Community Engagement https://news.nwu.ac.za/ en Plastic pollution is the downside to celebrations https://news.nwu.ac.za/plastic-pollution-downside-celebrations <span>Plastic pollution is the downside to celebrations</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Zeno">Zenoyise John</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Tue, 04/09/2024 - 09:38</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Ten million tiny pieces of plastic are estimated to be lying on the lawn in front of the North-West University (NWU) Law Faculty in Potchefstroom, and the soil in the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds also has high levels of plastic pollution. This is the downside of the celebrations that are often held in these spaces, where glitter poppers and fireworks leave a lasting legacy – unpleasantly so.</p> <p>In preparation for World Environment Day on 24 June, a team from the Research Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management conducted a study at three different sites to identify and quantify plastic particles and other pyrotechnics used in celebrations. The findings confirm the necessity for the NWU to reduce plastic pollution on its grounds and to respond in all earnest to the call made last year by Prof Bismark Tyobeka, vice-chancellor, to combat plastic pollution and minimise the use of plastic. </p> <p>The research team comprised three students, Raeesa Bhikhoo, Lohan Bredenhann and Francois Bothma, and supervisors Prof Henk Bouwman and Prof Carlos Bezuidenhout. They set out to obtain soil samples from sites where poppers are frequently used, to identify and quantify plastic particles in the soil, evaluate the effectiveness of cleaning up the plastic poppers, and identify and communicate possible interventions to reduce plastic pollution on the NWU grounds. </p> <p>Prof Bouwman says inadequate waste management practices in natural environments have caused plastic to become a frequent sight in cities. "Plastic is widely used for packaging and clothing, as well as for decorative purposes like confetti and glitter in ceremonial confetti poppers, and reflective plastic strips used in fireworks during sports events." </p> <p>Owing to the durability of plastic, it remains in the environment for a long time, negatively affecting the environment and the residing organisms – and potentially damaging human health.  </p> <p>"Contact with and/or ingestion of plastic can cause a false sense of satiation, intestinal blockages, reproductive impairment and death in organisms,” Prof Bouwman says. “Both confetti/glitter poppers and fireworks are based on pyrotechnics, which also carries inherent health risks, such as eye damage, skin damage, and hearing damage.”  </p> <p><strong>What the study showed  </strong></p> <p>Sampling was conducted at three different sites on the Potchefstroom Campus at the NWU.  </p> <p>"Two of the locations were chosen based on the usage of glitter poppers and fireworks during ceremonies and sporting events, with the third site in the NWU Botanical Gardens, a control site where poppers and fireworks are not used,” says Prof Bouwman. </p> <p>Six soil samples were taken per site using a core sampler. The soil samples were sifted using two layers of sieves, with the top mesh sieve size being 1,25 mm and the second mesh sieve size being 500 µm. Larger pieces of plastic were hand-picked from the soil. </p> <p>“The sifted soil from the steel 500 µm sieve was then separated using a density-separation technique, as plastic is normally lighter than water and floats. The pieces can then be collected and counted,” he says.</p> <p>Density separation entails adding iodine salt to water. Iodine salt is heavy and makes the density of the solution heavier than that of water or most plastics. The soil is then stirred into the solution and left for the soil particles to settle out for 24 hours. The plastic floats to the top layer. The top layer containing the plastic particles is then filtered through steel sieves of 25 µm mesh.</p> <p>The particles were then counted under a microscope, enabling the students to estimate that the lawn in front of the Law Faculty contained approximately 10 million small pieces of plastic. Plastic particles were also present on the sports grounds, as well as in run-off areas, from where they will enter streams, rivers, stormwater pipes and groundwater. The soil from the Botanical Garden contained far fewer plastic particles. </p> <p>The study showed the presence of enormous amounts of plastic in the soil, providing a baseline for future research and interventions to reduce plastic pollution on the NWU grounds. The use of confetti poppers and fireworks in celebrations has been normalised, but it is still a form of littering. Other bio-friendly alternatives are possible, such as dried flower petals, paper confetti, or digital effects, although these also have their own problems.</p> <p>The study recommends interventions to reduce plastic pollution on the NWU grounds, such as promoting the use of bio-friendly alternatives, implementing proper waste management practices, and raising awareness among students and staff. </p> <p><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Potchefstroom/students-pollution-STORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Students Lohan Bredenhann, Raeesa Bhikhoo, and Francois Bothma was part of the research team.</p> <p><iframe align="middle" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400px" src="https://www.nwu.ac.za/sites/www.nwu.ac.za/files/files/i-news/electronic_newsletters/CE/2024/Vol1-24/Video1.mp4" title="YouTube video player" width="260px"></iframe><iframe align="middle" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400px" src="https://www.nwu.ac.za/sites/www.nwu.ac.za/files/files/i-news/electronic_newsletters/CE/2024/Vol1-24/Video2.mp4" title="YouTube video player" width="260px"></iframe><iframe align="middle" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400px" src="https://www.nwu.ac.za/sites/www.nwu.ac.za/files/files/i-news/electronic_newsletters/CE/2024/Vol1-24/Video3.mp4" title="YouTube video player" width="260px"></iframe></p> </div> Tue, 09 Apr 2024 07:38:16 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29800 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Looking to sustainable agriculture https://news.nwu.ac.za/looking-sustainable-agriculture <span>Looking to sustainable agriculture</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Mafumane">Mafumane Tlhapi</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Mon, 04/08/2024 - 13:19</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Poultry manure could revolutionise farming practices in South Africa, particularly among subsistence farmers in rural areas. This is one of the research findings of Mandisa Mazibuko, a researcher from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.</p> <p>Her research delves into the effects of poultry manure on selected maize cultivars and soil minerals with a focus on promoting sustainable agriculture.</p> <p>She applies recommended rates to determine the rate that produces a high yield and enhances soil mineral content. Consequently, the research also investigates the optimal poultry manure rate and the most suitable maize cultivar for both rain-fed and irrigated field conditions. The application of manure is done according to recommended rates to assess the impact of different poultry manure rates on maize yield and soil mineral improvement.</p> <p>In South Africa, where resources are scarce and access to financial credit is limited for many farmers, Mandisa has recognised the importance of sustainable farming practices. Conventional farming methods are reliant on pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and herbicides which pose health risks to consumers and put a strain on the environment. Sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, advocates for organic manuring, reduced use of synthetics and recycling of crop residues, offering a more financially viable and environmentally friendly alternative.</p> <p>“Central to my approach is the use of poultry manure as a natural fertilizer. Unlike synthetic alternatives, poultry manure enriches the soil with organic matter, promotes microbial activity and provides essential nutrients for plant growth,” she says.</p> <p>The implications of her research extend beyond academic curiosity. By promoting sustainable farming methods, she aims to empower commercial and subsistence farmers, particularly those in rural communities. These communities often lack the resources and knowledge necessary to adopt sustainable practices, making her research invaluable in addressing food security concerns and mitigating the impacts of climate change.</p> <p>Furthermore, Mandisa advocates for integrated weed management strategies, emphasising manual weed removal over chemical herbicides. This approach not only reduces costs for farmers but also minimises risks to beneficial organisms and human health, contributing to a more sustainable agricultural ecosystem.</p> <p>To assess the long-term impact of her research, Mandisa employs soil analysis before and after manure application and multiple planting seasons to track its effectiveness over time. By measuring changes in soil minerals and plant growth, she aims to provide concrete evidence of the benefits of sustainable farming practices.</p> <p>“Beyond immediate environmental and agricultural benefits, my research underscores the broader socio-economic advantages of sustainable agriculture. By increasing food production while reducing input costs, sustainable farming can contribute to rural development and economic growth, ultimately improving the overall well-being of communities.”</p> <div class="row"> <div class="col-sm-4"><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Mafikeng%20News/Mandisa%20pic%201%20story.jpg" title="" /></div> <div class="col-sm-4"><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Mafikeng%20News/Mandisa%20pic%202%20story.jpg" title="" /></div> <div class="col-sm-4"><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Mafikeng%20News/Mandisa%20pic%203%20story.jpg" title="" /></div> <p class="text-align-center">Mandisa Mazibuko's journey towards sustainability.</p> </div> </div> Mon, 08 Apr 2024 11:19:46 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29798 at https://news.nwu.ac.za “A Faculty Who Cares” goes the extra mile for learners https://news.nwu.ac.za/faculty-who-cares-goes-extra-mile-learners <span>“A Faculty Who Cares” goes the extra mile for learners</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Belinda">Belinda Bantham</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Mon, 04/08/2024 - 13:00</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Grade 12 learners are on the brink of adulthood, facing decisions about their future careers and lifestyles. The weight of these decisions and expectations from parents, teachers and society can be overwhelming.</p> <p>Amid their stresses and worries, they can count on the support of mentors such as Prof Fazel Freeks, associate professor and coordinator of community engagement at the Faculty of Theology of the North-West University (NWU).</p> <p>Prof Freeks is behind the “A Faculty Who Cares” initiative. He started it in 2020 to assist Grade 12 learners with study methods, while also offering motivation, inspiration and career guidance. He worked with the Promosa Secondary School and the Potchefstroom Secondary School.</p> <p>“So many learners finish matric and are unsure about what career choices to make and end up choosing the wrong field of study, mainly because of pressure from their parents. This is an issue I feel very passionately about, and it is something I address by giving these learners motivational talks on career development and career choices.”</p> <p>Issues such as substance abuse and violence are contributing factors that hinder the youth and their academic performance, and this initiative also aims to educate them about such matters.</p> <p><strong>Expanding the circle</strong></p> <p>Prof Freeks’s vision for this initiative is to collaborate with other faculties in the NWU and to introduce more schools to this initiative.</p> <p>His passion for motivating and mentoring learners stems from a deeply held belief in the transformative power of guidance and encouragement. “Since starting this initiative, I have seen the differences and results, and I am exceptionally proud of what the learners have achieved.”</p> <p>At the Promosa Secondary School, 82 learners wrote the matric exams in 2023 and 59 learners passed, representing a pass rate of 71,9%. At the Potchefstroom Secondary School, 84 learners wrote the exams, and the pass rate was 78,6%.</p> <p>Prof Freeks expresses his gratitude towards the Faculty of Theology, the dedicated school principals, Mr Jacobus Claassen and Mrs Veyonny Rochelle Ferris, as well as the schools’ teachers for their leadership and collaboration.</p> <p>“In a world where your impact may not always be immediately visible, please know that you are making a difference,” is his message to them.</p> <p>Prof Freeks adds that their dedication shapes the future, one learner at a time. “You are truly the heart of our educational community.”</p> <div class="row"> <div class="col-sm-4"><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Potchefstroom/Fazel-STORY.jpg" title="" /><p>Prof Fazel Ebrihiam Freeks.</p> </div> <div class="col-sm-4"><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Potchefstroom/Potch-secondary.jpg" title="" /><p>Grade 12 learners at Potchefstroom Secondary School receive their certificates of merit.</p> </div> <div class="col-sm-4"><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Potchefstroom/Promosa-STORY.jpg" title="" /><p>Grade 12 learners from Promosa Secondary School.</p> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 08 Apr 2024 11:00:55 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29797 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Tennis continues to triumph at the NWU https://news.nwu.ac.za/tennis-continues-triumph-nwu <span>Tennis continues to triumph at the NWU</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Bertie">Bertie Jacobs</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/28/2024 - 11:41</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Languages with origins from across the world were heard, and the tennis courts at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds at the North-West University (NWU) became a global village during the recent hosting of two junior ITF tournaments.</p> <p>The upsurge in the number of tennis tournaments hosted by the NWU has been something to behold, and can be attributed to the new clay courts at the Potchefstroom Campus as well as the superlative organising and coaching team.</p> <p>Coupled with that is the university’s High Performance Institute and the NWU’s Sports Village, which cater for exercise, rehabilitation and accommodation needs. All this makes the NWU the preeminent tennis destination in the country.</p> <p>“We have been hosting ITF tournaments for almost twenty years and it is always a wonderful, proud moment to see some of the game’s best under 18 players on our courts. The players come from the Czech Republic, Germany, France, England, Poland, South Africa and elsewhere, and they are all full of praise for our facilities. There are few other facilities in the country that can match us, with our five clay courts, ten hard courts and two grass courts. We provide ample choices for visiting players,” says Heléne Botha, manager of tennis, netball and aquatics at the Potchefstroom Campus.</p> <p>“Personally, I am very proud to be part of the NWU’s sports structure and it gives me great joy to hear the exceedingly positive comments from our visitors.”</p> </div> Thu, 28 Mar 2024 09:41:10 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29769 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Reserve Bank remains highly cautious amid uncertainties https://news.nwu.ac.za/reserve-bank-remains-highly-cautious-amid-uncertainties <span>Reserve Bank remains highly cautious amid uncertainties</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/28/2024 - 10:45</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“While most analysts believe that, barring shocks, rates have now peaked in South Africa, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) for understandable reasons still sees inflation risks as being on the upside.”</p> <p>In commenting on the decision by the MPC on 27 March to again leave interest rates unchanged, Prof Raymond Parsons, economist at the North-West University (NWU) Business School, says it was widely expected that interest rates would be left unchanged.</p> <p>“The SARB remains highly cautious amid the combined uncertainties it sees generated by factors such as ‘sticky’ inflation, rand volatility, United States interest rates, and South Africa’s pending elections on May 29.”</p> <p>According to Prof Parsons, monetary policy will therefore not be recalibrated at this juncture, hence the decision to leave rates high for longer.</p> <p>He says that, in the meantime, the continued prospect of unchanged borrowing costs is nevertheless a stabilising factor in consumer and business confidence, together with the prospect of lower inflation later in the year that is now being pencilled in by several analysts.</p> <p>“For the MPC, the timing of any easing in interest rates clearly remains directly linked to future inflation trends and a further reduction in inflationary expectations. The MPC’s message is that it will not start cutting rates until inflation visibly winds down and is entrenched at the mid-point (4,5%) of the SARB’s inflation target range of 3% to 6%.”</p> <p>Prof Parsons says the SARB wants to be satisfied that the outcomes are sustainable. “That said, it now seems unlikely that the SARB will begin to reduce interest rates until the second half of 2024. It may be anticipated that, in general, the key inflation data will be more favourable by then and, in particular, that the outcome of the elections will also be known.”</p> <p>He explains that even if interest rates begin to ease in the latter half of 2024, the initial cut will probably be no more than 25 basis points.</p> <p>“The MPC reaffirmed its 2024 GDP growth forecast of 1,2% and still sees the risks to the growth outlook as ‘balanced’. However, high-frequency economic data for early 2024 have been weak, and the SARB’s own composite leading business cycle indicator declined by 0,5% in January 2024. With monetary policy now remaining in restrictive territory for longer, these growth forecasts may be a little on the optimistic side, unless other economic reforms are more speedily implemented,” he concludes.</p> </div> Thu, 28 Mar 2024 08:45:25 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29768 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Academic explores customary law among Khoi-San communities https://news.nwu.ac.za/academic-explores-customary-law-among-khoi-san-communities <span>Academic explores customary law among Khoi-San communities</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Mafumane">Mafumane Tlhapi</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/28/2024 - 09:46</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Prof Christa Rautenbach, a lecturer at the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Faculty of Law, recently delivered a keynote address titled "Reviving and recognising customary law: traditional leadership and governance among Khoi-San communities" at the Commission on Khoi-San Matters Research Symposium in Cape Town.</p> <p>The symposium was a collaborative effort between the Commission on Khoi-San Matters and esteemed academic institutions, such as the University of the Western Cape, University of Stellenbosch, University of Johannesburg, Sol Plaatje University and Rhodes University.</p> <p>It aimed to delve into critical discussions surrounding Khoi-San customary laws and customs. Furthermore, this collaborative dialogue aimed to foster understanding for and advance the process of recognition for Khoi-San communities in South Africa.</p> <p>The symposium specifically focused on Section 5(1)(a) of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act 3 of 2019, which faced constitutional challenges culminating in the landmark case of Mogale v Speaker of the National Assembly 2023 (6) SA 58 (CC) on 30 May 2023.</p> <p>Prof Rautenbach's address shed light on the profound impact of colonialism and apartheid on Khoi-San communities. She meticulously examined the meaning of "community" and "customary law and customs," along with the criteria outlined in the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act.</p> <p>In her discourse, Prof Rautenbach aptly remarked, "The legacy of colonialism and apartheid continues to resonate through the fabric of Khoi-San communities, influencing their social structures and legal frameworks. Recognising and revitalising customary law is not merely a legal imperative but a moral obligation to rectify historical injustices."</p> <p>The symposium witnessed a diverse panel of respondents engaging in lively question-and-answer sessions involving Khoi-San community members and leaders, academics and members of the commission and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.</p> <p>Prof Rautenbach's participation in this significant event exemplifies the NWU's commitment to promoting justice and inclusivity in legal discourse. By amplifying voices often marginalised in legal arenas, she highlighted the importance of acknowledging and respecting diverse legal traditions in the pursuit of a more equitable society.</p> <p><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Potchefstroom/Prof-Christa-STORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Prof Christa Rautenbach delivered the keynote address at the Commission on Khoi-San Matters Research Symposium.</p> </div> Thu, 28 Mar 2024 07:46:56 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29767 at https://news.nwu.ac.za NWU and ABSA: strategic partnership to drive innovation and financial collaboration https://news.nwu.ac.za/nwu-and-absa-strategic-partnership-drive-innovation-and-financial-collaboration <span>NWU and ABSA: strategic partnership to drive innovation and financial collaboration</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Steve">Steve Maphakathe</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/28/2024 - 09:19</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Banks provide financing options for various projects and initiatives, and in partnering with ABSA Bank Limited, the North-West University (NWU) can enhance the process of dealing with financing matters for the staff and students.</p> <p>On Monday, 26 February delegates from ABSA met with dignitaries from the NWU at the Potchefstroom Campus to explore various areas of collaboration. The representatives from the NWU gave an overview of the departments of Marketing and Student Recruitment, Student Finances, the NWU Business School, Development and Fundraising, Career Services, as well as Student Life.</p> <p>In collaborating with the NWU, ABSA pledges to develop student entrepreneurs in their supply chain deals. This will be done through their enterprise development division, which enables small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to deliver products or services to corporate entities. In this case, the NWU, being a corporate entity, will deliver the products/services to the student entrepreneurs.</p> <p>Further constructive discussions about financial solutions and financial education were held and will result in numerous joint ventures between the two parties in the near future.</p> <p><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Institutional%20News/NWU-ABSA-STORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>NWU and ABSA - towards achieving collective success and impact.</p> </div> Thu, 28 Mar 2024 07:19:40 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29765 at https://news.nwu.ac.za VC calls for introduction of meritocratic approach to appointment of executives and board members in SOEs https://news.nwu.ac.za/vc-calls-introduction-meritocratic-approach-appointment-executives-and-board-members-soes <span>VC calls for introduction of meritocratic approach to appointment of executives and board members in SOEs</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Bertie">Bertie Jacobs</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Wed, 03/27/2024 - 14:55</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A continued downward trajectory is the only possible forecast for South Africa’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) if political appointments in SOEs continue to take precedence over expertise.</p> <p>This is according to Prof Bismark Tyobeka, principal and vice-chancellor of the North-West University (NWU). Prof Tyobeka says this is not only an inescapable truth, but a gross dereliction of duty by those in key positions, which serves to hamper economic growth to the detriment of the country’s struggling citizens.</p> <p>“The breakdown of corporate governance in our state-owned enterprises and the way we appoint board members in this country is something I find deeply worrying. It is a conversation that should be in the public spotlight and a matter that we should address urgently,” says Prof Tyobeka.</p> <p>“In my view, in order to qualify to sit on a board and make a meaningful contribution, one must either be a peer-recognised expert in a particular field or must have served as an executive in a company. The fact that anyone with political connections or some sort of influential network can simply be appointed to the boards of giant enterprises such as Eskom, Denel, Transnet, CSIR, SAA, SABC and others without meeting one or both of the above requirements is precisely why some of these SOEs have continued to be a relentless drain on the fiscus, bailout after bailout.”</p> <p>“This brings me to the issue of cadre deployment. Whatever you want to call it – cadre deployment or the strategic placement of individuals who are loyal and sympathetic to the cause of a ruling party, which I believe happens all over the world – it has to be based on merit. They must be qualified and experienced individuals with a track record of success and accountability. That will instil confidence in the system. I am not opposed to such appointments in principle, provided they are based on merit.”</p> <p>According to the South African government’s official website, there are about 123 SOEs in the country, operating at national, provincial and local levels. They are crucial to the development of South Africa, they play an instrumental role in ensuring success in a wide range of areas, and are responsible for an unimaginable number of dependants.</p> <p>“Where are the qualifications of the people entrusted with this enormous responsibility and are they being held accountable for their actions or inactions? If we see more failures than fruitful outcomes, does it not mean that our current system is broken and in need of repair. I don’t think so, I know so. SOEs should benefit all South Africans, not exploit them,” concludes Prof Tyobeka.</p> <p><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Institutional%20News/Prof_BTjobeka.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Prof Bismark Tyobeka, NWU principal and vice-chancellor.</p> </div> Wed, 27 Mar 2024 12:55:28 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29764 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Partnership empowers Malawian dietitians https://news.nwu.ac.za/partnership-empowers-malawian-dietitians <span>Partnership empowers Malawian dietitians </span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Willie">Willie du Plessis</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Wed, 03/27/2024 - 12:28</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It takes an expert team of doctors and nurses to ensure effective treatment for critically ill patients. A crucial addition to this team is a dietitian, as studies have shown that without the guidance of nutrition experts, many patients become malnourished while in hospital care.</p> <p>The Dietetics Programme in the School of Applied Health Sciences at the North-West University (NWU) has many years of experience in training quality dietitians in South Africa.</p> <p>A partnership between the NWU and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in Malawi gives Malawian students the opportunity to gain much-needed practical exposure while completing their studies.</p> <p>This collaboration is part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two institutions, enabling four cohorts of Malawian students to gain practical exposure in intensive care units at local hospitals in North West. These include the Potchefstroom Hospital, the Klerksdorp-Tshepong Tertiary Hospital and the Mediclinic.</p> <p><strong>Birth of a new dietetics network</strong></p> <p>Doris Nanga completed her master’s degree at the NWU before returning to Malawi and pursuing her career as a lecturer in Clinical Dietetics at LUANAR, where she is currently a postgraduate coordinator.</p> <p>She says for many years Malawi did not train or have dietitians in hospitals. “We needed a programme that would contribute to establishing a workforce quicker than a full four-year programme.”</p> <p>LUANAR developed a two-year Postgraduate Diploma in Hospital Dietetics to address this. Candidates who already have a basic qualification in nutrition or a BSc degree in Human Physiology can enrol for the postgraduate diploma, which focuses mainly on hospital dietetics.</p> <p>The students complete the medical and paediatric blocks of their studies in Malawi, but the need was in the critical care block, which is a smaller part of the full programme.</p> <p>This is where the NWU became involved. Doris reached out to her mentor, Prof Robin Dolman-Macleod, associate professor of and programme leader for Dietetics at the NWU. They discussed opportunities to enhance the training of Malawian dietitians.</p> <p>This led to the signing of the MoU in 2022, with the first cohort of seven students visiting the NWU in January 2023 for eight weeks. This group graduated at the end of last year. The second group is currently busy with their practical exposure in South Africa, with the third and fourth cohorts joining in 2025 and 2026 respectively.</p> <p><strong>Essential skills to boost patient care</strong></p> <p>“They gain valuable skills in the provision of nutrition support  to patients who cannot eat by themselves but depend on tube feeding or receiving nutrition directly into their veins.”</p> <p>Doris says the students have the opportunity to work with a large range of patients, including premature babies, children and elderly people who have undergone surgery, motor vehicle accident victims, patients with burn injuries and critically ill diabetic patients, as well as cancer patients.</p> <p>The programme is financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Nutrition for Health Activity, which is led by Dr Tinna Manani in the Faculty of Food and Human Sciences at LUANAR. The funds cover the costs of visas, flights, accommodation, food, transport and payment for local dietitians who help Doris and Prof Dolman-Macleod as dietetics preceptors (similar to mentors). </p> <p>Doris hopes that the Malawian government will adopt the programme and possibly equip the hospitals in Malawi so that the programme can continue after 2026.</p> <p><strong>The immeasurable value of collaboration</strong></p> <p>According to Prof Dolman-Macleod, it is not only the practical exposure that is especially beneficial to students from both the NWU and Malawi. “The interaction between students is contributing to a bigger network of dietitians. We have seen with the first cohort that friendships and networking continue even when their studies have been completed.”</p> <p>The NWU’s fourth-year students must spend 10 weeks in a hospital setting, with a few of these weeks focusing on critical care. Prof Dolman-Macleod and Doris arrange this practical component to coincide with the visit of the Malawian students, giving them the chance to interact and share experiences. This interaction also entails leadership development and various other activities.</p> <p>“Our vision at the School of Applied Health Sciences and also at the NWU’s Centre of Excellence for Nutrition (CEN) is to develop scholars in nutrition in Africa. It is important to share our expertise and successes with other countries,” says Prof Dolman-Macleod. “This is a good example of where we have a great opportunity to achieve this aim.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Potchefstroom/Malawi-dieticians-STORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>The second cohort of Malawian students from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) visited the NWU in March 2023. They are in front Lusekero Mwandosya and Bongani Mkandawire. At the back are Prof Robin Dolman-Macleod, Anjawo Nyirenda, Christina Kandewu, Doris Nanga and Rejoice Kachingwe.</p> </div> Wed, 27 Mar 2024 10:28:57 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29763 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Student Counselling and Development is passionate about student well-being https://news.nwu.ac.za/student-counselling-and-development-passionate-about-student-well-being <span>Student Counselling and Development is passionate about student well-being</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Phenyo">Phenyo Mokgothu</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Wed, 03/27/2024 - 10:16</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="text-align-right"><strong>By Keaoleboga Motshabi and Phenyo Mokgothu</strong></p> <p>The Student Counselling and Development (SCD) department at the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Mahikeng Campus took proactive steps to connect with students through a meet-and-greet programme held on 12 March 2024.</p> <p>The meet-and-greet provided an opportunity for students to learn about the role of SCD in enhancing their academic and personal welfare, and that all these services are available not only to on-campus students, but also to those residing off-campus.</p> <p>Lerato Wana, manager of SCD, highlighted the importance of reaching out to off-campus students. "Our statistics show that on-campus students are more likely to seek assistance compared to their off-campus counterparts.</p> <p>“We therefore encourage off-campus students to seek help whenever they need it. They should not feel excluded just because they don't reside on campus," she said, emphasising that SCD is committed to supporting all students, regardless of their living arrangements.</p> <p>In addition to SCD, the event featured participation from other student support units, including the campus health clinic, library and Disability Rights Unit. Together, these units reiterated their commitment to helping and supporting students whenever needed.</p> <p>Lerato also explained how students can access SCD services. “Students have two options for setting up appointments – walk-ins or online appointments through the NWU eFundi platform. SCD operates from Monday to Thursday, from 08:00 to 16:30, ensuring availability during peak hours for student engagement.”</p> <p>She reiterated that any student experiencing a problem or having a concern should come to SCD.</p> <p>“We will address the matter appropriately and provide ongoing support to find a solution. Remember – our goal is to ensure that every student feels supported and empowered to thrive during their time at the NWU.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Mafikeng%20News/Ms%20Lerato%20Wana%20during%20the%20Meet%20and%20greet.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Lerato Wana, manager of Student Counselling and Development on the NWU’s Mahikeng Campus, is passionate about supporting students.</p> </div> Wed, 27 Mar 2024 08:16:06 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29760 at https://news.nwu.ac.za