Remarks by the Chancellor of the University of Venda, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, on the occasion to mark the opening of the new buildings, Main Campus
17 May 2012
Vice-chancellor and Principal, Professor Peter Mbati
Chairperson of Council, Ms Shirley Mabusela and other Members of the University Council
Members of the convocation
Members of the university community
Premier of Limpopo Province, Cassel Mathale
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr. Navanethem Pillay
Thovhele, Gole Mphaphuli
Sponsors and business partners
Ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for joining us on this important occasion to mark the opening of this new section of our university. This occasion is particularly special because the University of Venda is celebrating thirty years of existence this year. During these 30 years of history the university has contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of not only this region but also, the entire nation, by producing alumni that occupy significant positions in both the public and private sectors.
In this regard, a number of activities have been lined up for the entire year, including a series of public lectures by prominent leaders and trend-setters, particularly those that impact on higher education in our country and region. Therefore we are particularly grateful that Dr. Pillay could deliver a lecture on "30 Years of International Protection of Human Rights" here at the university yesterday.
In addition, a number of infrastructure projects have been recently completed. Amongst others is the opening of the following buildings: life sciences building, student administration building, new lecture theatre complex, extension to the school of environmental sciences and the refurbishment of the library.
We also have about 1 700 students graduating on Thursday, 17th and Friday 18th May 2012. This is a matter of pride for the people of Limpopo and in particular, the Vhembe district. The University of Venda is in an irrevocable change mode towards fulfilling its commitment as a quality driven and financially sustainable, comprehensive university. The road ahead will present many opportunities for us, but as expected there will be challenges and obstacles.
To succeed we require to be more innovative, constantly looking at new ways of doing things, correctly and better. We also require the ability to work harder and smarter, and more importantly, to work collaboratively as a team, united in our purpose of steering our university ever further in our quest for excellence.
Our university continues to be on an exponentially positive growth with regard to its research outputs. In the most recent report from the Department of Higher Education and Training, we were awarded 58.37 units for research output publications in 2009, an increase of 71% from the previous year.
In November 2010 council approved a new research policy document which makes provision for more incentives to further increase our research outputs. The number of the National Research Foundation rated researchers increased from 1 in 2008 to 13 in 2012.
We anticipate adding even more in 2013. Building a critical mass of rated researchers in our university is important in driving the research agenda and is also an important catalyst for innovative teaching, curriculum development and technology transfer for the benefit of our communities.
I would once again like to thank the corporate world and sponsors for their confidence in the university through their contributions, despite their difficult economic situations. We remain confident that our partnerships will intensify as the university increases its engagement with the community.
I would also like to thank the Ministry of Higher Education and Training for its contributions and support of this university. The university has made strides thanks to the consistent support of the various stakeholders and we trust that this continued support will stand the university in good stead today, tomorrow and forever!
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency
17 May 2012
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