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Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Thandwa Mthembu delivered a video message to the DUT community on Tuesday, 3rd  November 2020, unravelling more on the third perspective of the institution’s Envison2030 which is Sustainability.

“Our Sustainability perspective has three Strategic Objectives, namely: ‘green ecosystems’ which focuses on the environment; ‘financial sustainability’ which obviously focuses on financial health or the economy; and, ‘distinctive education’, which focuses on making people themselves sustainable into the future through education and thereby assuring social equity,” he said.

Prof Mthembu indicated that DUT people have to think, behave, plan and execute in a manner that takes into account the future of not only the organisation and oneself, but the environment, the economy and the society, including those yet unborn.

“Therefore, the combination of our right people, their paradigm or mental orientation as well as our systems and processes will determine the extent of our sustainability as DUT,” he stressed.

He relayed more on one of the strategic objectives under ‘Sustainability’ which is: ‘Distinctive Education’. Prof Mthembu relayed that the DUT community are committed to creating a compelling and a future-oriented living and learning environment. “With DUT being one of 26 universities in South Africa, we recognise that it is the quality of our ‘innovative curricula and research’ and a uniquely DUT experience that will give us a competitive edge over other universities,” he said.

Prof Mthembu conveyed further on the second Strategic Objective, being ‘Financial Sustainability’ or as many organisations refer to this as financial viability. “Arguably, the second most important factor of production after people is finance. We may have the right people in place occupying their rightful seats, with the right paradigms, but they would not move an inch without financial capacity to fund identified activities, programmes and projects.  ‘Financial sustainability’ is about engendering ‘a sustainable and an efficient business model’ that will allow DUT to invest in, and re-invent itself and its people continually. Henceforth, beyond ‘innovative curricula and research’‘state-of-the-art infrastructure’ will be an important element of a uniquely DUT educational experience; and, therefore, an essential part of our Distinctive Education,” he said.

He also stressed that through DUT’s ‘distinctive education’ offered in a financially sustainable manner, DUT will contribute to a thriving local and regional economy not only to its advantage; but for the benefit of the broader society.

“The third and the last Strategic Objective under the Sustainability Perspective is: ‘Green Ecosystems. To decrease ‘environmental risk’, and engender efficient use of our natural resources, we are committed to increasing the number of green buildings, green utilities and smart equipment in our real estate using whatever technologies are available in this post-modern world,” said Prof Mthembu.

He further communicated that one of the practical and arguably simpler ways to reduce environmental risk is to migrate to a paperless organisation; whose uptake has been accelerated somewhat by the advent of Covid-19. He also spoke on many other initiatives, including recycling DUT’s litter, that the institution could embark on that which will help to ensure there are ‘green ecosystems’ at the university. 

“I hope I have succeeded in unravelling and expatiating on our Envision2030’s Sustainability perspective. All the best to all our People as you help to assure our sustainability as a University and its people and, that of our broader society,” said Prof Mthembu.

Pictured: Prof Mthembu delivering his speech.

Waheeda Peters

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