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Prof Chris de Beer: SMU Vice-Chancellor

Compliments of the new season, Colleagues, and a warm welcome to you at the beginning of the new academic year.

SMU’s rise to prominence in the fourth year of its existence was the result of many factors: the contribution of dedicated staff, the enthusiasm and inventiveness of graduate and undergraduate students, and the active support and engagement of our government and partners from all walks of life. Just as importantly, the Management and the Council, as well as the academic and administrative staff, have all played a huge role in ensuring that the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University remains the fountain of knowledge it is today. Here at SMU, we want to inspire both our students and staff to reach their full potential, to advance knowledge, and to make a positive contribution to the world. I am confident that, together, we will achieve our vision.

In line with SMU’s approved student enrolment plan, I am pleased to say that the registration process is underway and that the University will do its best to accommodate all qualifying students. The registration of returning students commenced on 4 January 2018 and the process was completed successfully. First-time entering students started arriving on 22 January 2018 and colleagues from the Schools and various Support Departments are working hard to ensure that those who qualified are successfully registered.

We are all aware of the announcement by the government regarding free higher education, and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), NSFAS and USAf have been supportive in guiding and providing information to institutions on how to assist qualifying students. All information and circulars in the above regard have been distributed to relevant University officials and the SMU community at large. Kindly familiarize yourself with the content and the concomitant protocols. However, government still needs to engage with various stakeholders to facilitate the impact and full implementation of free higher education for qualifying students.

SMU does not exist in a vacuum – it exists within a particular social, economic, cultural, political and historical context, and it forms an integral part of the community in which it is located. In this regard, SMU’s third core purpose is to discharge its critical social responsibility through community engagement. Let us hold hands and work together to empower our communities.

Thank you for everything you do to make Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University such a thriving institution.

My very best wishes to all of you for a healthy and productive 2018.