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Initiatives to re-open site of delivery in North West

The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Matlosana, in partnership with Mbuso Management Solutions, to explore ways of having the old Klerksdorp site of delivery re-opened in the North West Province in the near future. This site of delivery was closed down in 2008 due to dwindling student enrolments, which made the campus unsustainable.

VUT will conduct a feasibility study to understand and assess the needs of the community and industry in the City of Matlosana. This will help to prevent making the same mistakes as when the Klerksdorp site of delivery was initially established.

On 24 July, a delegation from VUT visited the City of Matlosana to meet with its leadership and view the infrastructure that could be used as a campus when the time comes.

With the closure and decline of the mining industry in the area, due to various economic conditions and pressures, a lot of mining infrastructure has been left unused. The City of Matlosana is able to make mining facilities available to VUT in order to bridge the skills gap and develop the economy of the city.

The VUT delegation, led by Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Gordon Zide, was warmly received. The Executive Mayor, Councillor Maetu Kgaile, and the ANC caucus in the city, were part of the meeting. The meeting was also attended by the representatives of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality and the local chamber of business.

Together, all the parties toured the city and the surrounding areas to view the facilities available, three facilities are in Stilfontein and one in Orkney. The delegation was impressed with the facility in Orkney, which appeared to have the required amenities in place. These include an administration block, gymnasium, residences, classrooms and a health facility that could be used as a clinic.

The City of Matlosana together with the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality have expressed their support in working with VUT to ensure it has a footprint in the city and the region that will benefit the local youth and communities.

Professor Zide said seeing Klerksdorp closing down was not a pleasant experience. But it had to happen because of the drop in student enrolments and the fact that the government does not subsidise sites of delivery as it does satellite campuses.

He further said the initiative to re-open the campus provides a great opportunity to take South Africa to the next level, adding every community should embrace the dream like this. He said the White Paper on Post-School Education and the National Development Plan speak in length on provision of education and tertiary education in South Africa.

In conclusion, Prof Zide said for VUT to succeed in spearheading this project, all players must work together. These include VUT, government, community and industry. "Together, we can do more. We want to see the partnership develop and it can only happen if we work together."

Daddy Khuselo, of Mbuso Management Solutions, who facilitated the discussions, explained that even though the mining industry is declining, the city has a lot of business potential and opportunity. He said the conventional methods of mining were no longer relevant and appropriate, but the initiative to re-open the campus may assist in innovatively looking at new technology for mining.

"The City of Matlosana is the gateway to all mega cities of South Africa. All national roads leading to the mega cities in the country go through the City of Matlosana and this cannot be ignored. I am proud that the concept I had envisaged for some time is now being realised," he said. "Agro-processing and manufacturing are key to the development of the economy of this city," he advised.

In conclusion, the Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environmental, Health Disaster and Risk Management in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality, Councillor Rainy Martins said she was pleased with the development on this matter and made a commitment to work together with the VUT to see this dream of re-opening the campus becoming a reality.

Prof Zide then suggested a task team be established in order to kick-start the process. From the side of VUT, the team will be led by Mpho Diago, the Director: Special Projects in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor. Councillor Ntombi Koloti from the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality volunteered to be part of the task team.

The meeting concluded by emphasising the importance of a follow-up meeting, which would hopefully be attended by the Premier of the North West Province, Supra Mahumapelo and the MEC for Education, Sello Lehari.