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Portfolio Committee on Higher Education Science and Innovation upbeat on Developments at SMU

Media Statement
Date: 21 October 2021
For Immediate Release

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education Science and Innovation conducted an oversight visit at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University on 19 October 2021. In attendance were members of the SMU Council led by Ms Mmanare Mamabolo (Deputy Chairperson of Council), University Management led by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter
Mbati, representatives of organised labour and members of the Student Representative Council. Other members of Council in attendance were Mr Thabiso Lekoana and Dr
Mangaliso Mahlaba. The Portfolio Committee was led by its Chairperson, Honorable Nompendulo Mkhatshwa accompanied by Honorable Tebogo Letsie.

The Committee embarked on a tour of the Campus to inspect both infrastructure and research facilities, which included the construction site of the new 2,000 bed student residence, the new boundary wall, NHLS laboratories, Virology/Microbiology laboratories and the new Entrepreneurship Incubation Centre. Following the Campus tour, the Vice-Chancellor made a presentation to the Committee on the University’s five-year Strategic Plan, the progress made as well as prospects and challenges.

As part of securing the future of SMU, Prof Mbati explained to members of the Portfolio Committee that Council had approved a New Business Model to ensure the financial sustainability of the University. Key to this model is increasing the numbers of students to 13,500, exploring new options for student funding, commercialization initiatives and a strong third stream income strategy. Such initiatives are important, according to the Vice-Chancellor, given some of the challenges related to student funding, student debt, backlog
maintenance, and the dire need for additional office space.

Mbati added that the University had made significant strides in creating a new institutional culture preceded by the signing of a Culture Compact by all stakeholders (management, labour and SRC) committing themselves separately and collectively to work for the good of the University. It was also emphasized that the roll out of the Performance Management System has been given sufficient attention for all employees to continuously contribute to a high performance culture. Professor Mbati emphasized the importance of every stakeholder playing their specified roles and not conflating them, in order for SMU to be successful.

Honorable Letsie emphasized the importance of stability on campus as an important recipe for success. He further cautioned that factionalism and lack of cohesion in the governance and management of institutions leads to dysfunctionality and ultimately universities being placed under administration.

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee said it is their responsibility to ensure that the higher education sector delivers on its promises and mandate, and visits such as this provides them with an opportunity to get first-hand experience on how institutions are delivering on their mandates. The Committee was generally upbeat on the progress and developmental trajectory of SMU and promised to embark on future visits to check progress on the many exciting initiatives currently being undertaken at the University.

Issued by the Communication and Marketing
For more details, please contact Odette Ramsingh, email address Odette.ramsingh@smu.ac.za
Phone 012 521 3383/4707 Cell: 0824164932

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Media Statement Portfolio Committee on Higher Education Science and Innovation Upbeat about developments at SMU

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