A strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) together with the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) and the University of South Africa (UNISA) on 05 June 2019, will go a long way in making the City hub more relevant to its communities.
City of Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala along with Prof Adam Habib and Prof Mandla Makhanya from the top two institutions, signed a MoU to commit themselves towards establishing Johannesburg as a centre of excellence for Higher Education in Africa, especially Southern Africa.
Upon the signing of the MoU, Herman Mashaba said: ” We are not going to build this City if we don’t take advantage of its intellectual resources. ”
In his speech, UJ’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Tshilidzi Marwala said that UJ as an institution is driving the societal move towards 4IR and the city will be left behind if it doesn’t incorporate 4IR in what it does. “We need to make the city a Centre of learning to stimulate the economy, he added.”
The purpose of this MOU is to institutionalise the forms of collaboration so that these go beyond the level of individual collaborations and become integral to the work of the HEIs and the Council at strategic and operational levels.
Prof Mandla Makhanya responded, saying a collaboration of this kind cannot be found anywhere else. He further stated that the agreement is very important as this is a win-win situation that will have a far-reaching impact to advance the City.
Wits VC, Prof Habib added that Metropolitan governments and universities are key to addressing inequality. He stressed the importance of viewing universities as a system rather than isolated islands. “Think of us as a system, we play different roles as universities, but together we can create the most successful knowledge system together.”
The strategic priorities outlined in this partnership are:
- to promote economic development and attract investment towards achieving 5% economic growth that reduces unemployment by 2021,
- to ensure pro-poor development that addresses inequality and poverty and provides meaningful redress,
- to create a culture of enhanced service delivery with pride,
- to create a sense of security through improved public safety,
- to create an honest and transparent City that fights corruption,
- to create a City that responds to the needs of citizens, customers, stakeholders and businesses,
- to enhance our financial sustainability,
- to encourage innovation and efficiency through the Smart City programme, and
- to preserve our resources for future generations.