The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) recently appointed Senior Director: Human Resources, Dr Vuyo Mthethwa says her immediate tasks include re-establishing the value of Human Resources within the institution, motivating her team to be customer-centric and to regroup the HR department.
“I think if people know what they need to do, take responsibility for what they are assigned to do and become customer-centric, then the HR department will be better positioned,” said Dr Mthethwa.
The vastly experienced Dr Mthethwa holds an Honours degree in Industrial Psychology, Masters degree in Industrial Labour Studies, and more recently she obtained her PhD in Student Governance all from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has spent about 17 years managing her Human Resources consulting business, but she is no stranger to the higher education sector as she served as the Executive Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal at Mangosuthu University of Technology between 2014 and 2016. She has also worked at managerial level for companies such as Tastic Rice, Nampak and Tongaat Hullet.
Dr Mthethwa commenced her duties at DUT from 01 September 2018, and even though she is still in the early days of her tenure as the Senior Director: Human Resources, she said she has already identified some of strategic priority areas that are critical in order to make the HR department function efficiently.
“I’m still working on my diagnosis report which will form the basis of my strategy, but from the onset I think we need to have a proper working HR department which is efficient, and where everyone is accountable for what they are supposed to do. We need to streamline processes, particularly the recruitment process, it should not take more than two months to fill vacancies. Disciplinary processes need to be fast-tracked. I also plan to meet with the Unions more regularly in order to improve the relationship between Unions and Executive Management,” said Dr Mthethwa.
With the University coming from protracted staff strike earlier this year, Dr Mthethwa said she believes that Unions are a critical stakeholder, and she has strong conviction that the role of Human Resources and Unions actually converge because for both their priority is the well-being of DUT staff.
“I believe that we need to build a relationship with the Unions, and have genuine conversations with the them. I have said to the Unions that our roles actually converge because both our interest is on the staff. I don’t see my role in conflict with the Unions but I see my role as supportive to create better workplace conditions. One of my key targets is to re-establish that relationship between the Unions and Executive Management,” said Dr Mthethwa.
“We are in the cycle where we should begin with the negotiations, but we have planned a pre-negotiations conference with the objective to create a common platform for parties to negotiate,” she added.
Dr Mthethwa urged DUT staff to give the HR department a chance, and mentioned that staff are the most important asset to the University.
Pictured: Dr Vuyo Mthethwa.