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Professor Mthembu Envisions DUT’s New 2030 At SOUA

Professor Mthembu Envisions DUT’s New 2030 At SOUA

The Durban University of Technology hosted its second annual State of the University Address (SOUA), delivered by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of DUT, Professor Thandwa Mthembu, at the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, today, 26 February 2020.

Prof Mthembu delivered his highly anticipated SOUA to the DUT community, students and invited external stakeholders at the event.

He discussed the current state of the university, along with the accomplishments and future prospects of the institution, and revealed DUT’s exciting new 2020-2030 strategy plan called: Envision 2030.

He briefly painted a picture of DUT’s intent as encapsulated in the Envision 2030 strategy, as approved by Council in November 2019. 

“Our strategy document has been given this name, Envision 2030, by Ms Fiona Pillay from our Design Studio. She won the competition DUT ran recently for naming it. Thanks goes to Pillay for not only giving our strategy a name, but providing a very creative visual design for it. You are far ahead of many on this exciting flight to 2030,” he said happily.

Prof Mthembu said that DUT has, since 2020, demonstrated that it is contributing impactful towards improving the lives and the livelihoods of the broader society.  He said that DUT’s people irradiate strong values and are highly principled in the conduct of their rightful roles and responsibilities. “Honesty, integrity, respect, compassion, commitment, transparency, fairness, excellence, professionalism and accountability reign supreme at DUT. Decisions taken in offices, in units, in departments, in divisions, in statutory structures, including the SRC, Convocation, Senate and Council, reflect these values and principles,” he said. 

Prof Mthembu further unwrapped the strategy plan, adding that DUT offers a distinctive education and innovative curricula that are the envy of South Africa and the world.

“It produces adaptive graduates who are passionate and poised to contribute to and initiate change in their environments, in their cities, in their regions, in their country. It has done so, particularly, through its applied research and innovations emanating from there,” he stressed.

Prof Mthembu further said that over the last 10 years from 2020, DUT has produced no less than 100 innovators and entrepreneurs with thriving businesses that have changed the economy of the cities it is located in and the broader region around KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

“With Envision 2030, we no longer have time for decrying the past and nor the present. We want to be on flight to greatness. No wallowing. No frolicking. No prevarication. No inertia against change,” he said. 

Prof Mthembu also spoke on the two (2) strategic objectives in DUT’s strategy map, which will focus on under Systems and processes, namely: the digital environment and state-of-the-art infrastructure. In respect to the digital environment, he said that DUT will ensure that each and every division contributes to an improved digital environment in as many facets of DUT’s life as a university as possible. With regards to what more to expect in terms of the state-of-the-art infrastructure, he stressed that between October and December 2019, two major building projects at Indumiso campus (the Engineering Building Phase 2) and Steve Biko campus (the Student Centre and the Entrepreneurship Centre), worth R476 million, broke ground.  He said that a number of small and old buildings have already been demolished at Steve Biko campus to make way for DUT’s state-of-the-art student centre and entrepreneurship centre. 

“This multipurpose centre will also house our one-stop-shop academic administration facilities that will make admissions and registrations smoother. 

 For 2020, we have a budget of R303 million to spend on student housing, deferred maintenance and other priority projects like improved access for differently abled people. We are determined to renovate all our university owned residences by June 2020; with that process having started in October 2019 already. I hope our students will bear with us as we make our residences state-of-the-art. Open House, a building that houses the SRC, some of our student services units and nursing education is being renovated at a cost of R34 million,” said Prof Mthembu.  

In conclusion, Prof Mthembu said it is people that bring life to any strategy.

“As we stand on the brink of implementing Envision 2030, and as we fly to greatness, always remember that it is people – the Right people, occupying the Right seats and playing the Right roles – are the source of everything we will be doing in the coming 10 years,” he stressed. 

Reiterating his sentiments was Dr Thiru Pillay, DUT’s Registrar, who said everyone at DUT must celebrate DUT’s strengths and strive to achieve the new strategy plan. “Let us fly to 2030 and beyond,” he said. 

The second Annual State of the University Address will be at Indumiso Campus, F J Sithole Road, Pietermaritzburg, on Thursday, 27 February 2020.

Pictured: Professor Thandwa Mthembu delivering his State of the University Address (SOUA).

 

Waheeda Peters

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