Vice-Chancellor Message – 10 February 2023

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Dear UJ Community,

After three weeks of registrations for new and returning students, we will begin our 2023 Academic Year this coming Monday. As with previous years, our registration process has been seamless and hassle-free. This is a testament to the efficiency of our online application and registration platforms.

A special thanks to our University Registrar, Professor Kinta Burger, Dr Tinus van Zyl, and their team in Central Academic Administration for their outstanding work and dedication in making this process a success. We also thank the Office of the DVC: Academic, particulary our colleagues in the Division for Institutional Planning Evaluation and Monitoring, Dr Nandarani Maistry and Ms Annemarie Meyer, and their team.  Appreciation to Office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Ms Nolwazi Mamorare, Mr Mzwakhe Matukane, and their team for assisting students with funding-related matters, especially those pertaining to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

For our new first-time entering students, we know that this period represents an exciting next step towards fulfilling your dreams. However, the transition can be stressful with many unknowns. To help you during this period, please visit our website for more information. Here you will find information about the support structures in place to assist you during this time, as well as out-of-class experiences and opportunities. The Centre for Student Health & Wellness and their partners are providing Health & Wellness Screenings across our campuses, while the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD) offers assistance with career services, counselling, and disability services. Please don’t hesitate to make use of these support structures.

It is encouraging to see that some of you have responded well to our pleas to financially support the Missing Middle students to register for their degrees and diplomas, through the “Double of Future Impact Student 2023 Registration Campaign”. To this end, we wish to thank our Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation, Prof Saurabh Sinha, who has contributed R100,000 towards this campaign. We have already received donations towards student support of more than R2.5 million from major donors. As you would recall, this is our initiative to ensure that at least 10 000 students are assisted with their 2023 registration fees. Donate Now!

Since the beginning of this week, we have observed a marked increase in the vibrancy on campus, as more and more students return to the University. We wish them all the best as they begin another year of their academic journey. UJ has some of the best well-equipped state-of-the-art facilities, including science and computer laboratories and libraries, as well as sports and art facilities. This is because we understand that a university is not only about teaching and learning, but that it is also about participating in activities that promote diversity of cultures and a camaraderie spirit among students. We remain committed to ensuring that our University provides an inclusive, lively, safe and enriching environment where all students and staff feel a sense of belonging and can thrive.

However, it is important to note that as we are part of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan region, we are not immune to some of the challenges in the city. In this regard, we again remind you of the continuous interruption of the city’s water supply to our campuses due to the low water capacity on the part of Johannesburg Water. This also impacts on capacity to run the chillers for air-conditioning purposes. The turnaround period on the part of Johannesburg Water is unknown at this stage. We apologise for the inconvenience caused, and will keep monitoring developments while ensuring that alternative water supply measures remain active.

The recent water supply problem has been caused by the crippling load shedding crisis. In this regard, we welcome the decision by the government to declare the energy crisis and its impact as a disaster, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last night. In terms of this, and “where technically possible, critical infrastructure such as water treatment plants and hospitals will be exempt from load shedding”, among other interventions.

As we start with our academic activities next week, we remind our staff and students about our gender-based violence (GBV) online reporting system, for any incidents such as bullying, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and rape. Both the reporting system and the UJ Ethics Hotline are designed to provide victims and witnesses with the option to stay anonymous while retaining all key information pertaining to the reported matter. Once the report has been completed, it provides a randomised and unique reference number to enable future follow-ups on progress and gives the option to submit additional information and attachments.

The reporting page facilitates the effective capturing of information while being intuitive to navigate and easy to use. Only relevant questions are prompted to avoid unnecessary delays and frustrations typically associated with reporting processes by using conditional escalation procedures. Furthermore, the page makes available a range of contact details for the UJ support division/departments and other stakeholders as determined by the client. The reporting systems have also been developed to ensure compatibility with mobile browsers.

Lastly, and in case you missed it, you may read our article on 3D printing as  a key element in solving South Africa’s housing crisis. We explore the broader implications of 3D printing on society with reference to the recent developments at UJ in collaboration with the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

Rea leboga, enkosi, baie dankie, ria livhuwa, thank you!

Prof Tshilidzi Marwala: Outgoing Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Prof Letlhokwa Mpedi: Incoming Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”DONATE NOW!” color=”warning” size=”lg” align=”center” button_block=”true” link=”|title:Donate%20Now|target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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