Gauteng Health and Wellness MEC Nomantu Nkomo Ralehoko undertook a follow up visit to SMU today 05 May 2023. She was accompanied by a high powered delegation from both the Premier’s office and the department. In welcoming the MEC and her entourage to SMU, Vice-Chancellor Prof Peter Mbati said he appreciated and was encouraged by the visit to the University as this brought hope that government is serious about working with the University. “We are the only dedicated health sciences university in Southern Africa and this presents a huge opportunity for SMU. I must add that there is really a renewed strategic intent to be a leader in both health education and health services because we work very closely with our clinical platforms. We have an integral working relationships as we have said in the past with Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, the National Health Laboratory Services, and have a dedicated dental teaching hospital”, said Mbati.
Mbati used the occasion to revisit some of the matters raised with the MEC during her previous visit. These included the matter of Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital being a fit for purpose tertiary academic teaching hospital; facilities for oral health services and their repurposing; staffing for both School of medicine and dental hospital; issues of the bulging student debt amongst others. He explained that SMU is home to a large proportion of students from indigent families who qualify and have a right to be here to pursue their studies but have difficulties to pay their tuition fees. “We plead with the MEC and Premier’s offices for an increase of bursaries for students who come to SMU and also call for innovative ways to clear issues of students’ debt”.
Mbati also announced that plans are underway to build a centre for pandemics at SMU. “This is a project that is being coordinated from the department of Science and Innovation and will be a collaborative effort between SMU and 6 other universities. I was in Canada for a South Africa/Canada universities forum and there is an intention to bring in partnerships from Canada to assist us in the setting up of the centre for pandemics”, he said.
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MEC Nkomo Ralehoko conducts a follow up visit to SMU to give feedback