This week, I have the rare opportunity to address you as the Acting Vice-Chancellor, while Professor Tshilidzi Marwala is out of the country on a business trip. It is an opportunity I embrace with gratitude. I want to start off by quoting the words of marketing and growth expert, Andy Parker. “Success can beget success, and celebrating at work helps to build momentum, improve morale, and make the hard times feel all the more worth it.” This succinctly captures the culture of our University because success is something that has become engrained in our DNA.
On that note, please join me in congratulating Prof Sarah Gravett, our former Executive Dean: Faculty of Education, who has been elected as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). She will be inducted on 19 October 2022, along with other newly elected members. Prof Gravett has also been reappointed as a member of the Research Forum of Umalusi for a further period of three years. The Forum strengthens the research function of Umalusi through acting in an advisory capacity; providing strategic input in terms of research direction of Umalusi, providing a platform for networking with other research organisations; and promoting the dissemination of research results through Umalusi’s publications and other media.
More good news for our University is that Prof Nnamdi Nwulu Director, Centre for Cyber Physical Food, Energy & Water Systems at FEBE, has received a grant of R14 million from Erasmus Plus (an exchange programme of the European Commission), under the Capacity Building of Higher Education Programme. Prof Nwulu will lead a consortium with partner institution, namely, the University of West Attica, Research Innovation and Development Lab (a private company), Mitropolitiko College Anoymi Ekpaideytiki Etairia (Greece), Università Di Corsica Pasquale Paoli (France) and locally the universities of Fort Hare, Venda and Kwazulu-Natal.
The project aims to design, develop and evaluate a Master’s Course in the field of Energy Poverty Alleviation Technologies in South Africa. It will also develop innovative learning material that will offer students a tailored perspective and participating universities the chance to exchange best practices, to modernize, renew and align their curricula towards innovative skills and competencies necessary to effectively address the urgent societal need of energy poverty. Prof Nwulu, congratulations to you and your team – well done!
Today, our School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems (SCiiS) within the College of Business and Economics (CBE), will virtually launch its Centre for Applied Data Science. The Centre, a collaboration with Toulouse Business School (TBS) Education (France), will focus on infusing science study by promoting various institution-wide outreach activities with the goal of fostering research and education in data-driven knowledge discovery, aims to bring together computer and domain scientists to promote and accelerate data-intensive teaching. Prof Hossana Twinomurinzi and Prof Mercy Mpinganjira, I have full confidence that this Centre will enhance research and teachings within the field. Congratulations!
I also wish to congratulate the UJ student-athletes, who collected a whopping nine (9) medals in this year’s University Sport South Africa Cross Country championships at North-West University (NWU), Mahikeng, on Friday last week. With 6 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medals, UJ topped the medal standings, followed by Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the University of Pretoria (UP-Tuks) in second and third positions, respectively. Well done to the athletes, their coaches and management for this outstanding achievement!
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, 4 October 2022, the Department of Accountancy hosted a prestigious Public Lecture in the UJ Library. The guest speakers were Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu (Chairman of KPMG and South Africa’s first qualified black chartered accountant) and Mr Robert Zwane (SAICA Executive Director: Learning, Development and National Imperatives). The event was attended by staff, students, and many familiar and esteemed guests from the accounting profession such as Mr Ignatius Sehoole (CEO of KPMG, South Africa), Mr Victor Sekese (CEO of SNG – Grant Thornton), Mr Freeman Nomvalo (CEO of SAICA) and others.
Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu’s topic of discussion was “The Role of Professionals And Business Leaders In Leading The Rebuilding of South Africa Post-Apartheid”, whilst Mr Robert Zwane discussed “The Accountants that Save Livelihoods”. The session also included a panel discussion and answering of questions from guests in attendance. Both speakers also acknowledged the significant role that Accountancy@UJ plays in transforming the Accounting Profession and educating critical thinking and ethical future leaders of South Africa.
Lastly, I wish to thank our staff at the Doornfontein campus who attended the Vice-Chancellor Staff Engagement sessions recently. Today, we will have our session at the Soweto Campus (SWC) from 09:00 to 10:30. I again remind you that if there are any specific issues you would like addressed or if you have a particular question, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kea leboga, enkosi, baie dankie, ndi a livhuwa, thank you!
Professor Letlhokwa George Mpedi
Vice-Chancellor and Principal (Acting)
University of Johannesburg
Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.