Student funding - the need is real and the time to act is now

Dumile Mlambo -- Wed, 12/02/2015 - 15:23

Student funding - the need is real and the time to act is now 

The third annual Vaal Triangle Campus (NWU Vaal) Donor Brunch took place on Tuesday, 1 December. The event saw donors, funders, alumni and philanthropists gather at the Emerald Resort in Vanderbijlpark.

The event was hosted by the Campus Fundraising Office under the auspices of Marketing and Communication. Following his brief introduction as Programme Director for the day, Mr Warren Makgowe, Director: Marketing and Communication highlighted the importance of the gathering, saying that it is a gesture of appreciation towards the patrons who continue to support the Campus.

Before the acting Campus Rector, Prof Linda du Plessis took to the podium to deliver an address, a moment of silence was observed in commemoration of those who have lost their lives to the HIV/Aids pandemic, since 1 December is globally recognised as World Aids Day.

Address by the acting Campus Rector

In her address, Prof Du Plessis gave donors, alumni and friends of the Campus the assurance that the North-West University will never seize to transform the lives of students and members of the community. She thanked everyone present for their respective contributions, saying that their support make a big difference in ensuring that the Campus remains relevant and viable to new generations of students.  “Your contributions furthermore sustain the Campus and bolster the value of the education we offer. You are therefore not only investing in the future of the Campus, but also the students and staff that will shape the future of tomorrow”, she added.


According to Prof Du Plessis, sustaining and supporting students and academic programs -in these days of increased competition for scarce public funds, universities must increasingly rely on private funding from alumni, other government structures, business and industry, NGO's and individual donors to provide a margin of excellence. With reference to the recent #FeesMustFall national protests she further explained that if government is committed towards carrying a minimum of 70% of the zero fee increment cost, it would still leave the University with the additional burden of funding the remaining 30%, which relates to approximately R53 million in 2016. “If ever there was a time to heed the call of donating, it is now”, she adds.

Concluding her presentation, Prof Du Plessis pleaded with donors to continue to support the Campus in whichever way to help continue the tradition of excellence in teaching, research, and community service.

“The role of universities in South Africa and the continent is under immense public scrutiny and we remain committed to generating life-changing research whilst educating a significant number of our future leaders in economics, business, public policy, history, education, law, journalism, and more. Rest assured that the Campus leverages your contributions to attract quality students, knowledgeable academic staff members and vest modern infrastructure”, concluded Prof Du Plessis.

Mr Silvanus Welkom, Senior Fundraising Officer at the Campus thanked everyone present, saying that without their valuable contributions, some students would not have the opportunity to attend one of the finest universities in the country.

*Amongst the guests in attendance were representatives of ArcelorMittal South Africa, the National Economic Education Trust, Kimberely Clark Production, the Vanderbijlpark Business Chamber, the Gauteng Provincial Government and JB Marks Education Trust,  to mention but a few.