University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)
The Braamfontein-based Wits has started the 2021 Academic Year with student demonstrations that saw the institution suspend the reopening of classes. The protests, which come just as Prof. Zeblon Vilakazi began his tenure as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits, are targeted at the dissatisfaction of students with the financial exclusions, the prevention of registration for students with historical debts, and the problems faced by students funded by NSFAS.
These protests seek to delay the academic year for as long as the institution – and the Department of Higher Education – refuse to hear the demands of the students. The unarmed student protesters were met with hostility from the SAPS, who fired rubber bullets at the protesters, resulting in the injuries of students & bystanders – most notably the death of 33-year old Mthokozisi Ntumba, sparking wide outrage
Nelson Mandela University
Nelson Mandela University is preparing to welcome its first cohort of medical students in March 2021, as it unveils its new Nelson Mandela University Medical School. The university, based in Gqeberha (previously known as Port Elizabeth), received approval and accreditation from the South African Qualifications Authority in the final quarter of 2020, after various thorough assessments, to open what is officially South Africa’s tenth medical school.
Nelson Mandela University has placed an emphasis on the medical school being based in a community-centred area. The first group of medical students, scheduled to graduate in 2027 upon completion of the six-year long MBChB degree, will be housed at the university’s Missionvale Campus, and will work in collaboration with the nearby Livingstone and Dora Nginza hospitals
University of the Western Cape (UWC)
UWC recently celebrated the relaunch of one of their world-class research centres. Led by the acting director of the centre, Professor John-Mark Iyi, the African Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice (ACTCJ) celebrated its relaunch on 17 February.
The centre is a collaboration with Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, and received funding from the German government. Now, the centre has undergone a revamp. The research centre focuses on research, advocacy and postgraduate training in International Criminal Law, Transnational Justice, and Transnational Organised Crimes. On the occasion of its launch, Professor José Frantz, UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, remarked that he hoped the centre would “interrogate gender-based violence that has been highlighted as a national concern”.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology has recently opened up its Centre for Communication Studies in its Faculty of Informatics and Design, a centre with the goal of developing research in the communication sector.
The centre is headed up by Associate Professor Nic Theo, who, together with fellow Associate Professors Izak van Zyl and Ephias Ruhode, worked to develop the offerings of the centre. This directly serviced an area that, according to Prof. Theo, would benefit staff and student researchers through “increasing access to research support that is not available through the existing faculty research office”.
The Centre for Communication Studies will be based at CPUT’s District Six Campus in the Cape Town City Centre, but will continue to operate virtually during the lockdown