The Durban University of Technology (DUT) Student Representative Council (SRC) Social Welfare Officer at the Midlands, Mr Mcebisi Ngcobo from eNgonweni in Inanda is putting students at the centre of his work regardless of their political affiliations.
Ngcobo joined DUT in 2021 to pursue a diploma in Public Relations and Communications Management. He is doing his final year of his diploma.
The presence of political organisations during his first-year triggered him to join university politics. During his first-year, Ngcobo encountered various challenges with his registration. However, he was assisted by an SRC member at that time, to resolve the registration issues he faced.
During his first year he was taught to live independently so he can achieve more things in life but associate with different people regardless of their background, gender, religion and race.
“Seeing student politicians helping first-year students inspired me to do the same for other first years the following year. Ever since I have been on the ground advocating for students issues on campus, I started attending students affairs meetings, went through the Vuna Leadership Academy websites for leadership skills, engaged Vuna members about certain topics that are our daily upheavals within the institution and in our society. I saw that this was a great platform for me to grow as a leader and contribute to South Africa’s transformation,” said Ngcobo.
Ngcobo’s role as the Social welfare Officer is to promote and protect the wellbeing of students by investigating and addressing issues relating to their social growth, safety and making sure there is a decrease in the number of cases of violence, abortions, HIV and AIDS. Students face several challenges, which he addressed by designing and implementing projects. Additionally, he is also an advocate on SRC matters relating to safety, security, and accessibility to physical challenged students. As the SRC they collaborate with DUT Units in the implementation of safety programmes and student social development, such as Student Housing, Student Counselling, innobiz DUT Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and DUT Sports Administration unit. Ngcobo also facilitates the provision of support to students who are victims, targets and survivors of violence and abuse.
“My ambition includes a well-functioning SRC and co-creating an environment with the team that is supportive and intentional. Former SRC members have dealt with these aspects, and our team will build on the hard work of former SRC and continue to fight the pre-existing challenges preventing institutional change. Other priorities include fees, transformational change, and fundraising to support underprivileged students in our institution thus significantly contributing to ENVISION2030,” reiterated Ngcobo.
Nothing will satisfy Ngcobo more than knowing that his efforts helped the university achieve its ENVISION2030 strategy during his time of leadership.
“The challenges of rising higher education costs, student financial aid cuts, fee debt and institutional transformation, the delay in NSFAS issuing codes to beneficiaries. I am also ready to serve DUT selflessly. By doing so, I give back to my campus community, and ultimately to South Africa as a whole,” explained Ngcobo.
Ngcobo’s biggest wish for this SRC is to leave an admirable legacy of an effective SRC that was genuinely transparent in communicating with students all the time in all social media platforms, being accessible frequently, that respected every unit within the institution but did not allow students to be brutally harassed by the system. I also wish to host engagements with effective solutions and see implementations with progress on the vision of the institution and students,” said Ngcobo.
Ngcobo shared his biggest highlights as a DUT SRC Social Welfare Officer.
“My biggest highlight as a member of the SRC has been all the food for thought that we have been receiving from the university leaders especially, when the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu shared how we can be impactful. He suggested that we should represent all students, regardless of their political organisations. He challenged us to be Creative. Distinctive. Impactful. by starting our legacies which are different from the violent protest actions seen in previous years,” he said.
Pictured: Mr Mcebisi Kwanele Ngcobo.