NMMU announces appointment of new Business School Director
Dear Colleagues, Alumni and friends
On behalf of the University Council, it gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of educationist and businessman Dr Randall Jonas as the new Business School director, from January 2017.
Dr Jonas brings with him a wealth of relevant business experience from industry and education to NMMU. He is also no stranger to the University, having previously served on the NMMU Council and NMMU Trust with distinction, and is currently President of NMMU Alumni Association.
He boasts an elaborate curriculum vitae with more than 35 years working experience in both public and private sectors, including many years as Chief Executive Officer of the Eastcape Training Centre (ETC) and Private FET College, where he served industry and commerce in critical skills development.
Dr Jonas has proven leadership and managerial skills and has led numerous public and private sector institutions. He has a commendable record of leading successful turnaround strategies in non-profit organisations and established best practices in corporate governance.
He has demonstrated experience in generating third stream income, which has become key for South African universities in light of the threat to financial sustainability as highlighted by the calls for free higher education.
Dr Jonas holds a Doctorate in Organizational Management from NMMU, a Bachelor of Arts Degrees (University of the Western Cape) and MA in Sociology (former University of Port Elizabeth).
He spent 26 years as an educator, up to becoming Headmaster, of Chapman High School, until he left the school for a career in industry in 2006. From there he headed the ETC and, in 2012, started his company Symposia (Pty) as a subsidiary of the ETC to commercialise niche business opportunities such as conferencing, catering, corporate training and motor vehicle repairs.
I am proud to welcome Dr Jonas to this position at NMMU. I believe his experience and expertise will help to further grow the NMMU Business School and Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences.
I am confident that the University community will give Dr Jonas its fullest support in making this exciting appointment successful for the benefit of NMMU and South Africa.
Alumni Association statement to NMMU management, alumni and stakeholders
The Alumni Association Executive Committee recently met to discuss the situation in higher education and in particular the situation at NMMU, especially after a fire destroyed the Alumni Campus Boma on the Summerstrand South Campus on Thursday 20 October 2016. Whilst little is known at this stage about this incident and other violence and damage to property at NMMU in recent days, any semblance of intellectual discourse has been diminished and the label of a just cause has been tarnished.
As an Association we support free higher education for the poor and advocate for more investment and better management of resources in the entire public education system to ensure that many more school leavers can enter the further and higher education sectors. But we do not support violence, intimidation and damage to property. It cannot be condoned. In particular we condemn any unlawful act that led to burning down the Alumni Campus Boma.
We support the collective efforts of the NMMU leadership to find a workable solution and to facilitate the completion of the academic programme for 2016. We appeal to our government and stakeholders to act swiftly and decisively to resolve this impasse amicably and responsibly. We exhort our students agitating for a just and equitable funding model for access to higher education to give the process of national dialogue and government intervention a chance whilst preparing for and making a success, against all odds, of the 2016 academic year.
We believe that all stakeholders must urgently convene pursuant to the development of a more effective and efficient public education and training programme for our country. To this end we call on all who are imbued with the skills and resources to play an active part in whatever capacity to help develop and support our people and our country. It is the duty of all parties to ensure that the hopes and aspirations of individuals and families whether to be admitted to university or to enter the job market are not stymied by obduracy and brinkmanship.
As part of our call for support for the poor we ask for efficient administrative systems to ensure that those vulnerable students receive funding, textbooks, accommodation and subsistence timeously. It is of no use being funded but getting resources for essential academic material weeks into the academic programme as happened in some cases. The Alumni Association remains committed to providing assistance to students in financial need through the support of our members and friends of the university.
Our student and graduate attributes should help contribute to creating a more inclusive and just university and society. Violent and criminal acts including damage to property and injury to individuals simply does not fit into the profile of a responsible student, graduate and citizen.
NMMU Alumni is making a rallying call for rebuilding the academy and a resurgence of the spirit that makes us great as an engaged African university.
3 November 2016
UPDATE 15/10/2016 - NMMU & FEES MUST FALL
Following our earlier communication on the disruptions of the protest action, we would like to update you on the latest developments.
Resumption of operations and classes at NMMU
After four weeks of disruption, intensive engagements with key stakeholders and a court-ordered mediation process to end the shutdown, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is pleased to announce the resumption of operations on Monday, 17 October 2016.
During the shutdown, management has been meeting with various student formations in Port Elizabeth and George to ensure that the university-specific demands are addressed. There were two outstanding issues which led to the deadlock, namely:
The national call for free, quality, decolonised higher education; and
The clearance of all debt for students who qualified for debt and down-payment relief in 2016.
NMMU acknowledges that the campaign for free higher education for all is a noble cause, but it is a national policy issue beyond the authority of any individual university. While NMMU does not have the mandate to pronounce on this matter, it will deploy resources to engage in research and conduct dialogues that will hopefully inform the national roadmap towards the realisation of free higher education for all. Once a consensus position based on research has been co-created with our key stakeholders, NMMU will lobby this with national government.
Until such time, the University remains resolute in its call for free higher education for the poor and financial support for the so-called “missing middle” students. We will continue to advocate for all sectors of society to invest more in higher education. This will ensure that universities can continue to provide quality teaching, research, and holistic support to all students.
NMMU is furthermore steadfast in its commitment to accelerating and deepening transformation. In line with our values, every effort will be made to foster a transformative and enabling institutional culture. We unequivocally condemn all acts of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination that are contrary to our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The University is committed to debt resolution, within the available resources, for academically deserving poor and missing middle students who qualified for debt and down payment relief at NMMU in 2016. Students and management have committed to a joint process to implement this within four months.
In light of the above, it is clear that all internal Fees Must Fall demands have been met and there is now no reason for protesting students to call for the continued shutdown of the University.
Peaceful resumption of University operations and academic activities
Throughout the recent student protests, NMMU has sought to avoid the use of force that has seen an escalation of violence throughout the higher education sector in South Africa. The University appreciates that staff and students may be anxious about their safety as they have witnessed what has happened at various other universities around the country.
Through a national directive by government to the South African Police Services (SAPS), police were ordered to be present at all university campuses. NMMU is no exception to this directive.
Furthermore, on 11 October 2016, in response to legal action brought by some parents seeking to compel the University to re-open, NMMU agreed to a court-mandated mediation process. Unfortunately, this process was inconclusive for reasons beyond the control of the University.
After careful consideration of the remaining options, and in order to resolve the situation with minimal harm to our publics and property, Management decided to seek an interdict. By means of this interdict, as well as the agreements reached with the various student formations during the shutdown, NMMU is still seeking and hopeful for a peaceful resumption of the 2016 academic year.
As indicated in the statement of the University Council released on 14 October 2016, there is no basis in our Constitution and law for the campus blockades preventing students and staff from exercising their legal rights to access the University. Students have a right to strive for any cause as long as this does not impair the equal rights of others to gain access to the University.
Given that the issues within NMMU's control have been resolved, there is no lawful reason for the 2016 academic year not to resume. Students involved in the #FeesMustFall protests are therefore encouraged to return to class to resume their studies, while continuing to work towards the aspiration of free, decolonised, quality higher education.
NMMU remains convinced that the militarisation of its campuses and the use of force are to be avoided as far as possible. We therefore strongly appeal to all students, staff and parents to conduct themselves in a way that ensures the peaceful resumption of University operations and academic activities.
Transitioning to resuming University activities
Due to the critical need to return to class in order to complete the academic year in 2016, the University will re-open on Monday, 17 October with the return of all staff so that the necessary preparations can be made to transition to the resumption of all academic activities on Tuesday, 18 October.
Please be assured that, while the University has been shut down, staff have been working tirelessly to develop student-friendly academic recovery plans to ensure that the academic year can be completed in 2016.
Residence students who went home during the shutdown are encouraged to start returning to the campus as soon as possible. The regular timetable will be followed from Tuesday, 18 October when all students are expected to return to class.
Academic recovery plan
An adapted academic calendar has been approved in principle by the Executive Committee of Senate. The calendar assumes that, with classes starting on 18 October 2016, lectures will continue for about four weeks to complete the academic programme, followed by three study days before an examination period of about three weeks.
An overarching academic recovery plan has been drafted, along with more detailed faculty-based recovery plans, which are sensitive to the fact that students have lost momentum in their studies. In addition, Student Counselling will be running sessions for students who need to deal with feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, depression and anger, and so on to assist them with sense making and re-engaging with their studies.
Similar wellness interventions will be made available to staff. The University has briefed both unions regarding the return to operations, and will continue to improve its protocols and communication around staff issues. This will include guidelines relating to managing the transition period.
Accommodation recovery plan
Since the examination timetable originally ended on 16 November, the University is working on a recovery plan to assist those students whose off-campus accommodation leases expire at the end of November, or even earlier.
In the interim, all students residing in off-campus accommodation are urged to input their details on thehttp://fmf.nmmu.ac.za website to enable the University to properly plan for these contingencies.
Appeal for support
The shutdown has been a trying time for staff, students and their families. The frustration, anxiety and uncertainty of the past four weeks have impacted on all concerned. In the interests of completing the academic year in 2016, we appeal for your proactive support to collectively ensure the peaceful resumption of academic activities. This is in the best interests of the University community and the broader society.
Communication and Stakeholder Liaison
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, as a dynamic African university, is committed to offering accessible, quality higher education in a dynamic environment of excellence and innovation. The university has six campuses in Port Elizabeth and George and is home to 27 000 students, 8% of whom come from outside South Africa.
In light of the present uncertainty across the sector nationally, here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions relating specifically to various issues and challenges at NMMU:
When will the University open?
The University will open once we are assured that staff and students can safely return to an environment that is conducive to studying. We are engaged with all parties, both institutionally and at a national level, to resume classes soonest, while the national fee issue discussions continue.
How will we make up for lost time?
The Deans and Faculty Management Committees are putting contingency plans in place to minimize time lost. This will differ from programme to programme so you are advised to liaise directly with your lecturers or Head of Department once you are back on campus.
What about tests and assignments that were missed?
Contingency plans are being put in place to minimize the impact of missed tests and assignments. The way this is handled will differ from programme to programme, but please be assured that academic staff are mindful of the impact that the shutdown has had on our students and will adapt their plans accordingly.
Can you ensure staff and students’ safety once NMMU reopens?
The safety of staff and students is a key priority for NMMU, which is why NMMU did not open its campuses earlier. It needed assurances regarding the welfare of its staff and students that there will be a conducive learning environment.
Why don’t you use an interdict to stop the present protests?
The University wishes to affirm its belief that the NMMU community must uphold both the right to peaceful protests and the rights of others wishing to continue with their studies. Thus far, and after careful consideration, management elected not to use force to restore operations. Forceful interventions at other universities has shown that this tends to escalate conflict and delays reaching a peaceful solution. This has generally happened when interdicts are used.
Will there be a graduation in December?
We sincerely hope there will be a graduation in December, just as we hope to complete the academic year.
Will we finish the year as we originally planned?
Whether we will finish the year as originally planned, is all dependent on when we are able to resume classes. It our sincere hope that we will be able to resume classes and operations soonest. Obviously the longer the protest action continues, the less possible it will become to complete the year. There is daily engagement with the various role players to return to class while the bigger fee issue discussions are ongoing.
Will academic staff consider those students who have not been able to access the internet or books during the shutdown?
NMMU is mindful that not all students have equal opportunities in accessing the Internet or retrieving books for their studies held in the libraries. Lecturers will consider such inequalities and all other challenges directly related to the shut down in preparing alternative tests, assignments and the like going forward.
Will I be reimbursed if we do not finish the academic year?
We are working hard to resume classes. NMMU is committed to completing the 2016 academic programme.
Do we have a contingency plan for alternative venues when it comes to writing exams?
NMMU has a series of contingency plans in place to address different challenges in light of the present shutdown
Can I apply for next year?
All prospective students are invited to apply for studies at NMMU next year. You can apply online www.nmmu.ac.za/Apply If you are asked for pin number, please contact email@example.com or call 041 5043000. Please have your ID and student number available.
As a staff member, can I get onto campus now?
Staff who wish to safely access books, other materials, feed animals or attend to any critical business at any of NMMU’s campuses during its present closure, should contact their line manager who, in turn, will contact their Head of Department or Division. It is the Head’s responsibility to contact the Dean or relevant EManco member who will liaise with the Head of Protection Services, Mr Derek Huebsch, to identify suitable times for these staff members to be escorted to their offices to access their goods or attend to critical business.
What may academics do/not do during shut down?
The University has taken a principled decision to suspend all academic activities until further notice.
In operational terms, this means that all engagement with students – lectures and assessments – be postponed until further notice, except for limited essential experiential learning, especially where human life is at risk.
The University encourages all students to continue learning independently – as far as possible in the circumstances.
Staff who wish to access campus to retrieve books, other materials or to attend to urgent matters should liaise with their line managers, right up to the Dean, who will contact head of Protection Services to make arrangements to escort you to your office at a convenient time to all involved.
Faculties have undertaken to ensure that once operations resume, students will be given a reasonable opportunity to prepare for the assessments to be rescheduled.
Are the access tests still happening at NMMU?
No, unfortunately this has had to be cancelled due to the current closure of the university. Alternative dates and venues are being explored. Those who have booked for Saturday 1 October should have received communication by the end of Thursday 29 September. Those applicants who booked for Saturday 1 October but have not heard from the office are kindly asked to phone the CAAR office (041 - 5042918) on Friday 30 September between 9am and 3pm.
What about CAAR testing at sites outside of Port Elizabeth?
Testing at sites not connected to university campuses will continue as per scheduled bookings. Testing in Durban, Bloemfontein and George may well be closed. Please phone and check with these venues.
Letter to Alumni from Acting VC wrt the current situation within Higher Education
By now you would probably be aware that the higher education sector in South Africa has been facing widespread protest action following the announcement by Minister Blade Nzimande in respect of fees for 2017. Sadly, the complexities of the situation are often not fully understood by stakeholders due to the many conflicting narratives circulating in the public domain.
NMMU values the relationship with its alumni and we would therefore like to update you directly on the events that have unfolded.
At NMMU, various student formations, including the Student Representative Council (SRC), initially formed a coalition to collectively voice their concerns in relation to the Minister’s announcement, but were divided in their approach.
By Wednesday (21 September), it emerged that the SRC was no longer part of the coalition. By close of business on Friday (23 September), NMMU had received petitions from four different student formations in Port Elizabeth and George, and had responded to each by Sunday (25 September) evening. These are available on the NMMU website http://news.nmmu.ac.za.
On 26 September 2016, management held meetings with two student formations in George and at the Kraal on the South Campus in Port Elizabeth respectively. The SRC also held a public meeting at the city hall.
At the meeting in the Kraal, it soon became apparent that the students present were not prepared to accede to management’s request that the University re-open, while engagements in respect of the Fees Must Fall demands continue. The executive of the SRC approached NMMU management later in the day, advising them of their call for students to return to classes on 27 September.
In light of the above events, and the present escalating tensions and violence within the sector, which has seen many universities closed for more than a week, NMMU management felt it could not continue operations until an environment conducive to teaching and learning had been re-established.
The operations and academic activities of NMMU were therefore suspended until further notice on 26 September 2016. Effectively, the University has been closed since Wednesday last week.
Subsequently, it has emerged that one of the parents might be coordinating a legal challenge against the University to force the opening of our campuses. NMMU will deal with this if and when it arises, but we would hope that all stakeholders understand the need for the University management to strike a balance between those students who wish to protest and those who wish to resume academic activities, whilst ensuring the safety of all involved. Thankfully, our campuses have been spared the violence and vandalism that has occurred at some other universities.
Many of the issues raised by the various student formations are beyond NMMU’s ambit and certainly cannot be resolved in a short period of time. Others, unique to NMMU, such as its debt and down payment relief interventions, will be engaged with in consultation with students by reconvening the multi-stakeholder Financial Aid Task Team that has been functioning since the end of 2015.
The decision to suspend University operations until further notice was not taken lightly. We recognise that it is far from ideal, especially given the present anxieties of staff, students and their families.
We would like to thank all alumni for their continued support and encouragement in the current difficult circumstances. We can assure you that, as the University management, we are continuously striving to find ways of resuming operations as a matter of urgency whilst addressing issues raised by students.
Dr Sibongile Muthwa
Varsity MTB Challenge
USSA have teamed with Varsity Sport and Sports4U to host a newly created Varsity specific mountain bike series. There will be three categories to the race:
USSA Cycling Teams, of which the top structure will be sponsored by Varsity Sport to compete – this discussion and communication will happen as per normal through university sports structures.
Alumni Teams – Alumni are encouraged to ride under their university banner, promoting their association to their university and in turn creating a team spirit for each competing university – points will be tallied to crown an overall wining university – the winning point structure crossing all categories of riders.
Students – University students who are not selected for USSA teams but would like to ride in race
General supporters – anyone who would like to ride but does not meet the category classification above.
For more information please visit our web site www.varsitymtbchallenge.co.za
That’s us. We’re 10. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is a decade old!
And like most ten-year-olds we’re on the cusp of something bigger as we enter our tweens, and then fully-fledged adulthood as a university deserving of recognition.
But for now we’re ten. We’ve survived the knocks, bumps and bruises of childhood. We’ve scraped our knees a few times and even suffered a bloody nose for a serious lapse in behaviour. However, for the most part, we’ve relished our childhood and learnt to handle ourselves without too much help.
We’ve won a few prizes along the way, established some life-long friendships, built some pretty imposing sandcastles (have you seen all our new buildings?) and, for the most part, we’re appreciative of what we’ve received.
We’re pretty independent by now; we can stand on our own two feet and hold our head high.
But we’re only ten. And when you’re ten, parties and celebrations are still big on the lifestyle agenda. We like it when we can get together with friends to recognise special occasions.
That is why NMMU is lining up as many as ten different occasions for celebration – starting on Tuesday 10 February.
On that day staff and students are being invited to take stock, and come up with a personal list of 10 things they would like to achieve during NMMU’s big birthday year. (You can find a branded A4 sheet for this on the following link )
The list is aimed at motivating staff and students for an exciting year ahead and for giving everyone direction. The ten goals can be personal, institutional or a combination of both.
So what are your ten goals for 2015?
We’d like to celebrate our first decade on the 10th day of every month (well, at least the ones that fall in the week and outside of university holidays) and are seeking celebratory ideas – things that bring folk together and involve our values of respect for the natural environment, integrity, excellence, respect for diversity and Ubuntu.
In the interim, however, apart from your list of goals for 2015 with everything from “walking three times a week” to “starting to study again”, we’re bringing on a little music.
AlgoaFM – one of those with whom we have built a friendship – will be bringing their festive sounds to the Kraal on South Campus from 10am on Tuesday, 10 February. During their outside broadcast they will also witness the symbolic release of balloons by members of our Student Representative Council (SRC) to celebrate our first ten years.
Well, we’re ten, aren’t we? And we still like balloons too.
Happy birthday NMMU!
BY DEBBIE DERRY http://lifeatnmmu.blogspot.com/2015/02/what-it-means-to-be-10.html
ALUMNI TOP APPOINTMENTS - CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR ALUMNI
BCom graduate (1996) Kenny Halloway, has been appointed as client service drector at Boomtown
BA graduate (2007) Lauren Mungur has been appointed as marketing consultant at BLC Attorneys. She is also a Radio Presenter for Algoa FM.
BTech Internal Auditing graduate (2003), Shaun Martin has been appointed as finance director at Boomtown.
NMMU also welcomes Lebogang Hashatse as NMMU's communiation & stakeholder liaison senior director.