UKZN Student Scoops Corobrik Award

UKZN Student Scoops Corobrik Award
Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year – UKZN’s Mr Mongezi Ncube.

UKZN Architecture student Mr Mongezi Ncube is the regional winner of the 2013 Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year award.

Mongezi’s thesis explored urban informality as a generator for meaningful built form through his proposal for a multipurpose trade hub in Warwick Junction. The proposed building is to support informal traders who need a productive space to work from.

The central challenge he poses through his design is: Why not have the courage, where practical, to let people shape their own environment?

‘The aim of the design was to provide a built-form where the people have the ability to define its configuration. This was done through consultation with all of the relevant stakeholders because community participation empowers people within a specific context to influence the way they want the built form to be configured,’ said Mongezi.

‘This also has the benefit of making sure the built form will be of some value and meaning for informal workers when they are given the opportunity to apply the knowledge they themselves have developed.’

Asked about his family’s response to the award, Ncube said, ‘At times it felt like we were all studying architecture. They would listen to me rambling on about design concepts and theories, and they would try to engage me wherever they could. It was during these “conversations” I came up with my best ideas.

‘When it eventually came to an end a few weeks ago, their facial expressions said it all. My parents had that look that every child strives to get - a sense of pride. It felt as though through me we achieved something they couldn’t in their time.’

Regarding his perceptions of, and aspirations within, the built-environment sector, he added: ‘I think architects have forgotten about the ordinary person on the street. We are so busy trying to outdo each other that we seem to forget who we are designing for. If my career could make an impact in my field, it would be to make architects and urban design professionals remember what are we doing and who we should be doing it for.

‘I made a promise to myself in first year that I would never forget where I came from and the people that made me in whatever I do in my architectural career.’

Ncube hopes to do more community projects and actively participate with community members to make a meaningful contribution to society.

-          Melissa Mungroo and Tasmi Quazi

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Essack on Health Standards Compliance Board

Essack on Health Standards Compliance Board
Professor Sabiha Essack.

UKZN’s Dean of the School of Health Sciences in the College of Health Sciences, Professor Sabiha Essack, has been appointed to the Board of the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC).

National Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, appointed Essack to serve on the board for the next three years.

The OHCS was established in terms of the National Health Amendment Act 2013 to regulate compliance with norms and standards by health establishments.

The objectives of the OHCS are to protect and promote the health and safety of users and health services by monitoring and enforcing compliance by health establishments with norms and standards prescribed by the Minister in relation to the National Health System; and ensuring consideration, investigation and disposal of complaints relating to non-compliance with prescribed norms and standards in a procedurally fair, economical and expeditious manner.

Essack, whose name was put forward for the board by UKZN’s Deputy Vice- Chancellor of Health Sciences, Professor Rob Slotow, said: ‘It is an honour and privilege to serve the national Department of Health.  Interactions at this level will be an invaluable learning experience.’ 

The OHSC, set up on a model based on the British Quality Care Commission, has different units with the first being the inspectorate. It is mandatory for the unit to inspect every health facility once every four years with problematic health facilities being inspected more often to avoid deterioration.

Once inspected, a facility will be graded on a scale of A to F and a report released publicly.

The second unit of the body is a health ombudsperson. The public will be able to lodge complaints about negative experiences (including non-availability of drugs and long waiting times) encountered during visits to health facilities.

 Essack (B. Pharm., M. Pharm., PhD) is a Professor in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UKZN; co-chair of the South African Chapter of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA); country representative on the Global Respiratory Infections Partnership (GRIP), and serves on the WHO’s Technical Working Group on Health Workforce Education Assessment Tools, the South African National Working Group of the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP), and the South African Antibiotic Stewardship Programme Working Group. She is also a peer-reviewed member of the Southern African FAIMER Regional Institute (SAFRI) community.

Essack’s current research areas include antibiotic resistance, human resources for health access, and retention and success in Higher Education.

 - Nombuso Dlamini

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International Workshop on Time Use Survey Data Analysis

International Workshop on Time Use Survey Data Analysis
Members of an international workshop on time use.

An international workshop on time use survey data analysis was recently hosted by Professor Imraan Valodia of the School of Built Environment, and Development Studies (BEDS).

The workshop was held in association with the International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR) and the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE). 

‘Economists and other social scientists in developed and developing countries have promoted the collection and analysis of time use data, which provide a more comprehensive understanding of the economy, revealing the significance of unpaid work - including care work - in economic life,’ said Valodia.

Valodia pointed out that time use studies were of particular relevance to developing and transition countries because so much productive activity occurred outside the market economy, much of it through the contribution of women’s unpaid labour.

Following the Beijing Platform for Action, the United Nations has urged governments to conduct regular time use surveys as a way of showing the extent of the unpaid work performed by women.

‘Despite significant progress on data collection in developing and transition countries such as India, South Africa, China, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Nepal, Bolivia, Armenia, Tunisia and Azerbaijan, and some recent publications on the subject, time use data has not been sufficiently analysed by researchers and economists in developing and transition economies.

‘This is a serious oversight, since time use data are a key tool for understanding the effects of public policies on, for example, women’s labour force participation, unpaid work, and well being,’ said Valodia.

The three-day Durban workshop is the fourth of its kind, following earlier workshops held in China, India and Brazil. The workshops looked at presentations from highly experienced time use researchers: laboratory sessions that provided hands-on experience in using developing country time use data; and small-group sessions at which participants had the chance to discuss their own time use research ideas with others who have similar interests.

During the Workshop, participants became familiar with the sampling design, data characteristics and were made aware of innovative, empirical techniques to help them address relevant policy concerns and were given suggestions on how to make their research connect to policy debates as well as reach a broader readership.  

-          Melissa Mungroo

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Law Clinic and Legal Aid SA Partner to Strengthen Legal Education

Law Clinic and Legal Aid SA Partner to Strengthen Legal Education
Members of UKZN’s Law Clinic.

A strategic partnership between UKZN’s Law Clinic and Legal Aid South Africa has made it possible for the Clinic to increase capacity  thus ensuring that it is adequately equipped to provide legal assistance to the community. Since the commencement of the funding the Clinic has almost doubled its client intake.

Legal Aid SA is funding a supervising attorney for three years to mentor the Clinic’s candidate attorneys thereby enhancing their legal skills in dealing with actual cases. For now funding is also provided for a legal secretary and three candidate attorneys as well as certain running costs.

Some of the matters handled by the Clinic include divorce, unlawful evictions, contractual and estate matters, debt, employment issues, housing and family matters. Jurisdiction in terms of the magistrate courts are namely, Durban, Pinetown, Umlazi, Chatsworth and Wentworth. The Clinic is also fortunate and appreciative of the fact that in certain matters we are often assisted by the Society of Advocates of KwaXulu-Natal on a pro bono basis. This obviously enhances the quality of the service rendered to the indigent public.

Advising and informing the community of their rights is another function carried out especially through the work done by the UKZN Clinical Law students. To make people aware of its services, the clinic has embarked on a marketing campaign through displaying posters, informing the public of their services at various courts.

Supervising attorney, Mr Lionel Soupen said that the Clinic is the main source of legal information for the public however if a matter falls out of their jurisdiction they refer clients to other organisations that will be able to assist.

‘Before we meet with a client, we offer them a pre-consultation form to evaluate if they meet the criteria. If they qualify, they meet with the candidate attorney who then offers them legal assistance. In the last quarter we closed 54 cases out of 160. We also get referrals from the court which shows that people are aware of our services,’ said Mr Soupen.

The Clinic’s Principal Attorney Mr Eben van der Merwe (currently the Acting Director) said the agreement makes it possible for cases to be finalised quickly and effectively.

‘Having a supervising attorney ensures that the four candidate attorneys that we have at the moment are prepared to consult with clients through providing them with interviewing skills which they will need in the legal profession. It also ensures that we can double capacity as we usually only take two candidate attorneys this means that we are able to get through double the cases,’  he said.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Law Academic Presents at International Conference

UKZN Law Academic Presents at International Conference
Professor David McQuoid-Mason addressing students of Hebron University.

Chairperson of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS), Professor David McQuoid-Mason, recently presented a paper titled: “Clinical Legal Education and Community Service – the South African Experience with Particular Reference to UKZN” at the International Conference on Global Legal Education hosted by the Hebron University’s Law School in Palestine.

The UKZN academic also conducted a Street Law workshop.

The Conference and workshop were attended by academics and students from Palestine, Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Jordan and Egypt who exchanged ideas on a wide range of topics on clinical legal education and legal education in general.

‘During the Conference I had discussions with the Dean of the School of Law, Dr Mutaz M. Qafisheh, concerning a possible exchange agreement  between Hebron University and UKZN,’ said McQuoid-Mason.  ‘The suggestion was very well received. Dr Qafisheh would like to go ahead with the agreement and was interested in the Post-Doctoral Fellowship programme at UKZN catering for staff members on six months sabbaticals rather than one year.’

The Conference topics included the global clinical law movement and social justice and clinical legal education. There were also sessions on methods of teaching clinical law, human rights and Islamic law. The Street Law workshop involved demonstrations and audience participation in interactive teaching methods used in Street Law programmes.

Last year McQuoid-Mason conducted workshops and presented conference papers in countries such as Afghanistan, Taiwan, Armenia and India, to mention a few.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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Conference Examines African and South African Challenges in Local Governance

Conference Examines African and South African Challenges in Local Governance
Professor Purshottama Reddy.

Local government specialist Professor Purshottama Reddy of UKZN’s School of Management, Information Technology and Governance and the doyen of Public Administration in South Africa, Professor Chris Thornhill, highlighted some of the key challenges facing local government at the sixth annual Conference of the School of Public Administration and Management (SPMA) hosted by the University of Pretoria.

The Conference was attended by prominent government role players, academics, local and international scholars and practitioners in Public Administration.

Thornhill’s paper, “Sustainable Service Delivery in Democratic Local Government: Critical African Challenges and Prospects”, provided an overview of local government in selected countries in Africa and then South Africa.

‘It is quite clear that there is considerable overlap in the local governance challenges currently being experienced on the Continent and South Africa,’ said Thornhill. ‘These issues need to be thoroughly interrogated and reflected on in the South African context as it evolves as a young democracy and give substance to the notion of a developmental state. The African experience in local government has dictated that cognisance has to be taken of some of the lessons, both good and bad, in the quest for a more equitable, just and developmental society.’

Reddy highlighted the prerequisites for democracy and pointed out that the notion of good governance was closely linked to democracy and generally followed on from this process.

‘A recurring theme in both processes - democracy and good governance - is the rule of law, participation, accountability and transparency in decision making. In all fairness to the Government, they have introduced polices and legislation to address the basic needs of the citizenry, although there are considerable challenges in this regard,’ said Reddy.

Other challenges highlighted by Reddy included the financial viability of municipalities/poor financial management; local economic development not being taken seriously; lack of capacity or skills and the politicisation of senior appointments. 

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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Launch of UKZN Collaborative Survey on Manufacturing Firms in Greater Durban

Launch of UKZN Collaborative Survey on Manufacturing Firms in Greater Durban
The UKZN team involved in the eThekwini Medium and Large Manufacturing Survey.

UKZN’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) recently launched a major new research initiative - the 2013/14 survey on medium and large manufacturing establishments within the eThekwini Municipal district. 

With important collaborative and financial support from the eThekwini Municipality, the Employment Promotion Programme, the National Research Foundation (NRF), the provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the national Economic Development Department, the survey is collecting data on the current conditions of various sectors within the manufacturing sector in the region.

The survey also aims to follow up with establishments from a 2002/2003 survey and to demonstrate the dynamic picture in manufacturing sectors such as clothing and textiles, agro-processing and metal works. This component of the survey will, for example, allow the researchers to understand changes in employment levels within manufacturing firms.

The survey analysis will provide policymakers, the business community and researchers with valuable insights into the efficacy of current industrial policies, and provide a valuable resource for research on the focus of future policies for industrial development. The survey also positions the city of Durban as one of the few local governments with panel data on manufacturing firms.

The survey team is led by Professor Imraan Valodia of BEDS supported senior researchers, Dr Myriam Velia, Mr Glen Robbins and Ms Kathleen Diga and doctoral and masters students as its core staff.

‘The project also seeks to build capacity, such as training of these students and of some staff at eThekwini’s Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit,’ said Valodia.

The project was launched at the 3rd Economic Development & Growth in eThekwini (EDGE) breakfast seminar, hosted by eThekwini Municipality and UKZN.

The seminar, themed: “Making Industrial Policy Relevant at the Local Level”, welcomed guest speaker, the acting Deputy Director-General of the Department of Trade and Industry, Mr Garth Strachan, who helped unpack problems, the new industrial policy context, and other matters as they are experienced on the ground by medium and large manufacturing firms.

For more information, refer to the project website:

- Melissa Mungroo

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I-UKZN Yamukela abafundi bonyaka wokuqala bezifundo zobuhlengikazi

I-UKZN Yamukela abafundi bonyaka wokuqala bezifundo zobuhlengikazi
Abafundi bonyaka wokuqala bezifundo zobuhlengikazi ngesonto lokwamukela nokujwayeza (Orientation Week).

I-UKZN yamukele abafundi abangama-68 bonyaka wokuqala ngesikhathi sesonto lokwamukela nokujwayeza (Orientation Week).

Abafundisi bezifundo zobuhlengikazi uNksz Nozipho Mthembu noNksz Jane Kerr, bathe leli sonto lizosiza abafundi ukuthi baqonde uhlaka lolwazi oluthintene nezidingo zokuzinakekela (self-care) nokuhlola izidingo zeziguli, ukuhlela  ukungenelela ngokuhlenga nokuhlola imiphumela yokwenziwe.

Obekuhloswe ngaleli sonto bekuwukucija abafundi ngezindlela eziyisisekelo sokuhlenga, nokuzihlanganisa nobuhlengikazi ezingeni lomuntu uqobo nasemsebenzini kanye nokwenza umlando nokuhlola ngokubuza (interview) umuntu wanoma iliphi izinga lobudala.

Abafundi banikwa ithuba lokuzethula babuye banike izizathu zokukhetha lo mkhakha.

UMnu Percival Mthembu, owaphothula izifundo zakhe zikamatikuletsheni  ekolishi iSt Francis, uthe wayefisa ukufundela ezomthetho kodwa waguquka esefunda ibanga le-11 emva kokuvakashela esibhedlela. ‘Kwakunabahlengikazi abambalwa futhi behluleka ukumelana nesidingo. Nganquma khona lapho ukuthi ngizoba umhlengikazi ukuze ngikwazi ukusiza abanye.’

UMnu Robert Mugisha ongowokuzalwa e-Uganda ophuma emndenini onodokotela nabahlengikazi, waba nothando lokuba umhlengikazi esasemncane. Wayejwayele ukuhamba nonina ukuya emsebenzini.

UNksz Slindile Makhwaza,  owaphothula izifundo zakhe zikamatikuletsheni e-Udumo High School, wakhula enakekela umfowabo okhubazekile. ‘Ngathwala kanzima ekuqaleni kodwa emuva kokushona kukamama  ngakuthokozela kakhulu ukumnakekela, usho enezezela nangokuthi lokhu kwamenza wazibona ukuthi unothando olungakanani lobuhlengikazi.

Ukungaphathwa kahle abahlengikazi esibhedlela kwenza  uNksz Phindile Mhlanga athathe isinqumo sokuba umhlengikazi. ‘Ngifuna ukulungisa konke engakubona nengadlula kukho ngenkathi ubaba elaliswe esibhedlela  ngonyaka wezi-2012. Engikufunayo ukunikeza abantu ithemba nentokozo,’ usho kanje.

Yize bebenezizathu ezihlukene zokukhetha lomsebenzi wokuhlenga, bonke bebebukeka benothando olufanayo lokuqala izifundo zabo.

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-          Nombuso Dlamini

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