those experiments (in the Science Centre laboratories) necessary to improve their class marks and examination results. Schools are also welcome to make use of the extensive video library (housed in the centre) on mathematics and the sciences. On average, the staff in the centre deals with one or two school visits each working day.
Regular Outreach Activities, making use of the centre’s mobile unit, include visits to schools with few or no science teaching facilities, and taking the popular ‘Science in the Mall’ exhibits to shopping centres around the province. At these exhibits visitors can interact freely with the scientific exhibits and ‘science fun’ demonstrations. Electricity workshops. The Science Centre has received a donation of electricity kits to host special workshops for primary school learners. It is expected that this project will be implemented in 2011. The centre also offers Educator Development Workshops to improve the professional qualifications of schoolteachers by training them in the following subjects: mathematics, physical science, biology, and class and laboratory management. Teachers from ninety of the poorest performing high schools in the province have so far visited the Turfloop-based Science Centre. In addition, the Science Centre hosts several important annual events: most notably the National Science Week, Antarctica Month and Astronomy Month, as well as the Nanotechnology and Biotechnology Programmes. The centre has also participated in the Eding Science Festival since 2009. Indeed, it is hoped that the Turfloop Science Centre will host this important national event in 2012. Meanwhile, in 2011, the centre will move to a brand new home where around R100-million is being invested in this important science and technology outreach facility.
Turfloop Centre of Excellence LIMPOPO AGRO-FOOD TECHNOLOGY STATION Dr Maboko Mphosi Dr Maboko Mphosi, managing director of LATS, explains further: ‘The hard reality is that 65 percent of horticultural crops in South Africa is from Limpopo Province and more than 70 percent of fresh produce grown in this country is wasted'. This impacts severely on rural areas where much of the produce originates. Obviously, the University of Limpopo was chosen to house one of these specialised centres because the university is rural-focussed and situated in a deeply rural province.
THE LIMPOPO AGRO-FOOD Technology Station (LATS) was established in 2007 and officially launched in 2008 on the Turfloop campus of the University of Limpopo. The station is the result of an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology with the intention of improving agro processing services in Limpopo. There are 15 similar stations in the country, all under the immediate control of the Technology Innovation Agency, but only two deal specifically with agro processing. The vision of the Limpopo station points the way forward. It is for the station to improve agro processing services to Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMMEs) in Limpopo, and other parts of South Africa, by using cutting-edge technologies.
Mphosi provided an example of a highwastage agricultural product and how LATS is intervening. Mangoes are currently grown for the fresh fruit market and the atchaar market. The fruit is picked green for the atchaar market, fruit that ripens on the trees is discarded. The LATS intervention has revolved around the production of mango juice to reduce the waste. But the intervention is more complex than might at first be imagined. It’s not simply a matter of making the juice. The total package includes training the small farmers; establishing cooperatives tooled to produce mango pulp, an intermediate product in the manufacture of mango juice; as well as working with the finance and small business promotion agencies to achieve markets and sustainable production patterns. Inside LATS, the necessary quality and consistency procedures are being established to ensure SABS compliance. New indigenous products are also being investigated, a good example being the jams and preserves that can be produced from wild watermelons. Potential markets being investigated are local rural demand through ‘spaza shops’
and roadside stalls, commercial supermarket chains, and school feeding schemes. As well as product development services, including appropriate packaging, LATS works on the testing of products for biological and chemical and physical hazards, and the establishment of good manufacturing practice. Customised training packages for local participants in these new economic activities are also designed by LATS. All this is accessible for the first time to people living in Limpopo Province. And not only rural communities are the beneficiaries. Increasingly, government agencies and private sector companies are interested in the expertise and services offered by LATS, a situation that serves as an important ‘third stream’ income source. Indeed, according to Dr Mphosi, LATS is close to economic selfsufficiency. ‘In fact,’ he says, ‘we’ll be completely there in another two years.’ LATS is also engaged academically. Students involved in postgraduate studies and research in several different disciplines are increasingly being drawn to the work of the station. During 2010, an amount of R400 000 was spent on research projects, and this amount is likely to more than double in 2011.
Turfloop Centre of Excellence MATERIALS MODELLING CENTRE ProfESSOR PHUTI Ngoepe words of centre head, Professor Phuti Ngoepe: ‘There are real opportunities opening up around the work we’ve been doing on batteries and minerals.’ On the energy storage front, the MMC has specialised in the development of high energy density batteries that are central to the development of electric vehicles, solar energy storage, and electricity utility back-ups. The MMC has developed one of the world-leading approaches to simulating the nanostructures for various newgeneration batteries, which enables predictions to be made regarding the distances electric vehicles can travel before recharging. Work is also progressing on fast charge non-porous structures, a field in which the MMC leads the world.
OVER THE YEARS, the University of Limpopo has employed computational modelling for predicting and optimising the properties of materials; and this highly specified scientific methodology is housed in the Materials Modelling Centre (MMC), a specialist research unit attached to Turfloop’s School of Physical and Mineral Sciences that holds it own around the world. Indeed, in some areas, MMC research leads the world. In mineral-rich South Africa, where attention is turning increasingly to the beneficiation of (or adding value to) the country’s abundant store of raw materials, the MMC finds itself in the mainstream of new government scientific and economic policy. In the
Efficient mineral processing methods, which address challenges of water, energy and environmental conservation in the mining sector, have engaged the attention of scientists working in the MMC. Researchers have also engaged in long-term ‘blue sky’ research projects to establish long-term efficiency solutions and new products for mining companies. As importantly, the MMC has recently studied the phase stabilities of precious and light metal alloys from a combination of energetics, elastic properties and phonon dispersions. This approach has provided valuable information for aerospace applications, shape-memory devices, and powder metallurgy processing. MMC research contributions have generated material for publications presentations at local and international conferences, with nine keynote addresses. Several postgraduate
students and postdoctoral researchers have been trained in the centre, while emerging researchers are currently participating in main computational research projects at the University of Limpopo and other South African institutions. There has also been wide collaboration, especially with institutions in the United Kingdom and through our membership of international consortia concerned with the development of simulation software. The MMC has participated in and co-organised workshops, summer schools and conferences related to computational modelling of materials, examples of which in 2010 included involvement in the organisation of the International Battery Association Conference, and the African Electronic Structure Summer School. On top of this practical scientific work, the MMC is also highly influential in policy formulation at the national level. Gnoepe is currently the chairman of the board of the Council for Geoscience. He also serves on the South African Mining to Metals Institute Board and the Science and Technology Ministerial Review Committee. Ngoepe jokes that this work on scientific policy formulation is his evening job, while his day job at the MMC continues to tackle challenges that are ‘key to the economic growth in South Africa’.
Turfloop Centre of Excellence LIMPOPO/IDC NGUNI CATTLE DEVELOPMENT TRUST ProfESSOR JONES Ng’ambi attempting to improve the existing bloodline by introducing purebred Nguni bulls into specific village herds, and also into the larger herds being maintained on redistributed farms in various parts of the province. The progeny were carefully tested for disease resistance, and for productivity in terms of milk, meat and hides. The results were impressive, and the project, called the Limpopo/IDC Nguni Cattle Development Trust, grew rapidly. The first intervention comprised six pilot projects. Communities were provided with 30 pregnant purebred registered Nguni cattle and one bull. The arrangement was that the communities would repay the initial investment in kind within five years.The returned cattle would then be used to service other communities keen to become involved. The success of the system can be seen in the figures: by 2010, there were 25 villages involved with a total of 2 000 purebred Nguni cattle. IT BEGAN FIVE years ago when the University of Limpopo’s Professor Jones Ng’ambi and others began to realise that Nguni cattle represented a significant economic asset that could help to bring genuinely sustainable development to the extensive rural areas in Limpopo. There were problems though. The main one was that the Nguni bloodline, so perfectly adapted to local conditions, was being diluted by admixture with other breeds. Thanks to a food security and poverty alleviation grant from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Ng’ambi and his team in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Animal Production set about
‘The IDC funded us to the tune of R7,5million over the first five years,’ Ng’ambi explained. ‘It’s now – in 2010 – reached the stage where the project is financially self-sustaining.’ The project is controlled by a Trust comprising two community members, two people from the IDC, two from the university, and two from the provincial Department of Agriculture. This department has taken a keen interest in the project from the start. Departmental extension officers have worked with the participating communities on the ground; provincial funding has been forthcoming to establish the infrastructure, not least the fencing and feeding infrastructure necessary to
protect the purebred herds from infiltration and to ensure optimum health; as well as an administrative office where records are kept and preparations made for the further massification of the project across the province. Mining companies active in Limpopo have also shown interest. Having brought the means of highquality beef production to these areas, the Nguni Cattle Trust then turned its attention to marketing. Communities were producing increasing numbers of animals, more than could be consumed locally. A national marketing strategy would need to be found. Meetings held with the Beef Corporation, a major supermarket chain and the Agricultural Research Council began to formulate a way forward. The hardy Nguni breed, while perfectly adapted for local conditions and requiring minimal inputs to keep them healthy, were difficult to fatten. The solution has been to cross the Ngunis with purebred Angus cattle. This has resulted in an animal that retains the disease-resistant properties of the Nguni while being more readily able to gain the weight required for the commercial marketplace. So successful has the project become in Limpopo that the Mpumalanga authorities are keen to establish an identical Nguni Trust for their province.
Turfloop Centre of Excellence THE LARRY LEACH HERBARIUM Bronwyn Egan The herbarium has grown considerably since its establishment 27 years ago. Apart from the euphorbia collection, it currently contains around 12 000 specimens in the collection, plus a further 1 600 preserved in spirits, and new specimens are arriving all the time. The main focus is on the plants of Limpopo. In fact, the Larry Leach Herbarium is the largest in the province. Although there are other botanical collections, the Turfloop Herbarium is the only fully curated and fully functional herbarium in Limpopo.
THE HERBARIUM ON the Turfloop campus was renamed in 2010 to honour the man who devoted his life to the study of the euphorbiaceae family. In fact, Larry Leach’s Euphorbia collection is housed in the herbarium and is one of the most comprehensive in the world, comprising 43 dried specimens of the Euphorbia species found in southern Africa, 920 specimens preserved in spirits in bottles, and a whole greenhouse (adjacent to the herbarium) housing over eighty living plants. In addition, there are three dedicated filing cabinets crammed with Leach’s written material plus a vast collection of photographs, microscope slides, drawings and maps, and even some rolls of early 9mm-format movie film.
Bronwyn Egan, with an undergraduate science degree in botany and zoology, and a Masters degree in zoology, arrived as the fulltime curator in mid-2008. Since then the herbarium, and the activities surrounding it, have grown steadily. Students and academic staff in the life sciences use the collections frequently, and there are increasing requests for information from agencies working within the province and from the public at large. Also on the increase are visits from nearby schools, particularly from those high-school children taking botany as a matriculation subject. Egan describes the processes that are necessary to maintain and grow the Larry Leach Herbarium. ‘There’s the whole procedure of accessioning new acqui- sitions,’ she explained. ‘The material usually arrives enclosed in the simple presses that have been used in the field. Our first job is to identify and correctly label the samples. The labelling system is standardised: tarting with the phylogenetic order and species, as well as where, when and by whom it has been collected. The incoming plants must be
thoroughly decontaminated: we do this by freezing the material. ‘Then follows the important process of placing the new specimens on our computerised database, which in turn is integrated into the bigger national botanical database housed in Pretoria. This places our collection, as it grows, into the whole complex picture of South Africa’s botanical taxonomic landscape. Taxonomy is a term familiar to all life scientists. It signifies that branch of biology concerned with the classification of organisms into groups based on similarities of structure and evolutionary origin.' The Larry Leach Herbarium is attached to the School of Biodiversity in the Faculty of Science and Agriculture. There are plans afoot to move the Herbarium to posh new premises in the new Science Discovery Centre currently under construction on the Turfloop campus. When will this occur? Probably in 2011, Egan says. At present though, the herbarium is growing with the ongoing purchase of invaluable floral literature and a top-of-the-range dissecting microscope for accurate plant identifications. Most exciting was the appointment of a temporary data manager who managed to place almost half the specimens onto the précis database during her contract. Meanwhile, the important task of collecting and accessioning Limpopo’s rich botanical heritage continues.
Turfloop Centre of Excellence CENTRE FOR RURAL COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT Ernest Letsoalo provision was made for the first time in 2011. The original purpose of the centre was to right a serious imbalance in agricultural scientific effort between commercial farming and small-scale community farming. The reality, particularly in Africa and other developing world regions, was that most farmers – as high as 80 percent it was reckoned in some quarters – operated on the small-scale side of the equation. For scientific research to neglect them and their challenges would be detrimental to the medium-term effectiveness of agriculture as a whole – not least in terms of food security, water utilisation, adaptability to climate change, and the many other challenges with which agriculture will be faced in the 21st century.
THIS SPECIALIST development centre, originally dealing with ‘rural community empowerment’, was started by GRET a French non-governmental organisation (GRET is a French acronym for 'Research and Technological Exchange Group') in the beginning of the century. It was officially launched by the university’s School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 2004. Then in 2008, when the French funding came to an end, it was subsumed into the activities of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture as the Centre for Rural Community Empowerment (CRCE). In recognition of the centre as an agent in the university’s commitment to community engagement, and of its growing research importance, full budgetary
Ernest Letsoalo, the co-ordinator of the CRCE and a lecturer in agricultural extension, succinctly sums up the rationale of the centre when he says: ‘we are bringing high levels of academic skill to bear on basic community concerns. At the same time, we are exposing agricultural scientists to the survival practicalities with which so many rural people in Africa grapple on a daily basis.’ This brings attention to the focus of the CRCE, which can be outlined as three distinct strategies. The first deals with the CRCE as a postgraduate research hub where the necessary marriage between agricultural science and rural communities is encouraged. In recent years, final year undergraduate students have also worked through the centre, and many stay on as postgraduate researchers.
Around 20 students have done their postgraduate research through the CRCE, exploring such subjects as • the establishment of a rural community Water Users Association dealing with the equitable distribution of water from an irrigation scheme • the description of management options for wetlands and irrigation schemes • the impact of improved technology and management techniques on community-owned dairy goats. The second strategy concerns the way in which local communities can benefit from networking with relevant associations and agencies such as the East and Southern African Small-scale Farmers’ Forum, traditional leadership and other community projects, local government, as well as development practitioners and universities. The CRCE provides informal training to communities on how to conduct meetings to give practical expression to networking possibilities. This has resulted, in several locations where the CRCE is active in multipurpose centres being built with funds raised by the communities themselves. The final strategy employed by the CRCE concerns documentation. Everything that the centre does, including all the postgraduate research projects, are meticulously filmed and photographed and written up, the resulting data forming an invaluable archive of material dealing with the details and practical training around specific agricultural challenges.
Turfloop Centre of Excellence THE AQUACULTURE RESEARCH UNIT PROFESSOR NGONI MOYO The Aquaculture Research Unit at Turfloop (ARU) has three main focuses. Fish production for poverty alleviation is one of them. The other two are fish production for the commercial exploitation of ornamental fish, and fish production for stabilising fish populations in rivers and dams. The scope and growing influence of the ARU is clearly indicated by several of the most important research projects recently undertaken.
FOR SOME YEARS in the 1990s and early 2000s, Turfloop’s Aquaculture Research Unit drifted in the doldrums. It had been established in the early 1990s, but the founder had not long afterwards retired. Then in 2003 Professor Nag Moyo arrived from Zimbabwe and things began to change. Today, the unit is thriving. The number of postgraduate students working there has grown from three to 17, three of these at Masters level. As importantly, the unit is beginning to attract substantial funding because, as Moyo explains, ‘our research is making a significant impact on African aquaculture’.
South Africa’s Water Research Commission has provided the unit with R1,5-million for comprehensive research into the threats posed to fish populations by climate change, the silting up of dams, and the pollution of dams and rivers. Moyo and his researchers found one species – Opsaridium peringueyi – that was very seriously threatened by the full range of threats. By using this fish as an ‘indicator species’ the ARU has developed a conservation framework for freshwater fish across sub-Saharan Africa. This research project was completed during the year under review. Arising from this research, the ARU has now been invited to Mozambique to do a survey in a remote part of the country where fish populations are being threatened. The task here will be to undertake a fish survey in the rivers, and to establish which species are under threat and what can be done about it. Closer to home, important work is being done – in the ponds and tanks at Turfloop, in fact – on a substitute to
traditional fish-meal food for aquaculture projects. ‘On one of our field trips,’ Moyo explains, ‘we noticed fish feeding off the water grass growing in the shallows of a dam. This prompted us to try some experiments. This led to the remarkable discovery that fish thrive on food pellets made from the clippings of East African kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) grass.’ There were two significant advantages attached to this discovery. The first was economic: fish-meal pellets are expensive, usually accounting for 60 percent of fish farming production costs. Kikuyu pellets would be very much cheaper. The second advantage was even more significant: it was found that kikuyu grass was rich in the amino acids that are required for growth by most fish species. In addition, fish reared on kikuyu pellets showed higher levels of omega 3 (much sought after by all those interested in health foods) than those raised on a diet of fish-meal. Next step in this remarkable research story will be to conduct commercial trials by making ARU pellets available to various commercial aquaculture concerns. Thereafter, steps will be taken to patent the product in the name of the University of Limpopo.
Turfloop/Medunsa Centre of Excellence THE VLIR/UL RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP PROFESSOR DIRK Wessels Professor Dirk Wessels, the VLIR-UOS co-ordinator at the University of Limpopo describes the way in which the partnership started. ‘As part of a delegation from the University of Antwerp, tropical diseases expert Professor Bob Colebunders came on a visit in 2006 when we discussed the possibility of our university applying for a VLIR-UOS partnership and funding. We prepared a detailed proposal, but were turned down. We tried again. This time we were successful, and Professor Colebunders became the coordinator at the Flemish end of the programme.’ Funding is guaranteed for five years, after which a review will be undertaken. Unless things go dramatically wrong, another five-year funding cycle is virtually guaranteed. Through competitive funding thereafter, the total lifespan of the VLIR-UOS partnership may be extended for up to 17 years. The programme kicked off on 1 April 2010.’
• The VLIR-UOS programme is a partnership between the University of Limpopo and universities in Belgium, most notably the University of Antwerp. For the initial five-year period, there’ll be around R34-million available, with the likelihood of a lot more to come from co-funding arrangements. What exactly is VLIR-UOS? The first part of the acronym stands for Flemish Inter Universities Council, and the second for University Development Co-operation. In other words, the University of Limpopo, as a university from a developing country, has entered into a form of academic cooperation with the universities of East and West Flanders, both provinces of Belgium.
Through the VLIR-UOS partnership, the University of Limpopo has taken a significant step towards the realisation of its own mission and vision. The overarching title of the programme confirms this: Human Wellness in the Context of Global Change – Finding Solutions for Rural Africa. The partnership programme is broken up into five project clusters, summarised as follows: • Cluster 1: Cross-cutting services, which comprises data management and analysis, including Information Communication Technology (ICT) services, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) remote sensing services, spatial modelling, as well as statistical
analysis – to be used by all the projects Cluster 2: Ensuring Competent Communities in the context of Global Change. There are three individual projects within this cluster: Energising competent communities; the Development of multiple literacies; and the Prevention, control and management of chronic diseases in a rural community. Cluster 3: Water. This reinforces the university’s existing research work, since 1974, on the Olifants River. The bio-monitoring of water quality, sediment, biota, fish health and fish parasites of this river system will provide invaluable data for rural development planning. Cluster 4: Food Security. Additional support in this area will strengthen the internationally recognised work already being undertaken by Turfloop’s School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Cluster 5: Public Health. There are two individual projects within this cluster, which are identified as: Public health intervention research and Infectious diseases research.
The VLIR-UOS programme is a remarkably comprehensive package that both supports and integrates what before had tended to be individual efforts across the university’s various faculties.
Medunsa Centre of Excellence THE SKILLS CENTRE Professor Ina Treadwell enhances experiential learning in a simulated structure, without putting patients or students at risk and offers a space where discussions can be conducted freely. State-of-the art simulators, manikins, equipment and consumables are available for teaching and learning skills required in clinical disciplines such as internal medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology ENT, ophthalmology, urology, neurology and orthopaedics.
THE SKILLS CENTRE at Medunsa became functional in January 2010 in a brand new, purpose-designed building adjacent to the library, incorporating state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and positioning it firmly as a centre of excellence on the campus. The facility, covering 1 660 m2, comprises an administrative block, 21 venues of varying sizes for teaching, a computer room and two sets of rooms for observation through two-way mirrors. The aim of the Skills Centre is to provide a controlled and non-threatening environment for teaching and learning of clinical and communication skills. It
One of the largest manikins is ‘Harvey’, a man-sized cardiopulmonary patient simulator, which can replicate the physical findings of more than 30 cardiac conditions, including realistic and typical cardiac and pulmonary sounds, arterial and jugular pulses, as well as precordial and respiration movements. Sounds can be observed simultaneously by any number of students equipped with infrared stethoscopes. ‘Suzy’ is a birthing manikin. Students can hear the ‘foetus’s heartbeat’, palpate her stomach, perform internal examinations, and generally facilitate the birthing process. ‘Shorty’ is just over a metre tall. All his muscles can be taken apart and put back together again. Skills teaching is integrated in the curriculums of a variety of health professions students at Medunsa such as medicine, nursing, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The skills include clinical and procedural skills, as well as communication skills. Standardised patients are used to ensure that the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills of students are developed.
This facility and teaching strategy provides an opportunity for health care students to develop a process of decision-making through critical thinking skills, abstract knowledge, technical skills and self-confidence. It involves hands-on practise by students under the supervision of lecturers and peers who provide guidance and constructive feedback. Reflection on their performances is vital for their learning. Multimedia learning resources developed to support students include step-by-step guidelines for procedures, video/animation material to demonstrate techniques and assessment tools for formative and summative assessments. Lecturers and students can access these materials on Blackboard, an electronic learning system. In addition to scheduled teaching sessions in small groups, students can return independently for further practice on other occasions. A facilitator is available to render support even to qualified health professionals who need to practise prior to performing skills on patients. The Skills Centre provides the opportunity for students to experience clinical skills which are transferable to clinical practice and it supports the transition of the student's clinical skills learning from the simulated training environment to the clinical area. The Skills Centre is a highly sophisticated learning environment and means that students who leave the university can be better doctors, nurses and therapists because they are competent and confident in what they do.
Medunsa Centre of Excellence PHANTOM HEAD LABORATORY Professor Neels du Preez & DR RIAAN LOMBARD These facilities have the potential to significantly improve the students’ hand skills and motor skills without fear of causing pain or harm, making the transition from pre-clinical to clinical dentistry for the students far easier, and enabling a higher degree of success in Integrated Clinical Dentistry. ICD is part of the fifth and final year of study, in the School of Oral Health Sciences, where students must synthesise their learning from the previous four years of study in dentistry and develop the skill to assess their own learning through self-reflection. The demonstration simulator head enables demonstrations to be done and displayed on screens at each work station in front of each simulator head, ensuring that every student has a clear view of the demonstration. The screens are also used for clinical slide projections and for Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) tests and exams. THE REFURBISHMENT OF the Phantom Head Laboratory was completed in 2010, bringing the facility in line with international dental school standards. The objective of the upgrade was primarily to consolidate the Department of Operative Dentistry’s experiential learning strategies and in that way improve the clinical competencies of our graduates. The new laboratory opens up clinical skills training for a greater number of undergraduates, including oral hygiene, dental therapy and dental students. The laboratory will mainly be used by the departments of Operative Dentistry, Prosthodontics, Integrated Clinical Dentistry (ICD) and Oral Hygiene.
The state-of-the-art laboratory consists of 60 heads - dental simulators - and one demonstration simulator head. The simulators are more patient-like and manoeuvrable than the previous ‘heads’ and allow for a far better clinical experience than the old laboratory. Each simulator is adjustable according to human capabilities, and features electronic arms that can hold additional equipment such as suction facilities, water syringe, connections for slow and fast handpieces, scalers and curing light to simulate a dental nurse in order to practice. A wide range of four-handed dentistry dental procedures can in this way be simulated in a safe, realistic, and hands-on environment.
To ensure ease of use for the students, Professor du Preez produced a booklet for instructors on how to most effectively teach using the simulators, as well as a guide on using the simulators for students which ensured ease of adoption within the department. The Phantom Head Laboratory, which is sharpening the competencies of the students in all levels of dentistry, was funded by the Clinical Training Grant. Promotions in the Department of Operative Dentistry in 2010 included Dr Riaan Lombard’s appointment as Head of Department as from 1 January, and Professor Neels du Preez’s appointment as cluster manager for the cluster Department of Restorative Dentistry.
Medunsa Centre of Excellence COMMUNITY DENTISTRY Dr Abdulla Khan two dentists, a registrar, and a dental therapist. As a major part of its activities, the department runs two projects – Sisters of Mercy Dental Clinic in Winterveldt and the People Uplift Project (POPUP) in Salvokop – and is involved in others, including Phelophepa Healthcare Train (Transnet’s community-based service), an old-age home, and a planned new communitybased activity in Mabopane. The projects, which started primarily as service initiatives to provide oral health services, showed potential to offer service learning to students, which would offer benefits both to the projects as the level of service to the projects would be enriched, as well as to the students the depth of the learning by students would also be enriched. Service learning is credit-based teaching and learning where the student engages the community, providing services that have been identified by the community as being needed.
The Department of Community Dentistry is acknowledged as a centre of excellence for its wide-ranging outreach activities, as well as for its innovative reflective journal learning practices.
The projects give final year dental students the opportunity to form a realistic picture of health problems, human conditions and professional role models in various environments; understand the policy background of community-based care and its financial and practical implications; understand the concept of health and disease; describe the multi-causality of disease; debate the notion of communities, community participation and community demographics; explain the concepts surrounding health promotion and health education; among other aspects.
The department has six staff members: two specialists in community dentistry,
The School first embarked on a pilot community engagement programme as
THE SCHOOL OF Oral Health Science’s commitment to community engagement is indisputable. The school adheres to the credo that universities must be contextualised in society, and not be, or be perceived as, ivory towers within the communities in which they operate. The school has well-established communitybased clinics that are used by dental students for their service learning block.
a precursor to the development of an academic programme that includes the principles and practice of service learning. The aim of service learning is to produce reflective practitioners, not just technically competent dentists. To begin with, social assessment was conducted in the community of Salvokop by dental students. Service learning started in 2010 as part of the curriculum. Final year students rotate in a service-learning module in the community engagement projects. They are required to pose intensive questions about their patients’ lives and lifestyles, and reflect on their experiences. These reflections are assessed by trained tutors. Assessment showed that the reflective journal approach paid dividends in the assignments done by students at the end of their service learning block. Most were able to integrate what was learned in class with their experiences at the projects. The reflective journals that emanate from these activities have potential for qualitative research as well as inculcating the ethos of participatory action research. A further project undertaken by senior dental students under the auspices of the Department of Community Dentistry is the Phelophepa Healthcare Train, the Transnet community-based service. The students provide comprehensive oral health services, including screening and preventive care to outlying communities. The department will engage in this initiative in the future as the exercise provides an excellent outlet for service learning.
Medunsa Centre of Excellence PERIODONTOLOGY AND ORAL MEDICINE Professor Liviu Feller graduate level. In 2010 the department had three postgraduate students. This department holds the honour of having produced the first ever black female specialist in periodontology in South Africa. The Oral Medicine and Periodontology Clinic (OMPC) has two components in the service it offers the local community and the training it provides for dental students. It offers specialised treatment in perio- dontology, including implants, and res- toring people’s mouths. New develop- ments in this field are enabling state-of-the-art treatment to be offered to highly disadvantaged people from the local community free of charge. The other aspect of the clinic’s activities is the treatment of HIV related oral diseases.
THE DEPARTMENT OF Periodontology and Oral Medicine in the School of Oral Health Sciences, Medunsa, is a centre of excellence for its exceptionally high volume of research output as much as for its clinical services to the community, its specialised treatment in periodontology, and its excellent teaching platform. The department is a leading research unit in the School of Oral Health Sciences. Periodontology is the speciality of dentistry that studies supporting structures of teeth, diseases, and conditions that affect them. The subject is taught at undergraduate and post-
The department has established itself as a leading unit in the South African oral health sciences arena, with expert knowledge of the oral manifestation of HIV and a high level of success in the treatment of these manifestations. The OMPC treated about 250 patients per month in 2010. Necrotizing periodontal diseases, human papillomavirus-asso- ciated lesions and candidal infections are the most frequently seen oral conditions diagnosed in HIV-seropositive patients, followed by Kaposi sarcoma and lymphoma. Though it is difficult to estimate how many patients are HIV-seropositive since the population attending our clinic is reluctant to disclose their HIV-serostatus, estimates are that between 20-30% of the patients are HIV-seropositive.
2010 saw specific achievements in research for the department, with the publication of a book entitled Oral Kaposi Sarcoma, edited by Liron Pantanowitz, Justin Stebbing, and Bruce Dezube, which featured a chapter by Professors Liviu Feller and Johan Lemmer of the Department of Periodontology and Oral Medicine. Other published material included articles on primary oral tuberculosis as an indicator of HIV infection; epidemiology and transmission of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection; and HPV-mediated carcinogenesis and HPV-associated oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma; among others. Professor Feller was also an invited speaker for a continuous education course with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accreditation given to medical and dental officers at Maseru, Lesotho, in November 2010, entitled ‘Insights into the aetiopathogenesis, clinical course and management of HIVassociated oral lesions and conditions’; as well as lectures and case discussions on HIV-induced immune suppression; periodontal diseases in HIV-seropositive subjects; HIV-m.TB co-infections; and HIV-associated oral Kaposi sarcoma. The good work achieved by this department can be multiplied several times with the allocation of more human resources, skilled people who can contribute to student development, clinical services, and research output.
Medunsa Centre of Excellence MAXILLOFACIAL AND ORAL RADIOLOGY Professor Claudia Noffke clinics in the centre. The academic service, which runs concurrently with the diagnostic service, provides a basic and practical account of the essential subject matter of dental radiography and dental radiology to students. Since most patients entering the Medunsa Oral Health Centre first pass through the Division of MFOR from where they are channelled into the hospitalâ€™s teaching and treatment system, the unit fulfils a vital role in the service delivery of the centre. It also contributes to accessing patient teaching material for under- and postgraduate training.
WITH ITS HIGH standards and productivity in its approach to teaching and learning, clinical work and research output, the Division of Maxillofacial and Oral Radiology (MFOR) is accepted as a centre of excellence in the School of Oral Health Sciences at the Medunsa Campus. The mission of MFOR is to serve the community by excellent training of oral health personnel in the field of oral and maxillofacial radiology and by providing an excellent radiographic service to patients attending the Medunsa Oral Health Centre. Its main functions are to render academic and diagnostic radiographic services to patients attending the
MFOR is a referral centre for imaging of all dental-related problems. The services offered entail several specialised techniques to facilitate accurate diagnosis and treatment planning. In 2010, the total number of radiographs amounted to 35 218 for 15 801 patients who visited the division (excluding repeat radiographs). The workload for the staff is intense, and the division receives an average of 80-100 radiographic requests per day. The division is, however, not yet digitised and our efficiency can be improved considerably by the acquisition of modern digitised x-ray machines. The present machines are overloaded which often leads to patient flow delays. Due to financial reasons, maintenance and repair could not be implemented to the fullest.
The unit is in the process of becoming digitised and plans are in place for digitisation of the whole hospital by the end of 2012. Replacement of old equipment started in 2010 and was made possible through grants from the Department of Education via the clinical training grant. Part of the new equipment includes a 3D cone-beam computed tomographic (CBCT) imaging machine which will dramatically improve the sophistication of the service offered by the division of MFOR. This equipment is regarded as state-of-the-art in the maxillofacial field. Unlike CT scanning, the CBCT scanner does not scan slices, but rather a volume of the subject, using a cone-shaped x-ray beam. This new technology will signifi- cantly improve the training, service, and research offerings of the division. Professor Noffke and Dr. N. Nzima are, together with Radiation Control of the Department of Health, involved in the preparation of radiation guidelines on the use of CBCT in South Africa. The unit was responsible for several published papers in 2010, bringing the total number of publications that were authored and co-authored since the appointment of Professor Noffke to 39. Professor Noffke is also a frequent reviewer for several Radiology journals and serves on the Editorial Board of Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology Oral Radiology & Endodontology (OOOOE).
Medunsa Centre of Excellence CLINICAL RESEARCH UNIT Professor Maphoshane Nchabeleng opportunistic infections and will also be getting into microbicide trials.
including preparedness for the clinical trial, started at the end of 2009.
MeCRU’s new building includes five clinic rooms, five counselling rooms, and a pharmacy, among other facilities.
2010 also saw the initiation of research projects under the umbrella of the initiative by the Flemish Inter-University Council (VLIR), with Project 8 – Infectious Diseases – headed by Nchabeleng along with her Flemish counterpart, Professor Herman Goossens, head of the Laboratory of Medical Microbiology at the University of Antwerp. The overall aims of the project are to increase the capacity of the university to perform research in infectious diseases, and decrease morbidity and mortality from these diseases.
At the official opening on 3 June, which also marked the unit’s celebration of World Vaccine Day, guest speaker Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, commended MeCRU on its commitment to community engagement as a departure from ivory tower research policies of the past, in which universities imposed products of their research on communities. This paradigm shift bodes well for the future of MeCRU.
THE MEDUNSA CLINICAL Research Unit (MeCRU), which was established at the Department of Medical Microbiology in 2005, in collaboration with the Department of Virology and the Medunsa Institute of Community Outreach Services (Medicos), has long been a centre of excellence on the campus. 2010 was a highlight year for the unit with the opening of the new custom-designed premises for the MeCRU clinic. MeCRU was established with the support of the SA Medical Research Council through its lead programme, the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI). The Unit conducts a variety of clinical trials on HIV/Aids vaccines, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV),
MeCRU also has a research laboratory which is accredited by South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) and provides support to various clinical trials. A peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) processing laboratory, which is a significant component of HIV vaccine clinical trials, is operational in the research laboratory. Implementation of components of a clinical trial ISS T-003, part of a cooperation/joint programme between the governments of Italy and South Africa, aimed at the implementation of a national programme of global response to HIV & AIDS were also part of MeCRU’s activities in 2010. The trial is going to test the candidate vaccine against HIV/AIDS based on the HIV-1 Tat protein, conceived and developed by the National AIDS Centre (CNAIDS) of the Italian Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS). The implementation of the components of the programme,
Projects adopted for Project 8 fall within the various specific diseaserelated objectives; objectives that relate to capacity increase; as well as an objective relating to stakeholders. About 40 projects that fall within the parameters of Project 8’s objectives have been submitted and are being assessed. These will be conducted over five years, with the possibility to extend to ten years. Three research projects were introduced as part of the year one activities in 2010, covering antimicrobial resistance, HPV, and pulmonary and extra-pulmonary TB. This project and other initiatives at MeCRU are encouraging a change in mindset at Medunsa about the huge value that conducting collaborative research projects can add to the university’s research capacity.
Medunsa Centre of Excellence COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICE LEARNING COURSE Gerda Botha authorities, and they facilitate student learning and assessments.
developing and implementing health programmes.
Previously, community work was more theoretical than practical with written work as the primary means of evaluating these four blocks. The students now spend a compulsory few hours every week at the clinic and they interact more intensively with the patients. The whole process is explained to the patients.
In year one of the CBSL course, the basics of primary health care are covered; year two covers environmental health; year three is the consultations skills block, which takes place under the supervision of family physicians at the clinic; and year four is more advanced clinic management. Also on the curriculum are HIV/AIDS care and counselling in various ARV clinics in the Wintervelt/Soshanguve areas and in Bojanela district of North West Province. Palliative Care learning and teaching and service delivery takes place in five hospices in the same peripheral sites.
The CBSL programme places students where the patients are. Hospitalised patients are usually admitted for a short period. It is more useful to the patient and the healthcare process to follow a patient with a chronic illness to see what happens over a period of time. In this hands-on approach, the CBSL course offers a wide range of disease conditions and students can learn to discover illnesses themselves.
A NEW COMMUNITY-Based Service Learning (CBSL) course was launched for first to fourth year medical students at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Medunsa, at the start of 2010. The course is in line with the Facultyâ€™s aim to be an institution of social relevance and to produce health professionals who care. The CBSL course is based primarily in six local clinics â€“ Madidi, Mmakaunyane, Mercy, St Johns, KT Mothubatsi, and Tlamelong â€“ where supervisor nurses form the backbone of the programme. These nurses have been trained and appointed as part-time lecturers. They collaborate with the patients, community leaders, other health
The course also enables students to understand the dynamics of the community they serve, such as why patients do not follow-up at clinics to get their repeat prescriptions; whether there are social problems in the community; whether children are susceptible to diarrhoea; or why an asthma patient is not improving despite medication. Students will face these and many other community issues and develop skills to offer realistic solutions. They learn how to work in a multidisciplinary team, respecting and appreciating other workers such as nursing staff, volunteer workers, health promoters, and lay counsellors. They also learn to involve the community through the community leaders in
Relationships with the supervisor and the patient or patients that have been allocated to each student become the cornerstone of the learning process as the students stay in the same clinic for four years. To further enhance the course, a successful meeting was held under the auspices of the CBSL programme towards the end of the year with stakeholders from the local communities and students and staff from Medunsa, to discuss the status quo of the community engagement and develop a clearer strategy for effective involvement in the future. The interactions were enthusiastic and it was determined that activities in the local area are becoming more relevant to communities. This meeting is to be an annual event to ensure that activities remain relevant and that useful feedback can be given to the university departments, to serve as guidelines for the strengthening of the CBSL programme.
THE UNIVERSITY OF LIMPOPO ALUMNI ASSOCIATION IT’S BEEN SAID again and again: the relationship between alumni and alma mater is an important one, with important plusses for both sides. The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Limpopo, Professor Mahlo Mokgalong, summed up the situation perfectly when he wrote in the 2010 alumnus magazine: ‘Your university is on the rise. It’s therefore a good time to celebrate your ‘alumnus status’. Why? Because your alma mater’s increasing credibility will enhance your own. It will amplify the value of your degree. And active participation in the affairs of your university will link you to a powerful network of professionals that could help to advance and enrich your own career. So put your weight behind an institution that is now taking definite strides towards becoming world-class and proudly African.’ Alumni associations have been going for a long time. After January 2005, the old associations of Medunsa and the University of the North were combined into the Alumni Association of the University of Limpopo, a single institution under the joint presidency of Advocate Mike Mashego (representing the Turfloop campus) and Professor Robert Golele (representing the Medunsa campus). Out in the world at large, alumni are represented by regionally-based alumni chapters. There are five of these – the Limpopo Chapter,
the North West Chapter, the Mpumalanga Chapter, and a chapter each for Gauteng and the Free State – and in the pages that follow are short messages from each of the chapter chairmen. The approximate number of alumni actually on the university’s mailing lists is just under 20 000. But DK Mohuba, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, differentiates between alumni and active alumni. During the year under review, a concerted effort was launched to enlist 5 000 of these, 3 500 from Turfloop and 1 500 from Medunsa. Mohuba said towards the end of 2010: ‘I am optimistic that our target will be achieved. With this active core we’ll be able to develop much wider interest.’ The final comment should come from the Vice-Chancellor. ‘Readers will notice,’ he wrote in the 2010 magazine referred to above, ‘that I have made no mention of money. I have not appealed for donations. Neither does any part of this publication. Of course, money is important. But the building of relationships that offer reciprocal value is much more so at this stage. Material support will follow naturally from such relationships. So our priority right now must be to build them.’ Now read what the chapter chairmen have to say.
Limpopo Chapter: TAKING HIS CUE FROM NORTH AFRICA Dr Mothibedi Mashilo TO BE HONEST, there’s not a great deal to report regarding the activities of the Limpopo Chapter of the University of Limpopo Alumni Association. Our Chapter meetings were not well attended, and those alumni who did attend made little effort to enliven proceedings. I think there are three main reasons for this lack of interest. I’m not saying that the perceptions expressed are necessarily accurate. I’m saying simply that they are frequently expressed: therefore, it would be foolish for me, or for the university, to ignore them. The first reason given is that, now that its graduates are out in the world earning, the university is looking for money from them. There’s little mention of other contributions that might be made – for example, in kind or time – and there’s scant interest in the possibility of any form of reciprocally advantageous relationship between graduates and their alma mater. The second reason given is that graduates don’t want to admit to having attended one of the country’s ‘bush universities’ (to use the parlance of the apartheid era), and to become an active alumnus would be to advertise the fact. There’s little understanding of the strides that have been made on both campuses to bring the University of Limpopo, as the Vice-Chancellor has said, into a position of equality with the other 22 South African universities. The third reason, I regret to say, is a certain pessimism about the merger. People shake their heads and say it (the merger) won’t work, or that it’s not working. But whether the merged university stays as it is, or whether it ultimately de-merges, the point is that
its performance is improving and that this improving image reflects positively on alumni as well. It is very clear that alumni attitudes will have to change before ‘alumni affairs’ can take its rightful place as a legitimate university activity. Behind all these alumni reservations – they are often downright misconceptions – lies the challenge of communication. Alumni need access to information. They need to see that they are playing a part – particularly as the higher education terrain changes yet again in southern Africa and effective universities are seen as vitally important agents in the struggle towards development and prosperity. The university has some good publications, but do alumni read them? I fear not, not in sufficient numbers to achieve the critical mass necessary to effect the required shift in alumni attitudes. Surely it is time to look towards the electronic media and all the forms of information and communications technology at our disposal. The recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and more generally in North Africa and the Middle East, have showed the astonishing power of the new technologies to fashion – and maintain – public opinion and enthusiasm for a cause. How much more effective could these media be in South Africa where nobody is likely to switch off these facilities. Perhaps this is where our thinking should turn as we face the daunting prospect of persuading our past students, who are now black professionals in many walks of life, to form reciprocal partnerships with their old university.
North West Chapter: THERE’S NO SHORTCUT AROUND A GOOD EDUCATION SimI Morwane THERE ARE TWO important areas where I believe past students could be of great service to their universities – and at the same time to the various social milieus in which we operate. Through my work with trade unions, especially in the mining sector, I have been struck again and again by a growing tendency among South Africans at all levels to believe that education is not a fundamental component for individual advancement, and also that there is sometimes a serious disjuncture between the actual realities of the world of work and the education offered by the universities. I would like to elaborate briefly on both these important areas. The idea that education can be bypassed is a dangerous one. We are living in the age of the rise of the so-called ‘knowledge economy’ where the extraction of raw materials is no longer enough to ensure prosperity. It is crucially important that the ideas of innovation and value adding take root, but equally important that people realise that without a sound education, preferably to postgraduate level, it will be extremely difficult to compete, either individually or as a country, in the highly competitive global economy. Stemming from these considerations, it is vitally important that universities keep closely in touch with the world of work. If they fail to do this, education will tend to be viewed as an optional extra. Clearly, alumni have an important role to play in counteracting both these
essentially unhealthy trends. In their working and social lives, alumni could do a lot to advertise the value of a university education, and to point promising students towards their alma mater, the University of Limpopo. Part of this activity would be to keep abreast of the many exciting on-campus developments that illustrate the encouraging upward trends within the university (see the Centre of Excellence features that begin on page 66 of this annual report), and to ensure that friends and colleagues are aware of the progress that has been made since the apartheid era. With regard to ensuring a relevant fit between the university and the world of work, I believe that those of us who have special knowledge of specific sectors – and most of us do – have a responsibility to use existing channels to ensure that our special piece of academia, our university, is kept in close touch with the rough and tumble world beyond the campus gates. I think it would be a tragedy if we allowed higher education to become marginalised in the perceptions of our people. The alumni of the University of Limpopo represent a broad-based network that infiltrates many strata of our society. I believe that an active and committed convocation is the rock upon which university success is built. I have never lost my conviction about this; and it is something we should all work tirelessly to achieve.
Gauteng Chapter: ALUMNI CAN LINK STUDENTS TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD MOTLATJO B Moholwa AN ACTIVE ALUMNI association is valuable to the university, to current and past students, and to the education sector as a whole. The foundation and growth of any economy depends on skills, knowledge and education of its labour force. Consequently, my aim is to contribute what I can to improving the quality of education in South Africa. One way to achieve this is through making sure that universities provide relevant and appropriate skills required by the economy. Universities are often not in close contact with the private sector and industry in general and as such can have limited knowledge about the changing environment. Alumni can play an important role in helping to link current students with the outside world. If full advantage is taken of the alumni we can make a difference in studentsâ€™ lives. We can speak at the university. We can encourage students through difficult patches that we experienced. Some of the alumni who are in influential positions can offer internships to promising students. For many alumni it is about giving back to a good institution that gave them a solid grounding in their careers. With collaboration between the alumni and the university, there is a lot of support for the university that could be used effectively. There is enthusiasm for
involvement, as has been evidenced in the past. Gauteng is after all the province with spirit; with a passion for involvement; and with economic muscle. When the alumni association is fully operational, this province will have the strongest chapter â€“ just because Gauteng is what it is. In the past, four-day trips were organised for students to visit the private sector, government departments, and NGOs, to enable them to gain a clearer perspective on what the world outside university life was like and to broaden their horizons and knowledge in terms of what careers were available. The trips were highly successful. I believe that many of the alumni would be prepared to host students, show them around their workplaces, introduce them to people in relevant jobs, and answer questions about their potential careers. This would give students more hope for the future, more clarity in their decisionmaking, and it would encourage them to work harder.
Mpumalanga Chapter: INFORMATION FROM ALUMNI TO UNDERGRADUATES Mackenzie Tsimane ALUMNI HAVE A lot to contribute to their alma maters. The world is changing and they are a part of it. They understand its demands and expectations. They have expertise, skills and resources to offer advice and suggestions on curriculum development. The fact is that many careers are not considered by undergraduates because they do not know about them. For instance, it’s not widely known that crack investigations teams, such as the Hawks – like the Scorpions in the past – consist largely of lawyers. More information on niche career options available within the different degree courses could be extremely useful to students. It could also add value to different degree courses to have relevant and up to date information on constantly changing expectations in the private and public sectors. This type of information is readily available from past students working in different fields. Short courses on different employment sectors within a discipline could also be offered, with some of the lectures being provided by alumni in relevant sectors. We in this chapter are proud of our alma mater; we know what it has contributed in our lives. We want to keep that pride alive; we would like our children to attend the same university and have even better experiences than we did; and we want to be associated with it for many years to come. We are discussing various ways we can get involved as a sector of the university’s alumni. Apart from consulting on curriculum development and lecturing, we can also assist in promoting the university and all that it
offers locally in schools, businesses, government offices and other key areas; we can ‘adopt’ one or more needy students – helping them with fees, and more than that, mentoring them throughout their university years; we can make ourselves available to consult in certain appropriate decision-making situations; and we can contribute financially to the university. Possibly one of the most valuable contributions the alumni can make to undergraduates is a powerful and positive message about the bright future that is possible – with hard work. Mpumalanga doesn’t have a university of its own, so the University of Limpopo is one of the closest universities to the province and is the university of choice for many youngsters. The alumni’s role can develop to the point where prospective successful graduates can be identified and encouraged to go to university – and then be supported if necessary. Alumni need to plough back into the university. It did so much for us; shaping our futures, and it’s now our mirror. What happens there affects us; it reflects us – directly or indirectly. Activities in 2010 in the Mpumalanga chapter were limited, particularly in light of the uncertainty relating to the demerging. In the short to medium term, we anticipate challenges in how to continue as an alumni chapter, but we will remain committed to the principle of alumni engagement.
Free State Chapter: SOCIAL GET-TOGETHERS ARE THE MOST POPULAR EVENTS Mzwakhe Mofokeng
With valuable and sentimental memories of university days and of how the university has made many of us; we in the Free State Chapter of the Alumni Association of the University of Limpopo are keen to keep the memory of our student days alive by getting involved in alumni activities.
together on the Turfloop campus, as many of us have not had exposure to the additions and improvements in recent years. We believe there would be benefits of such a get-together, both to the alumni and to the university, as interest in ongoing involvement would possibly be generated among the past graduates.
Though attendance at chapter meetings has not always been as high as we anticipated, we have had as many as 60 to 80 people attending, when the event was properly advertised on community radio stations and by word of mouth. The best-attended events tend to be social events, or when a braai follows the formal business of the alumni association.
We believe that a lot can be done to encourage alumni to become more involved in their alma mater. We also believe that the Alumni Association must be seen as more than a social club. There is a great deal that we as alumni can do to support the institution that meant so much to us when we were younger.
Turfloop alumni enjoy getting together and networking and discussions have been held about the possibility of a get
As a chapter we look forward to improved lines of communication between the alumni and the university,
which we believe will serve to increase attendance at our chapter meetings, as well as active involvement in clearly defined areas and projects. These projects and activities can include guest lecturing, mentoring of under- graduates, lobbying on behalf of the university, recruitment of undergraduate and postgraduate students that would enhance the performance of the university, and even fundraising for specific projects on campus. There are many who are proud to maintain their links with their old university and who are prepared to take up the challenges; past students who still have a deep affinity for their alma mater and who in fact, still love the place.
Introducing the University Council THE EXECUTIVE MEMBERS
Judge Lucy Mailula
Bernard (Benny) Boshielo
Professor Mbudzeni Mbulaheni Sibara
Professor Herman Joubert
Professor Mahlo Mokgalong
Judge Lucy Mailula became the Chairperson of the Council in January 2008. She was born in Ga-Maphoto, a small village under ten kilometres from the University’s Turfloop campus, where she later studied law, finally emerging as a member of the LLB class of ’81. She did her articles with a Pretoria law firm before working for the Bophuthatswana Attorney General’s Office. She was admitted as an advocate in Bophuthatswana. In 1986 she came to Johannesburg to do pupillage and to practise as an advocate. She was appointed to the bench of the High Court in 1995.
Bernard (Benny) Boshielo completed a BA Degree and a university Education Diploma at UNIN, now the University of Limpopo, in 1987. He taught for eight months before leaving for Amsterdam, Netherlands to obtain a Master’s degree in Education, specialising in ‘Formal Education and Instruction’. Boshielo is currently the CEO of Limpopo Tourism and Parks, a former member of the Limpopo Provincial Legislature and a former MEC for Transport. He is currently serving as a Board Member for SARCC, Capricorn FET Colleges and is the deputy chairperson of the University of Limpopo Council. He is a member of the ANC Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee.
Professor Mbudzeni Mbulaheni Sibara originally trained as a biochemist and microbiologist, and has wide experience of university administration, having served in senior positions at several universities during the institutional mergers that characterised the South African higher education sector during the first decade of the 21st century. His undergraduate degree was obtained from Fort Hare in the late 1970s, with subsequent postgraduate degrees in microbiolgy from Wits, and a PhD in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin (Madison). Professor Sibara worked as a senior academic at the University of the North from 1992 to the end of April 2001. He returned to the University of Limpopo to take up his present position in May 2010.
Professor Herman Joubert achieved his MBChB and MMed in pathology from the University of Pretoria, and is a Fellow of the College of Pathologists in South Africa. He is a member of the HPCSA National Accreditors Forum and the NHLS National Academic Pathology Committee; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the NHLS-Research Trust; Chairman of the NHLS National Chemical Expert Committee; and Coordinator and Examiner for the College of Medicine of SA’s Faculty of Pathology. At Medunsa, he is Director of the School of Pathology and Head of the Department of Chemical Pathology, positions he retains while acting as DVC.
Professor Mahlo Mokgalong has been the University of Limpopo’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal since August 2006. Before that, he served as interim VC from 2003. Mokgalong was born in what is now Limpopo in 1954 and became a student at the University of the North after completing his matric at a school not far from the Turfloop campus. By 1977 he was a research assistant in the Sciences Faculty. After completing his doctorate in parasitology, he was asked to become the deputy dean. And the rest is a history of greater and greater challenge through the 1990s and 2000s, some of the university’s most troubled years.
Introducing the University Council THE ORDINARY MEMBERS
Dr Manyangane Raymond Billa is Chief Executive Officer of Sterkfontein Hospital. He obtained an MBChB (Medunsa) in 1991. In 2010 he received an MSc. in Bioethics and Health Law. He attended courses at the School of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium in 2008; Hearing Procedure and Presiding Officer Course in 2004; Masters in Public Health (Medunsa) in 2002, among others. A maths teacher before establishing his own private general practice in Dobsonville, Billa joined local community clinics as a part-time medical officer. He has been the Head of Medical Services/Medical Superintendent of Tembisa Hospital and CEO at Sterkfontein Hospital. He’s been seconded to both Johannesburg and Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospitals and appointed Director: Clinical Services at the latter in January 2007.
Advocate Bongani Thomas Bongo was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court in 2007 and is a member of the Pretoria Bar Council. He obtained a certificate in Conveyancing and in Practical Legal Training before receiving his LLB from the University of the North in 2002, where he was active in student organisations. As a Council Member of the University of Limpopo he heads the HR development institutional forum. From October 2010 he has been working for the Department of Human Settlements, as an acting Chief Director: Corporate Service. He holds a number of ‘Positions of Trust’ – for example, as a signatory of the Department of Human Settlements with Standard Bank and heading the ‘Investigation into the Affairs of former Bohlabela District’.
Dr Sanette Boshoff has been the Head: Academic Planning at the University of Pretoria since 2005. Previously she had been a member of the management echelon of the Department of Education. Her work in supporting the management of higher education institutions is well-known. Boshoff’s knowledge of higher education policies and the international environment involved her in negotiating and concluding a government to government co-operation agreement, that managed the rollout of three supporting programmes of co-operation/donor programmes. She is a member of the Council’s Audit and Facilities and Tender Committees, as well as the FOTIM Board. She is an alternate member of the Mpumalanga NIHE Board and its Academic Committee. She was awarded her PhD (Botany) by the University of Pretoria in 2002.
Grant Dunnington was appointed Managing Director of SBV Services (Pty) Ltd in September 2001. Previously, Dunnington had spent 17 years at First National Bank. In 1987 he went on secondment to Barclays PLC in Hong Kong for 18 months. After joining the corporate banking division, he was promoted to a Senior Manager role in strategic planning. He was directly involved in the merger between First National Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, and Southern & Momentum in 1998. His appointment as General Manager: Strategy & Communications followed and a year later he became CEO: Generic Services Cluster of FirstRand Bank. Dunnington completed a B.Com degree in 1983 and an Executive Management Programme at UCT. He is also a Chartered Associate of the Institute of Bankers.
Professor Tshepo Gugushe is currently the Director of the School of Oral Health Sciences and serves as a Senate Representative on the University Council. He acquired his tertiary education from the Universities of Fort Hare, Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch. He has served on several committees of the Medical Research Council (MRC), Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), South African Institute of Race Relations, International Association for Dental Research (IADR), the International Federation of Dental Educators and Associations (IFDEA) and as a member of Senate of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. He currently serves as an editorial board member of the European Journal of Dental Education. He has published in both national and international peer reviewed publications.
Hon. Madam Justice Mashangu Monica Leeuw was appointed South Africaâ€™s first woman Judge President in April 2010. Graduating with a BProc in 1976 from the University of the North, she received the Onkgopotse Tiro Excellence Award for her lifetime of work within the South African judicial system in November 2009. While climbing from legal assistant to a public prosecutor and then a senior control prosecutor, Leeuw was simultaneously studying for her LLB. She was the first black woman to do her pupillage at the Pretoria Bar. She was elevated to the bench in 1999 and has served as a High Court Judge in the North West Judicial Division ever since. She is also a permanent judge of South Africaâ€™s Labour Appeal Court.
Mr M Patrick Madidimalo was born and matriculated in Mokomene. He joined the University of the North in 1993 as a laboratory assistant. He joined NEHAWU in 1996, was elected shop steward, and then Regional Secretary later that year until 2001. In 2001 he was elected the Branch Secretary and fulltime Shop Steward in the Turfloop campus’ NEHAWU Office, a position which he still serves. He serves as the Principal Officer of the NEHAWU University of the North Provident Fund, and on the Board of Trustees for the University Retirement fund and Group Life Assurance at the university. He holds a B. Admin degree from the University of Limpopo.
Dr Percy Mahlathi received his tertiary education from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Stellenbosch and University of Fort Hare. He holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (KwaZulu-Natal); Master of Philosophy (Values Based Policy Formulation) (Stellenbosch), PhD (Development Studies) (Fort Hare) and a certificate in Advanced Management Programme (Manchester Business School). His speciality is health workforce planning, development and management. Until recently he was the Deputy DirectorGeneral: National Department of Health, South Africa. Percy is a Fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative – South Africa (ALI-SA), a chapter of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN).
Ms Nare Makuse is a non-senate academic representative of council. She lectures Clinical Nutrition in the department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She has a B. Nutrition and a Master of Science in Public Nutrition from the universities of the North and Venda respectively. She is an executive member of the Association of Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) in the Mopani Branch where she has served in several portfolios since 1998. She has co-authored a chapter in the book: Community Nutrition Text book of South Africa – A Rights Based Approach.
Advocate Michael Lati Mashego is Co-President of Alumni and Convocation and represents Convocation on Council (Turfloop campus). Mashego is a practising attorney, graduating from UNIN, now the University of Limpopo. He obtained his BProc and LLB degrees from the former UNIN and his LLM from RAU (now UJ). Mashego is a member of the Law Society’s special panel, a panelist in all the Bargaining Councils, and a senior commissioner of the CCMA . He also serves the university as a member of the Board of Control at the Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership. Mashego has, for some time, been a part-time lecturer in Mercantile and Labour Law at the university. Many of the university’s law graduates serve articles at Mashego’s law firm.
Professor Teresa-Anne Bagakilwe Mashego has been the HOD of Clinical Psychology at the University of Limpopo, Turfloop campus, since 2007. She is busy – being a member of ten professional societies, 11 university committees and three Community Outreach programmes. Starting her career as a teacher, then the principal of Mothimako High School in 1985, she joined the University of Zululand in 1987 and the University of the North in 1994 as a psychology lecturer. She has a BSc, an Hons BSc and Masters in Clinical Psychology; an MEd from Massachusetts University in the USA, and her PhD from the University of Limpopo. She received three major scholarships to study overseas and has participated in collaborations, achieved a considerable research output and conference participation.
Mr Lesé Winston Joseph Matlhape is the Divisional Executive: Human Capital & Support Services of the IDC (Industrial Development Corporation). Previous positions in Human Resources have been with Telkom, Shell South Africa, SA Phillips and Mine Safety Appliances. He has a BA (Fort Hare), BA Honours (University of Free State), MA (IUP – USA) Master of Management (MM) (Wits), AEP (Unisa), ASCEPE (University of Singapore), AMP (Insead – France). Matlhape is a member of the Institute of Directors, and Chairman of Prilla (SA) and its Human Resources Remuneration Committee, and Trustee of the IDC Provident Fund. He had overseas experiences in resource management at Mine Safety Appliances Co in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and completed an internship at Colgate Palmolive Corp, New York.
Dr Harold Lekgolo Moloto is presently an Orthopaedic Surgeon in private practice and part-time specialist at Mankweng, Lebowakgomo and St Rita's Hospitals. He is a member of the South African Medical Association. He completed his tertiary education at University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and University of Limpopo (Medunsa Campus).
Mr Pandellani Jeremia Nefolovhodwe is a development practitioner, community development facilitator, project manager, trainer and is involved in both business and labour. He has an MBA from De Montfort University in the UK, a BSc degree, a Diploma in Datametrics and certificates from the Coadt International Institute in Canada and the University of the Witwatersrand. He has extensive experience working with trade unions and non-governmental organisations; specialising in organisational and institutional change and capacity building. As a Member of Parliament (2001 â€“ 2009) he served on numerous Portfolio Committees and Observer Missions. He is a Director or Council Member for seven companies and institutions. Presently, he is a director of ISBAYA Development Trust responsible for co-operative development involving 56 villages in the former Transkei.
Professor Mokubung Nkomo is Extraodinary Professor in the Department of Education Management and Policy Studies at the University of Pretoria. He obtained his Masters and PhD degrees at the University of Massachusetts. In 1998 he was appointed Executive Director of Group: Education and Training, at the Human Sciences Research Council and President of the HSRC for a year in 1999. His first book was published in 1984, Student Culture in Black South African Universities. He has co-edited works; written numerous academic articles; served as a consulting editor and as board member for many organisations. In 2009 he was appointed to the UNESCO National Commission for South Africa and is a member of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Discrimination in Higher Education Institutions.
Mr Pheeha Gilbert Phalafala grew up in Polokwane, obtaining a BCom degree from University of the North in 1981. His early career was with BP Oil, Joy Manufacturing, SA Breweries and AECI. With a Chartered Institute of Secretaries qualification he was admitted as an FCIS and FCIBM in 1987. In 1990 he graduated with an HDipTax Law from the University of the Witwatersrand. His entrepreneurial career started in 1992 in the road freight industry. He is now a large poultry farmer in the North West Province. In 1993 he formed Akanani Investment Corporation (now Yakani Group) which is the largest shareholder in Miranda Mineral Holdings and holds 20.5% of the recently listed Ledjadja coal prospect. He lives with his family in Johannesburg.
Mr Maroale Jacob Tanto Rachidi has been active in the ICT industry for the past 32 years. During this period, he distinguished himself in various key performance areas. His career growth path began in teaching (Maths and Science in Matric) and then moving into the ICT industry as a Customer Engineer, Junior Programmer, Programmer, Senior Programmer, Analyst Programmer, Systems Analyst, Senior Systems Analyst, Systems Support Analyst, Project Manager, Programme Manager, and Management Consultant. His current position is CEO of KTS Technology Solutions (Pty) Ltd. He is also a former Exco member of the Computer Society of South Africa (Gauteng Chapter).
Phaswana Stephen Ratlou is currently Excecutive Chairman of Primedia Out of Home. He has been the non-executive director for numerous companies including Primedia Ltd (2000 -2002); Mineworkers Investment Company (from 1998); Africa Vanguard Resources (from 2003); Corridor Mining Resources (2004-2009) and Tab North West (1997-2000). Ratlou has been Deputy Chairman for Asa Metal Pty Ltd (2005-2009) and Chairman of both Limdev Pty Ltd (2005-2009) and Great North Transport (2006-2008). His qualifications include: International Management Certificate â€“ Kyushu International Centre, Japan, 1994; MAP (Management Advancement Programme) Wits Business School, 1997; AEP (Advanced Executive Programme) Unisa Graduate School of Business Science, 1999; BLP (Board Leadership Programme) Gibbs, 2005.