GRASP Volume 3

Page 1


Volume 3 | Issue 1 May 2019

Issue 1 | May 2017

A communication from UP’s Office of Government Relations and Special Projects

Implementing the SDGs in South Africa: Challenges and opportunities In

2015, South Africa adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations (UN), along with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In its research efforts, the University of Pretoria (UP) is committed to contributing towards the SDGs in the process of securing a better life for all. As an expression of its commitment to the UN’s 2030 Agenda, UP is proud to host the South African SDG Hub in the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (ALCRL). The Hub recently launched an SDG publication, aimed at strengthening partnerships between state and non-state actors that are interested in the realisation of the 2030 Agenda. The realisation of these ambitious goals is seen as key to ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth. Based on current country reports, building partnerships between state and non-state actors is viewed as an important requirement for the realisation of the SDGs. It is believed that the University’s SDG publication, which is the first of its kind in the country, will stimulate national dialogue on the topic. According to Prof Willem Fourie, founding coordinator of the South African SDG Hub, the publication, titled Implementing the SDGs in South Africa: Challenges and opportunities, is conceptualised as a “conversation starter”. It brings together contributions from the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, the European Union, the United Nations and academia. Contributors were encouraged to use the shared vocabulary of the SDGs to voice their particular views on challenges and opportunities related to the implementation of the SDGs in South Africa.

The book launch brought together partners from government, the private sector, civil society and multilateral organisations to participate in panel discussions. It included an expert panel discussion on implementing the SDGs in South Africa, made up of panellists, Nonhlanhla Mkhize (Chief Director, Department of Science and Technology), Percy Moleke (Deputy DirectorGeneral, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation), Dr Chris Nshimbi (Director, Centre for Governance Innovation, UP) and Joanne Yawitch (CEO, National Business Initiative). The panel was chaired by Prof Fourie of the South African SDG Hub. Director of the ALCRL, Prof Derick de Jongh, said that the launch of the SDG publication was a proud moment, bringing together stakeholders from business, government, civil society and academia. He explained that their attendance was proof of the significant support for the work the South African SGD Hub does and that this is indicative of the good work that UP is doing in bringing together key SDG role-players.

Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Percy Moleke, Joanne Yawitch and Dr Chris Nshimbi during the panel discussion at the book launch.

UP’s commitment to SDG – Zero Hunger edition

“The launch of the SDG publication brings together stakeholders from business, government, civil society and academia” – Prof Derick de Jongh, Director, ALCRL

He also indicated that the publication is making an important contribution towards not only articulating research agendas, but also emphasising the value of partnerships and coordination in achieving the goals. The publication provides a solid foundation for starting a much-needed conversation around leadership and development, which is something on which the ALCRL places a high premium.



The publication is available to download from new-publication-implementingthe-sdgs-in-south-africa/


GRASP University of Pretoria

From the

Manager’s desk: The Office of Government Relations and Special Projects at the University of Pretoria


welcome our new ViceChancellor and Principal, Prof Tawana Kupe, in this first issue of our third volume of GRASP. In this issue, Prof Kupe has penned his first message to our valuable stakeholders from government and the foreign missions. Prof Kupe reaffirms his own commitment and that of the University to increasing collaboration with government to promote benefits for all: locally, provincially and nationally. He reiterates the University’s vision of improving peoples’ lives on the continent and internationally through relevant research at our institution. This issue focuses on research and collaboration efforts pertaining to food security in support of the second objective of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, achieving Zero Hunger. Hunger remains a barrier to development in many countries on the continent. Furthermore, UP researchers are working with government to find solutions for food safety and food security. We also reflect on how the University has contributed to the Department of Arts and Culture’s efforts to build support for South Africa’s heritage economy, and how it promotes engagement with the values of our celebrated Constitution through the Schools’ Moot Court competition. We report on various initiatives in support of government by Enterprises University of Pretoria, including the entity’s work in support of the National Spatial Development Framework. This Framework, by virtue of its transformative nature, constitutes one of the pillars of a peaceful and prosperous South Africa. We also reflect on a recent report that shows how UP spending contributes R39 billion to the economy of the country in support of South Africa’s prosperity. On the international relations front, we acknowledge the generous funding received from the Embassy of the United States for UP’s Mapungubwe Archives, and report on the exploits of UP veterinarians in Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia to safely remove the infected tusk of an elephant. We also celebrate awards received by UP researchers from L’Oreal-UNESCO, among others. In our regular column on transformation, we present UP’s Transformation Charter, which provides a comprehensive view of the approach to change at the University. Our focus on UP alumni who are excelling in government employment moves to the local government sphere in Mpumalanga, where Margaret Skosana, a Civil Engineering Honours graduate from UP, serves as Municipal Manager in the Nkangala District Municipality. We trust that you will find this issue of GRASP interesting and informative. As always, we welcome your feedback on published articles. We thank those who have written to us in response to previous issues. Do not hesitate to contact us should you need any information on the University. We will ensure that it is channelled to the appropriate office for a response. Prof Denver Hendricks Manager: Government Relations and Special Projects (GRaSP)


UP’s commitment to SDG 2: Zero Hunger Extreme hunger and malnutrition remain a huge barrier to development in many countries. According to the United Nations Development Programme, there are more than 820 million people estimated to be chronically undernourished since 2017. This is often a direct consequence of environmental degradation, drought and biodiversity loss. Undernourishment and severe food insecurity appear to be increasing in regions in Africa and South America. As such, the United Nations has, as its second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), the quest to achieve Zero Hunger. In support of this goal, UP underwrites research and innovation in the fields of food safety and security. In this regard, the University hosts various research entities within the institution that produce research outputs to support SDG 2. These include the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being (IFNuW), the SARChI Chair in Nutrition and Food Security, the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security (jointly hosted with the University of the Western Cape), and the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Food Security.

GRASP University of Pretoria


UP researchers take centre stage in food safety and security dialogue

from the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Tawana Kupe


the devastating effects of the 2018 Listeriosis outbreak, the country has seen renewed vigour in its work in the fields of food safety and food security. To this effect, UP participates in a range of food safety and security-related initiatives and research efforts. From 15 to 17 October 2018, UP co-hosted the second International Conference of Food Safety and Security, in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg, the Agricultural Research Council, the Human Sciences Research Council, the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security, the University of the Western Cape and the Department of Science and Technology. The theme of the conference was “Next Generation Food Safety Technologies to Address the Sustainable Development Goals”. The conference was planned to coincide with World Food Day and was attended by representatives from 17 countries. The conference included insights into hard-core science and thoughtprovoking developments in food safety from around the world. The conference was structured in such a way that it highlighted key issues relevant to food safety and security in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. These issues included current and emerging microbial foodborne pathogens, zoonosis and biosecurity risks through the transboundary movement of pathogens, antimicrobial resistance in the agro-ecosystem, pesticides and mycotoxins as a food safety challenge, risk assessment, risk management and risk communication, as well as consumer perceptions and attitudes in relation to food safety and food security. The opening address was delivered by UP’s Vice-Principal: Research and Postgraduate Education, Prof Stephanie Burton, and significant contributions to the dialogue were made by Prof Lise Korsten from UP’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Prof Korsten’s research raised much concern regarding the current status of processed meat in the country. During the Listeriosis crisis in South Africa, Prof Korsten and her team sampled 344 polonies belonging to 77 brands, from December 2016 to April 2018. Of these, 4.07% were positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Three-quarters of the positives were collected prior to the recall of processed meats, while the balance were collected after the recall. The diversity of brands that tested positive for the pathogen indicates that the problem is not limited to the brands that were publicly linked to the outbreak, and that food safety remains a pressing national concern. In concluding the conference, Prof Korsten called for the creation of a platform in South Africa where scientists, regulators and industry can collaborate to create #thefuturewewant.


to the first edition of the third volume of GRASP. This is my first contribution since being appointed as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria in January 2019. GRASP speaks to all three spheres of the South African government and its agencies, as well as foreign missions, and regional and international government structures in the country. I am honoured to have been appointed as the leader of this prestigious institution, and look forward to building on the successes of my predecessors and to working with government to achieve this end. Government is one of the University’s most important stakeholders. Not only does government contribute substantially to the financial sustainability of higher education in South Africa, it also creates the legal and policy framework within which we function. The relationship is, of course, a mutually beneficial one, as higher education institutions fulfill a critical role in developing the skills and knowledge upon which our development as a nation and continent depends. Our impact extends further afield by virtue of the knowledge that we produce being universally applicable. That is why we keep foreign missions informed of developments at UP. A recent, independent study based on 2016 data showed that UP’s direct, indirect and induced impact, along with its capital expenditure, increased its Tshwane-wide output to R17.2 billion, its Gauteng-wide effect to R22.4 billion and its countrywide economic impact to R38.9 billion. That, I believe, is not insignificant for a single institution. UP is a vibrant institution. I see it as a hidden jewel in the South African higher education landscape. It is the largest contact and residential university in South Africa, and its total enrollment currently stands at 55 000 students. We hope to increase this number to 75 000 by 2025. We strive towards, and are succeeding in providing access to education to the largest possible number of people, which enables society to address poverty, unemployment and inequality. Thirty percent of our students are postgraduates who benefit from the quality and experiences of our highly qualified academic and research staff. Our high-quality programmes produce well-educated and trained professionals, as well as future academics who contribute to transforming lives, communities, the country and the continent. I commit to sustain and improve on our performance in that regard with the continued support of government. The University interacts and collaborates with government on such a wide range of initiatives that it is difficult to capture this in one place. I hope, however, that this newsletter gives you a glimpse into our impactful research, teaching and training collaboration, the transformation of UP, and how some of our graduates are performing in government positions. In this regard, I am honoured to welcome the Honourable Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Naledi Pandor, to the ranks of our esteemed alumni. I invite you to contact UP’s Office of Government Relations and Special Projects should you require any further information about our institution, or about opportunities for collaborative projects. We are on your doorstep in Tshwane and look forward to working with you.

UP Vision: To be a leading research-intensive university in Africa, recognised internationally for its quality, relevance and impact, and also for developing people, creating knowledge and making a difference locally and globally. 3

GRASP University of Pretoria

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS – FOOD SAFETY AND SECURITY Collaborative Centre of Excellence launched at UP


recently added another research entity with the potential to support food safety and security research to its ranks. The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Food Security was launched on UP’s Future Africa Campus in December 2018. It was awarded to UP with the University of Nairobi and the University of Ghana, Legon, as partners, and the University of the Western Cape and the University of Fort Hare as associate members. The aim of the Centre is to create an engaging network of talented researchers to move institutions forward in finding solutions to food security challenges in Africa. The intention is not to duplicate efforts, but to create a critical mass of researchers working synergistically. It will, therefore, increase the networks of each participating institution and heighten the transfer of knowledge, which will have an effect on food policy in Africa. The Centre brings together a consortium of African and international partners who will conduct research on how to improve Africa’s herds and how to revive under-utilised crops, as well as look at ways to produce safe and nutritious consumer-driven food, among other topics. It will also provide technical advice on policy issues. In its research efforts, the Centre will partner with several role-players, including the South African Agricultural Research Council, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, the Food and Natural Resources Policy Advocacy Network, the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy and the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development Fellowship.

COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES: UP researcher calls for the sustainable regulation of food sales in the informal sector.


Co-Director of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security, Prof Lise Korsten, has undertaken numerous research projects focused on food safety. Prof Korsten and her team are currently conducting research on food safety in Atteridgeville, Mamelodi and Soshanguve, as well as the Plastic View and Zama-Zama informal settlements. Here, the food supply is often controlled by different factions or groups who move large volumes of food into these areas. This is then distributed via spaza shops or street vendors. The food supplies include products such as rice, powdered milk, tea, coffee, sugar, maize, spices, fresh produce and meat. The overarching problem is that it is unclear where the food is coming from and who exactly is controlling the supply chain. Communities living in informal settlements in South Africa face the threat of contracting a range of foodborne and waterborne illnesses


During the launch, the Centre’s Director, Prof Hettie Schönfeldt from UP’s Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, indicated that finding solutions to food security challenges in Africa is a huge and challenging task. She remarked that African countries are confronted with the burden of malnutrition resulting from the deficiency of both macro- and micronutrients, in addition to diseases associated with being overweight, as well as by consistently high instances of undernourishment. According to Prof Schönfeldt, although African countries may produce and import enough energy per person per day, energy alone does not ensure nourished communities. High intakes of low-cost, low-nutrient, higher-energy staple foods contribute to malnutrition, while food waste and loss reduce the availability of safe and preferable foods. She also noted that these problems are exacerbated by the fact that Africa is faced with the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. In many African countries, large proportions of the population rely on agriculture not only for their food, but also for their livelihoods. In this regard, Prof Schönfeldt explained that a transformed agricultural and food system is necessary to address these challenges. There is thus an urgent need for a far greater focus on the full value chain of food production, from concept to commercialisation, bridging the innovation chasm. Such an approach requires the coordination of a range of stakeholders, including academics, indigenous knowledge holders, industry, science organisations and governments in Africa to ensure progress.

as a result of this unregulated food supply. This is particularly concerning when one considers that those who live in these areas represent a large portion of immunocompromised people. The situation is made worse by poor sanitation conditions such as inadequate waste and sewage removal and a lack of access to clean drinking water. Because lower income groups typically cannot afford to buy large quantities of food, there is a market for the sale of smaller volumes in informal settlements. One can, for example, purchase milk powder or coffee in a small unlabelled plastic bag, which begs questions such as: what is in the product, who manufactured it, and what is the expiry date? In this way, it is impossible to display critical information that must be provided according to national labelling regulations, which means that the food system has been compromised for the very poor. The chances of exposure to contaminated food in informal settlements are also increased through the lack of access to clean water used for rinsing and a lack of fridges, resulting in the unsuitable environmental conditions under which products are being stored, prepared or sold. All these factors exacerbate microbial growth, resulting in unsafe food. Prof Korsten’s biggest concern is the sale of unregulated meat products that may be contaminated with listeria monocytogenes or other pathogens that can cause cross-contamination. Research projects such as this provide the ideal opportunity for constructive collaboration between the University and government to action visible change. Prof Korsten is calling for the development of sustainable regulation systems to improve food safety in the informal sector, including food sales in informal settlements. This cannot be done without meaningful government intervention. Collaboration opportunities can be initiated through UP’s Office of Government Relations and Special Projects.

GRASP University of Pretoria

SUPPORTING NATIONAL GOVERNMENT Building support for South Africa’s heritage economy


support of Heritage Month, celebrated in September each year, UP’s Department of Historical and Heritage Studies in the Faculty of Humanities hosted a seminar in collaboration with the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) and the National Heritage Council (NHC). The seminar was led by the Department’s Hannes Engelbrecht and Kim Ngobeni, and covered topics that centred on the celebration of heritage by connecting to the past and taking action to preserve heritage and heritage sites for the future. Both SAHRA and the NHC are responsible for the protection, conservation and sustainable use of South African cultural heritage under the auspices of the Department of Arts and Culture. SAHRA focuses on the tangible aspects of heritage such as cultural property, archaeological sites, heritage structures, shipwrecks, monuments, archives and museums, while NHC functions as the coordinating body of heritage management in South Africa through its focus on policy, which also extends to the preservation of intangible cultural heritage.

The seminar exposed the University’s students to these heritage statutory bodies in order to highlight their roles. Because the students are the future heritage practitioners of South Africa, they need to be made aware of what the sector does to promote and preserve heritage sites. This notion was echoed by SAHRA Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Kgokolo. It is crucial for historical and heritage spaces to be preserved as they have the potential to boost the heritage economy of the country through tourism. Prof Vasu Reddy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, said that the relationship between the University and the relevant statutory bodies that govern the non-renewable heritage resources in South Africa will make a real change and contribution towards continuing a conversation around meaning and preservation. In this regard, the UP Master’s degree in Tangible Heritage Conservation will ensure that a community of specialists is trained to preserve valuable artworks and heritage objects.

Bringing the Constitution to future generations


“One law for one nation.”

South African National Schools’ Moot Court Competition is a celebration of the country’s Constitution. It encourages South African schools and communities to engage with the values of the Constitution and prepares learners to become critical thinkers, debators and future litigators. UP is proud to be associated with this programme in support of the Department of Basic Education. Since its inception in 2011, the competition has explored various sections of the Bill of Rights such as equality, freedom of expression and human dignity. In this way, young people are offered a platform for dialogue to experiment with the actual application of the country’s supreme law. Learners undertake workshops to which UP contributes as part of the preparation process, and arguments in the final round are made at the Constitutional Court of South Africa in Johannesburg.

Supporting the National Spatial Development Framework


spatial development is one of the pillars of a peaceful and prosperous South Africa. In this regard, Enterprises University of Pretoria, the University’s external research and continuing education entity, led a multidisciplinary team of built environment specialists in the compilation of South Africa’s first National Spatial Development Framework (NSDF). The Framework was developed for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), along with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). It will establish a spatial vision and overarching development strategy for the country that is aligned to the goals and objectives of the National Development Plan, and that gives effect to the development principles of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, Act No. 16 of 2013. To support government implementers, and to ensure sustainable capacity building, Enterprises University of Pretoria also developed the NSDF Young Planners Programme in collaboration with specialists from Satplan Alpha, MCA Urban and Environmental

Planners, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), DRDLR and Mandala GIS. The programme comprises four short courses in national-level planning that have been specifically designed to nurture the skills needed for national planning in South Africa, and for future iterations of the NSDF.

The first group of young planning professionals in the NSDF Young Planners Programme.


GRASP University of Pretoria

UP helps SANRAL to pave new ways


from UP’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology have contributed to SANRAL’s construction of an integral-design bridge at the Van Zyl Spruit in the Free State. The design eliminates the installation of metal expansion joints and bearings, and has the potential to extend the life of the bridge. The project received the Fulton Award for Innovation from the Concrete Society of South Africa. UP also supports the transportation sector in a three-way partnership with SANRAL and the CSIR through its establishment of a future transportation hub on the University’s Hillcrest Campus. The hub will host an integrated education, national certification, national reference and research laboratory facility.

SUPPORTING PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT Livestock farmers and pet owners play a key role in combatting devastating veterinary diseases in the country. It is therefore essential that they receive the services they need to keep their animals healthy.

UP vets serve rural areas in Mpumalanga


from UP’s Faculty of Veterinary Science engage in a compulsory community service programme. This year, a group of 24 young veterinary graduates were deployed to Mpumalanga to offer their much-needed services in the province’s rural areas. The 2019 cohort was welcomed by the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA). The programme takes the form of a year-long contract. Mpumalanga MEC, Vusi Shongwe, explained that the veterinarians will, among other things, monitor possible outbreaks of diseases that have economic consequences, such as foot and mouth disease, rabies and anthrax. They will also be attending to pets in the municipalities in which they have been placed. Livestock farmers and pet owners can rely on these graduates for services at their nearest DARDLEA offices. The compulsory community service programme was launched in 2016 by the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). It is aimed at promoting the accessibility of veterinary services, particularly in under-served and resourcepoor areas, and distributing veterinary services in an equitable manner.


Working for solutions to borer beetle threats


presence of the polyphagous short hole borer beetle has been noted in urban trees all over the country since UP researcher, Dr Trudy Paap, first reported it in early 2017. What makes the beetle so destructive is its mutually beneficial relationship with three species of fungi, including the pathogen Fusarium euwallaceae. The adult female beetles bore through the bark of the trees into the sapwood and inoculate the fungus, which grows in the tunnels the beetles have created. The fungus then serves as food for the beetle. The latest infestation has been reported in the scenic avenue of plane trees in the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens. UP researchers have already provided their assistance to the George Local Municipality in the Southern Cape in relation to this devastating problem. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has established a working committee to coordinate and monitor research efforts in this regard with the aim of implementing control and management strategies to limit the further spread of the beetles. UP’s Forestry and Agricultural Biodiversity Institute (FABI) forms part of this working committee.

GRASP University of Pretoria

UP spending contributes R39 billion to South Africa’s economy The results of a report by the independent research company, Quantec Research, found that UP and its value chain contributed R39 billion to the South African economy based on data from 2016. The University’s impact on the national economy was made through its capital expenditure, the payment of tax, its employment of staff, its use of suppliers and the subsequent employment creation, as well as the consumption expenditure of its more than 48 900 contact students at the time. The study was based on an input-output model, which represents the interaction between industries, households and government in the South African economy. The model simulates the multiplying effect of each R1,00 spent by UP as it cycles through the economy. In this way, the impact of UP and its suppliers (direct and indirect effects), as well as household spending by people involved with these institutions (induced effects) on output, employment and taxation can be quantified. UP is a major employer in the Tshwane region. At the time of data collection, UP employed about 6 700 people, which constituted 0.5% of the total employment in Tshwane. The total formal jobs supported by UP’s operations and student expenditure amounted to 10 561 jobs in 2016, of which around 55% were highly skilled jobs, 41% skilled and semi-skilled jobs, and 4% unskilled jobs. In this regard, UP contributed 1.5% of the highly skilled employment base in the city. In addition, the operations of UP and its suppliers, along with the purchases by households that derive their income from these institutions, supported 27 300 jobs in Gauteng and 43 400 jobs in South Africa.


R647.6 million During 2016, UP spent R647.6 million on new buildings as well as improvements to existing buildings.


Personal taxes paid on behalf of employees: R1.2 billion When UP’s entire value chain contribution is added, its economywide tax impact was larger than its government subsidy of R2 billion in the year under review (2016).

GRADUATES Based on statistics from the Department of Higher Education and Training, UP produced the following between 2001 and 2016:

UP and its suppliers contributed R7.9 billion to household income in Tshwane in 2016, made a Gauteng-wide impact of R11.5 billion, and contributed R16.59 billion of the total South African domestic household income. The total contribution of UP and its direct, indirect and induced effects constitute 8.1% of Tshwane’s regional GDP. This means that for every R1,00 spent by the University, R1,93 was added to the Tshwane region. The study indicated that UP employees use their salaries and wages to purchase goods and services from other business, which in turn make purchases and employ other people who also spend their salaries and wages throughout the regional, provincial and national economies. Student expenditure amounted to an estimated R6.95 billion, of which 14.5% was on products and services in the wholesale, retail, catering and accommodation sector.

10% of South African graduates 23.8% of Gauteng graduates 33.9% of Tshwane graduates HUMAN CAPITAL In 2016, UP awarded 8.9% of the total number of degrees in South Africa in that year. Of this, it produced 8.9% of qualifications in the scarce skills areas of science, engineering and technology, and 11.5% of postgraduate qualifications. UP graduates represented 13.7% of the highly skilled workforce in Gauteng and 7.7% in South Africa in 2016.



The change in UP’s demographic profile in the year under review (2016) is a testament to the University’s commitment to transformation.

52.5% black staff 53.6% black students 45.3% African students 7

GRASP University of Pretoria

INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION UP’s Mapungubwe Archive receives generous preservation funding from the US Embassy

The celebratory signing ceremony took place between UP’s Registrar, Prof Caroline Nicholson, and the US Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires, Jessica Lapenn.


is the proud host of the country’s most comprehensive collection of archaeological and historical material associated with Mapungubwe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In its efforts to preserve this valuable cultural heritage, the Archive was awarded a R830 000 grant through the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. The grant will be used to preserve irreplaceable documentary and photographic historical records related to the Mapungubwe Archive. Since 2001, the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation has provided global financial support to significant cultural heritage projects around the world. Its purpose is to demonstrate respect for the world’s cultural heritage. Over 100 countries competed for this grant, with UP’s Mapungubwe Archive representing a collection from South Africa. This is the second time the University has been honoured with this grant, the first time being in 2013. During that funding period, UP Museums received an award for the conservation of the Middle Iron Age ivory and bone tool collection from Mapungubwe, which is now on permanent exhibition. It is a rare occurrence for a university museum to receive this grant twice. It suggests that UP is becoming a local leader in its preservation and conservation efforts. The US Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires said that UP’s proposal was selected in recognition of its important local and future global impact. Documents and photographic records that will be preserved with the support of this grant relate to important aspects of colonial and apartheid history. They include oral histories, cartographic records and photographs, as well as personal and formal correspondence. These items have been collected through UP’s research of Mapungubwe since 1933. The Mapungubwe Archive project is set to be completed by April 2020. It requires the creation of a stable and controlled archival environment that includes internal housing, and acid-free storage and boxing for the primary archival records. The UP team members are currently knee-deep in sorting, appraising, cataloging and preserving well over 60 000 historical documents


The aim of the grant is to preserve South African heritage for South Africans. UP is committed to preserving the country’s cultural heritage by developing the Mapungubwe Archive for future researchers to reach new insights into our shared history. This archive will be the only one of its kind in the country. and an incalculable amount of photographs. The preservation of these records will leave a lasting legacy as it is envisaged that the Mapungubwe Archive will become part of the UP Archives, one of the best university archives in South Africa. The long-term goal of the preservation project is to increase the sustainability and accessibility of institutional archives, and to create awareness of the historical material. In the future, it would be ideal to have the records digitised for ease of access for students. This will bring about research opportunities, supported by a once-untapped archive. UP’s commitment to preserving the country’s historical and heritage archives recognises that, as a higher education institution, it has immense potential to impact on South Africa’s cultural heritage. Although the Mapungubwe Archive is only a small part of the wider South African historical archive, it has become a human lens into individuals, people, personalities and personas. In this way, UP has the potential to fill historiographic gaps of colonial and apartheid history, in addition to many other defining events in modern South Africa. In support of this goal, the ongoing partnership between UP and the US Embassy continues to grow from strength to strength. For further queries, contact the Head of the Mapungubwe Archive, Dr Sian Tiley-Nel:

GRASP University of Pretoria

UP vets save a stricken tusker


UP veterinarians were called to the Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia to safely remove the infected tusk of an Asian elephant bull. Prof Gerhard Steenkamp and Dr Adrian Tordiffe are both lecturers in UP’s Faculty of Veterinary Science. They specialise in the fields of animal dentistry and maxillofacial surgery, and veterinary pharmacology respectively. Grand is a 23-year-old elephant bull standing at a hight of 3.5 m. It is believed that the damage to his tusk occurred during his transportation to the zoo in 2013. The procedure to remove the tusk, with a root of 35 cm, was made difficult amid Georgia’s ban on the use of opioids, the narcotics used in anaesthetics. Dr Tordiffe was thus tasked with using an unfamiliar drug to ensure the safe sedation of the elephant. Although etorphine is the opiad typically used for the initial immobilisation and maintenance of anaesthesia in elephants, a combination of butorphanol, azaperone and medetomidine (BAM) had to be used in this case. Once the elephant was lying down, additional ketamine and medetomidine drugs were administered to keep the elephant sedated. Dr Tordiffe said that, although BAM had no published studies of use in elephants, he found it particularly effective and would be using it in future procedures. Once the elephant was asleep, Prof Steenkamp used specifically designed chisels to painstakingly loosen the tusk, and then to break it into pieces in order to remove it. Prof Steenkamp has been developing techniques to treat elephant tusks since 1998. Although Grand’s operation was a success, his body condition remains poor and he is underweight. In this regard, the UP team provided the zoo with recommendations for improving Grand’s diet.

Strengthening the response to airborne communicable infections


an effort to empower architects, engineers and other professionals working within the construction industry with information about infection control hazards, Enterprises University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the CSIR, recently presented the Architectural and Engineering Approaches to Infection Control short course. The programme was funded by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC), and brought together local and international technical experts on the matter.

UP hosts Korean Ambassador’s Cup Taekwondo Championship


competition aims to promote the national sport of Korea in South Africa in order to strengthen the cultural and sporting relationship between the two countries. It was hosted on UP’s Hillcrest Campus during November 2018.

National award for shared heritage railways project


shared heritage project between UP’s Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology and Enterprises University of Pretoria, supported by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Pretoria, was honoured with the highest national award for architecture.

Female researcher honoured by UNESCO


UP scientists conducting research in sub-Saharan Africa are among a group of 14 women who were recently awarded fellowships by L’Oréal-UNESCO for the Women in Science Regional Programme. Each of the fellows received a research grant aimed at promoting gender equality. • Dr Marilize Everts specialises in the heat transfer and pressure drop of high viscosity fluids in solar receiver tubes. • Fiona Mumoki specialises in the role of brood pheromones in inhibiting dominance in honey bee reproductive parasites. • Andrea Wilson specialises in sexual reproduction in Huntiella species. • Madelien Wooding specialises in the chemical communication between the malaria-carrying mosquito and its human host.

The research project is called NZASM: Footsteps along the tracks. It was the recipient of the Corobrik South African Institute for Architecture (SAIA) Award for Excellence in Architecture, which is the highest accolade for architecture that the Institute can bestow on any project. It assesses the built residue of the rapid rail expansion in South Africa by the Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij between 1887 and 1902. The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to South Africa, Marisa Gerards, indicated that South Africa and the Netherlands share a long and unique bond. She believes that the traces left by our past are important clues to understand how our identities and cooperation were shaped, but also how they transformed and evolved over time. The Embassy’s support of projects such as this provide a starting point for conversations around shared knowledge. The NZASM: Footsteps along the tracks project was also made possible through collaboration with the South African Heritage Resources Agency and Transnet.


GRASP University of Pretoria

UP Transformation Charter Our historical background When our founding institution, the Pretoria branch of the Transvaal University College (TUC), was established in 1908, it had 32 white students. Although Dutch and English were the official languages of the TUC at that time, English was the language of instruction. Afrikaans became the second language of instruction in 1917. Thirteen years later, an Act of Parliament established the TUC as the University of Pretoria (UP). From 1932, Afrikaans became the sole medium of instruction at the University.

Transformation is at the heart of all our ongoing strategic initiatives, which focus, among others, on academic success, research excellence, curriculum transformation, community engagement, gender and social justice, disability awareness, anti-discrimination and culture change.

With the dawn of democracy in 1994, English became the second language of instruction. In 2017, the UP Council approved that English would become the language of instruction from 2019.

Our transformation journey Since the advent of democracy in South Africa, we have taken bolder and more intentional steps in our ongoing journey of transformation.

Today, the University of Pretoria has more than 50 000 students – the majority of whom are black and female – located in nine faculties. Our vision Our vision is to become a leading research-intensive University in Africa, recognised internationally for its quality, relevance and impact, and also for developing people, creating knowledge and making a difference locally and globally. We regard transformation as an integral part of the vision, mission and operations of the University. Our transformation goals Given the social and economic disparities caused by the legacy of the past, we recognise the crucial role of the higher education sector in the development of South African society. Accordingly, UP has identified the following as its transformation-specific goals: • To ensure access to a diverse student body, reflective of the demographic mix and social complexity of South Africa. • To significantly reduce and ultimately eliminate differential student success and graduation rates based on race, gender, class and other critical variables. • To ensure the realisation of employment equity as set in the University’s Employment Equity Plan. • To enhance the research capacity and productivity of black and female academics. • To engender institutional cultures and practices that are welcoming to students and staff from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. • To ensure that the University has an impact on the social and economic wellbeing of South African society. Our approach to transformation Guided by our values of diversity, inclusivity, equity and integrity, we fully embrace our transformation mandate, which includes among others, the production of a skilled workforce that will make a meaningful contribution to the national, continental and global economy. We facilitate equity of access and provide a fair chance of success to all our hard-working students whom we recruit from different social and economic backgrounds. By putting our teaching and research resources at the disposal of our students and staff, we contribute to the development of an informed society, a culture of tolerance and democracy, as well as the promotion of sustainable development.


We regard transformation as a journey through which the University improves its ability to respond meaningfully to the needs of our society.

Whereas black contact students constituted only 11% of the total contact student body in 1994, they made up 54% of our contact students in 2016. The representation of permanently employed black people among our staff rose from 33% in 2006 to 53% by 2016. Since 1997, the majority of our students have been female (53% in 2006 and 54% in 2016). Over the past decade, our graduation, qualification completion and student employability rates, as well as research and subject rankings by key university ranking agencies, have been improving. Transformation cuts across all university structures, processes and policies. Mainstreaming transformation While the ultimate responsibility for the realisation of our transformation goals lies with the University Council and the Executive, our transformation priorities are structurally embedded into the committee system of all our faculties and support service departments. We also have an institutional transformation office and an institutional transformation committee, whose main task is to promote the transformation of institutional culture. Since transformation is a central motif and a key objective of the UP 2025 Strategy, it is integral to the shorter-term strategies and plans derived from it. The latter include, among others, the UP 2017–2021 Plan, the UP Employment Equity Plan and the Transformation Implementation Plan. Some of the key policies that are specifically designed to facilitate our institutional transformation effort include those dealing with the language of instruction, curriculum transformation, overall student experience, employment equity, disability awareness, sexual harassment and unfair discrimination. We carefully monitor and evaluate the implementation of the transformation agenda of the University. Monitoring and evaluation In order to ensure the delivery of our transformation objectives, we annually track our progress, appraise our performance and implement the necessary remedies. To this end, we set clear annual transformation goals, establish key transformation indicators and identify the requisite strategies. Our commitment The University of Pretoria proudly takes its place among fellow South African universities, determined to make its own contribution to the comprehensive development of our young democracy and in the transformation of South African society.

GRASP University of Pretoria

Transformation achievements Implementation of the revised language policy

ALUMNI FOCUS Our alumni are our most enduring asset



revised language policy has been implemented institution-wide since January 2019. The purpose of the policy is to determine language planning, management and practice at the University in a framework that promotes academic quality, equality and social cohesion, as well as to redress imbalances. The revised language policy seeks to promote inclusiveness and social cohesion, while guarding against exclusivity and marginalisation, and in this way contributes to creating an environment where all students and staff feel confident and comfortable and can enjoy a sense of belonging. It recognises the intrinsic value of the diverse linguistic backgrounds that students and staff bring to the University, and promote multilingualism in all South African languages, with specific responsibility for the development of Sepedi to the highest level of scholarship. English is now the language of teaching and learning at UP, except in cases where the object of study is a language other than English and in programmes with profession-specific language outcomes, subject to approval by Senate. English is also the language of official communication and administration institution-wide. To support learning where feasible, UP will adequately resource the development of Sepedi to a higher level of scientific discourse and support the maintenance of Afrikaans as a language of scholarship. It will also encourage and enable students and staff formally and informally to learn other South African languages. Learning support for language and visually impaired students and staff will be prioritised.

New names for UP residences


part of its broader transformation project, UP has renamed some of its residences with African names. The aim of this endeavour is to provide for a more multilingual, multicultural and inclusive living environment for students. Residence house committees were requested to host discussions in their respective residences to make suggestions for alternative names. In view of the unique environment in each residence, each residence was responsible for determining its own process in this regard. Residences used house meetings, transformation committee discussions, surveys, e-voting and consultations with alumni to reach decisions. The processes were consultative and inclusive. Name changes have been approved by the University Council and will be phased in over time. The proposed changes have been received positively.

Overcoming adversity to become an implementer of positive change


Skosana is the youngest Municipal Manager in the Mpumalanga Province, where she ensures that Nkangala District Municipality maintains its clean audit status. However, the road that has brought her here has not been without its challenges. After completing matric in 1997, she decided to pursue a career in civil engineering. She registered at the Technikon Northern Gauteng for a National Diploma in Civil Engineering, which she completed in record time. Her achievements included being awarded the Best National Diploma Student in Civil Engineering by the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE) in 2001. Upon graduation, she joined BKS Consulting (now AECOM), where she had completed her practical in-service training, as a senior technician in the Bridge Department. In 2004, she embarked on further studies, obtaining a BTech degree in Transportation from the Tshwane University of Technology in 2007, followed in 2012 by a BSc honours (Applied Science) degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pretoria, specialising in transport planning, and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree from North-West University in 2018. She managed to accomplish her achievements despite life-changing challenges. In 2004, she was involved in a motor vehicle accident that left her in a wheelchair at the age of 23. This was a very difficult period in her life, but it was during this time that she succeeded in displaying the characteristics of a strong leader who refused to give up on her dream. Margaret commented that, while studying at UP, she faced challenges of accessibility when the classes she had to attend were located two floors below ground level without lifts to ensure accessibility. Her husband had to come to assist her during lunch time to navigate the staircases for her to access ablution facilities, have lunch and then take her back for afternoon classes. This was, however, improved in the second semester when her classes were changed to accessible venues. She implores institutions to do more to improve accessibility for people living with disabilities. The quality of education at UP, she indicates, is of a high level and the administration efficient. A qualification from UP, she comments, is one to be proud of. It is offered by highly skilled and professional lecturers. In 2005, she joined Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality in Groblersdal as a Project Management Unit Manager responsible for the implementation of infrastructure capital projects. In 2007, she was promoted to Director: Technical Services. Upon expiry of her contract, she was appointed Director: Technical Services in Thembisile Hani Local Municipality, but returned to her former employer four months later as Municipal Manager. She has recently been elected Chairperson of the Provincial Municipal Manager’s Forum for the Mpumalanga Province.


GRASP University of Pretoria



University of Pretoria is UP’s external research and continuing education entity. It was established following a strategic decision to develop a formal structure to organise the University’s interaction with the private sector and government. The continuing professional development of government officials is essential to ensure sustainable good governance. There are numerous opportunities to achieve such a goal through collaboration with Enterprises University of Pretoria, particularly through the short courses on offer.

Contributions to the management and governance of incubation programmes Incubation programmes should typically be designed to strengthen technology commercialisation and to harness the entrepreneurship of the technology community in South Africa. These programmes should develop skills, knowledge and markets with the intention of leading to increased profitability and growth for entrepreneurs, as well as small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs). In this way, enterprises will be able to enter new markets with cutting-edge products and services, and thus enable the creation of greater employment opportunities. Due to the recent growth in the number of business incubators, a need was identified to pay specific attention to the management and governance of such programmes. In this regard, Enterprises University of Pretoria developed the Incubation Governance and Management Development Programme (IGMDP) in collaboration with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) of the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD), and the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). Seda was tasked to be the programme manager and implementing partner, while Enterprises University of Pretoria was contracted to develop a training programme specifically for this sector of the ecosystem. Mandisa Tshikwatamba, CEO of Seda, said that, in the South African context, business incubators drive the transformation agenda and promote economic inclusion to undo the legacy of the past, and that their management and operation therefore need competent individuals who are capable of developing startups into scalable and sustainable enterprises. IGMDP seeks to improve skills to effectively manage and ensure good governance at incubators, as well as upskill incubation managers. The course modules include the business incubation ecosystem, governance, marketing and stakeholder management, human resource and operations management, financial management, innovation and technology transfer, incubator management simulation and a business model design research project. The next intake for the 2019 calendar year will open on 1 August 2019. Please visit the website for more information:


Premier management training for the local taxi industry The taxi industry in South Africa is a crucial component of economic activity consisting of several stakeholders from employer/taxi owners, drivers, patrollers, queue marshals and administrators to customers in the streets, all whom make up different communities. As such, UP believes that an administratively sound taxi industry, led by well-informed and progressive leaders, can have a deep and lasting impact on the lives of many people on a day-to-day basis. In this regard, Enterprises University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Toyota South Africa, has developed two premier management training programmes geared towards upskilling the local taxi industry. The Toyota Ses’fikile Training Programme aims to help enhance operations in the local taxi industry. At the heart of the programme is the undertaking to provide members of taxi associations with basic business and management skills in an effort to ensure that the taxi industry continues to play a meaningful role in the country’s economic development. The aim of the courses is to train 120 delegates per year per programme, focusing on integrating and synergising organisational activities within delegates’ work environments and communities on the basis of a profound understanding of the value chain perspective. Government support for initiatives such as this has the potential to bring about largescale reform in one of South Africa’s essential industries. Course leader, Prof Melanie Wiese, explains that delegates are equipped with skills that can be transferred to their associations and the community at large. Through this platform, delegates from different taxi associations can work together to create a mutual understanding among the associations to improve the taxi industry as a whole. The course is facilitated by a collection of industry specialists and lecturers from UP, who present a variety of topics, including computer literacy, basic financial management and entrepreneurship. Over 500 taxi members have been upskilled so far. Alpheus Mlalazi, General Secretary of the National Taxi Association, notes that this project is demystifying an industry that serves millions of people.