A shared vision ahead: an engagement that marks a new era of cooperation

On Monday, 18 December 2023 the North-West University (NWU) and the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) engaged in a discussion aimed at promoting collaboration and fostering a relationship that will benefit both parties.

The meeting took place at the office of the of the vice-chancellor in Building F1 on the Potchefstroom Campus, with both parties agreeing on a commitment to signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a pre-agreed basis in February 2024.

Prof Liezel van Dyk, the executive dean of the Faculty of Engineering, welcomed the guests on behalf of Prof Bismark Tyobeka, the NWU principal and vice-chancellor, and expressed her gratitude for the gathering. She said: “The NWU is delighted with this initiative, and the institution is looking forward to working will all role players in the mining industry.”

In her support, Prof Awie Kotze, executive dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, expressed his desire for the NWU's work to have a significant worldwide influence.

Fatheela Brovko, chief research operations officer at the MHSC, spoke on the focus areas of the organisation. She articulated that the MSCH aims to minimise the negative impact of mining activities on communities and to promote health and safety in the mining industry.

“We want to strengthen our strategic collaborations by eliminating occupational diseases, focusing more on women in mining, and producing our research outputs in programmes for mine workers.”

Looking into the future

Prof Van Dyk stated that the NWU envisions opening a School of Mining shortly, alluding to Prof Bismark Tyobeka's inaugural address. She went on to state that the institution is currently developing mining programmes such as a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Sustainable Mining, which will be offered online in 2025. The additional programmes that will be available online in 2026 are a BSc in Environmental Science with Mining and Mining Engineering (including an MEng and PhD).

Moreover, Prof Van Dyk emphasised that the NWU is set to launch an NQF 5 Higher Certificate in Industrial Automation (including specialisation in Mining) and will collaborate with the Faculty of Education in this regard. The aim of this scheme is to introduce high school learners to the mining sector, while equipping them with the required skills.

Prof Awie Kotze reported that the NWU is at present working on plans to build a School of Nursing on the Vanderbijlpark Campus, with completion scheduled for July 2024. He said that the name of the School of Physiology, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences would be changed to the School of Applied Health Sciences. The new name became effective on 1 January 2024.

After the discussion

Following the conversations there was an opportunity to engage even further. Mr Nkosinathi Tom, the director of Strategic Partnerships and Special Projects, directed a campus tour for the representatives of the MHSC to the following three faculties:

· Faculty of Engineering (Building G10 – Hydrogen South Africa, HYSA)

· Faculty of Health Sciences (buildings F10, G2 and G20)

· Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (Building G23)

In addition, the signing of the MOU will serve to establish a framework between the NWU and the MHSC on the following areas of common interest:

· Mine health and safety projects

· Capacity building

· Skills development of students

· Such other areas of mutual benefit as are pre-agreed upon by both parties

The terms and conditions of each programme or activity, including any financial arrangement, will be set out in a written agreement to be signed by an authorised representative of each party.


Mr Nkosinathi Tom, the director of Strategic Partnerships and Special Projects, leading the campus tour.


Representatives from the MHSC receiving an overview of the Unit of Environmental Sciences and Management at Building G23A.


Delegates from both parties (the NWU and the MHSC) visited the Faculty of Engineering, Building G10 (Hydrogen South Africa) on the Potchefstroom Campus.


A group photo with the MHSC delegates showcasing the gifts received from the NWU.

Submitted on Fri, 01/26/2024 - 12:09