University of Witwatersrand (Wits)
On 24 March, the Wits Department of Journalism hosted the Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism, which was awarded to the story of how over 94 mentally ill patients died after being moved to mostly unlicensed NGOs. The event took place in Johannesburg and according to the Wits website, the award of R200 000 went to Suzanne Venter of Rapport for her “Life Esidemeni” story. Taco Kuiper was a successful South African publisher who donated an immense part of his estate to encouraging investigative journalism. He believed in exposing matters of public concern and therefore created a fund for investigative journalism within The Valley Trust, which is partnered with the Wits Journalism Programme.
Durban University of Technology (DUT)
On 23 March, DUT held its first Student Leadership Indaba, which was organised by the Department of Student Services and Development. Prof. Thandwa Mthembu, DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, said, “I’m appealing to our staff that we must review the manner in which we treat our students. Students are not customers to DUT but are an integral part of this university because they assist us in the laboratories when we formulate new ideas and innovation that come out of DUT.” According to the DUT news website, Prof. Mthembu says part of the reason he wanted the Indaba to happen was so he could understand the daily challenges that students at the University are faced with. These include accommodation, university facilities, security, and the attitude of staff members. He hoped that the Indaba would help him further understand not just DUTs, but other universities in KwaZulu- Natal.
University of Johannesburg (UJ)
On 27 March, UJ made history by recording the highest number of graduates this year. According to the UJ website, Prof. Ihron Rensburg, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ, states that the University is extremely proud of its graduates, who, in spite of the tumultuous times, achieved a new record undergraduate module success rate of 85.4% in 2016. “Our overall annual graduate output is now in excess of 12 000 graduates per year, and we are proud that 93% of our students obtain employment within 12 months of graduation, signalling the value of our qualifications to South African and international employers,” said Prof. Rensburg.
North-West University (NWU)
NWU’s annual Student Rag Community Service (SRCS) raised R3.5 million that was distributed in March to various individuals, schools, projects and welfare institutions. The SRCS is run by students on the Potchefstroom campus of NWU. SRCS, in collaboration with Rag, concentrates on the two communities of Ikageng and Promosa. The funds were donated to schools for clean and private bathrooms, upgrading facilities, construction of a kitchen and training in early childhood development. Donations were also made to Witrand Hospital, Promosa and Droomhuis.
Compiled by Nina Cronje