Education Student Hosts Family Day as Part of Community Development

Education Student Hosts Family Day as Part of Community Development
Ms Phakamile Mazibuko hosts Family Day in Ulundi, northen KwaZulu-Natal.

Master’s in Education student, Ms Phakamile Mazibuko hosted a Family Day event in Ulundi as part of her Phakamile Mazibuko Foundation Community Development Project.

‘Over the past year, COVID-19 has had an immense impact on individuals as well as communities at large. During this difficult time, the Foundation identified numerous challenges within families such as unemployment, poverty and inadequate sanitation. We provided support to 12 disadvantaged families in Ulundi (eWela) with food parcels containing basic grocery and sanitary items,’ explained Mazibuko.

The Phakamile Mazibuko Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aims to positively enhance the lives of young people through various developmental engagements, with priority given to women. The Foundation also conducted open discussions and engagements with the families which included COVID-19 regulations and health measures that they could practice to safeguard against the virus. ‘The engagements with families also included discussions on ways to enhance their current living conditions such as employment creation/opportunities, social skills and mental health,’ she said.

‘We are happy to collaborate with various institutions, organisations and individuals to ensure the success of our future projects and engagements. Please do follow and connect with us on our social media platforms,’ said Mazibuko.

The Foundation will be hosting its 2nd Annual Career Guidance Drive in the latter part of the year. This will see Mazibuko visiting schools to offer career guidance and psychosocial support to Grade 12 learners.

‘These schools are located in deep rural areas under Mahlabathini CMC in Ulundi. We plan to implement progressive movements to assist young people to reach their full potential and achieve greatness in their respective fields. Positive enhancement of communities is dear to our hearts and we aim to serve with compassion and humility,’ she said.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied


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Centre for Civil Society Webinar Unpacks COVID-19 Roll-out Strategies

Centre for Civil Society Webinar Unpacks COVID-19 Roll-out Strategies
Webinar participants, from left: Ms Cathy Kodiemoka, Ms Nomfundo Mkhaba, and Mr Tinashe Njanji.Click here for isiZulu version

The Centre for Civil Society (CCS) within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies hosted a webinar to unpack global COVID-19 vaccine roll-out strategies.

The Community Scholar workshop engaged with civil society organisations and activists working to ensure vaccine literacy, a successful vaccine roll-out and equity in access to vaccines.

The webinar was facilitated by Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) member, Mr Mzamo Zondi and MsPhilisiwe Mazibuku, a member of the Right2Know Campaign. Panellists included Ms Cathy Kodiemoka from the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA); Dr Lucas Ngoetjana of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC); Ms Nomfundo Mkhaba of Waste for Change (NPC); Ms Ngazini Ngidi, a nurse;  and Mr Tinashe Njanji of the People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA).

‘Allocation of vaccines to the various priority groups is being guided by the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC). The Committee advises the Health Ministry on all matters pertaining to the Coronavirus vaccine development and roll-out. The vaccination systems will be based on pre-vaccination registration and an appointment system. All those vaccinated are placed on a national register and are provided with a vaccination card which will be required for overseas travel,’ said Kodiemoka.

The panellists agreed that there is an urgent need for civil society activists to upskill on vaccine literacy and virology and to establish systems to closely monitor pharmaceutical company profiteering and regulatory oversight.

Ngazini said that, while there has been progress, ‘Civil society organisations should also play a supportive role in communities to educate them on vaccinations. This will curb the spread of misinformation. We have already seen myths and misinformation spread about COVID-19 through social media. This information is usually not accompanied by scientifically tested evidence and validated sources,’ she said.

The panellists argued that monitoring the step-by-step process of vaccination of health-care workers could help to improve South Africa’s strategy in rolling out other phases of vaccination.

Words: Sinoyolo Mahlasela

Photographs: Supplied


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Dissecting Labour Case Law in 2021

Dissecting Labour Case Law in 2021
UKZN webinar on labour case law update.

Mastering Labour Law in a professional environment is beneficial for both employer and employee.

Through the use of labour laws, employers can create a peaceful relationship with their employees, which can help them reach their goals and create a positive work environment. Before these laws were enforced, workplaces were often rife with violations which is why the implementation of case law is relevant today.

UKZN Extended Learning (UEL) hosted a webinar on Case Law Update: What’s new in Labour Law? on 11 May that offered insight into UEL’s Certificate in Labour Law and Certificate in Advanced Labour Law programmes. Recent labour case law and its implications for the work environment were discussed. The cases covered women’s vulnerability in the labour force, sexual harassment and misconduct, unfair discrimination and dismissal and intimidation.

Labour laws help to prevent or minimise employee dissatisfaction. They can also be used to resolve disputes and provide guidelines when dealing with employees. These laws are designed to protect the rights of employees and ensure that workers are treated respectfully. Sound knowledge of labour laws protects employees and the organisation and can improve productivity and the quality of outputs. Recent precedents that were set due to COVID-19 were also discussed.

The webinar was favourably received by delegates. Mr Mfumaneko Mzondi commented: ’As a second-year student at the University of South Africa I found this webinar relevant to me and I wanted to learn from an expert on how to go about dealing with labour disputes.’

UEL is offering a mid-year sales promotion for any programme commencing in May or June 2021. Delegates who register for the Advanced Labour Law programme set to take place on 21 June will qualify for a 50% discount on the programme fee!

For more details on this offer, please click here.

For more information on the Certificate in Advanced Labour Law programme contact Thobeka Malinga on email: MalingaT1@ukzn.ac.za or telephone: +27 31 260 1234.

Words: Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

Photograph: Supplied


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Risk Management in a Time of Crisis

Risk Management in a Time of Crisis
Businesses have had to adapt to survive COVID-19.

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that there are some risks that businesses can not completely plan for.

While a number of tools exist to identify the different kinds of business risks, “pandemic risk” is not a common feature. The COVID-19 pandemic has had disastrous effects on many businesses that have had to implement a number of cost reduction measures to survive. Unfortunately, some have not had the means to endure the grueling lockdown restrictions.

UKZN Extended Learning (UEL) recently reviewed its Supply Chain Management programme and redeveloped it to cover this increasingly important area. The focus has been shifted to business risk within the supply chain from a global perspective. It may be difficult to predict the precise risks that could affect businesses but there are procedures that if put in place and effectively managed, could minimise the outcome of risks that may occur.

The Global Supply Chain Management Programme will enable participants to identify potential business disruptions that could affect their organisation and to better understand its vulnerabilities. Participants will also gain risk management expertise in resilience planning, prevention, crisis management and recovery. They will be able to implement effective communication and messaging frameworks when their organisation’s reputation is on the line; and develop expertise in cultivating a resilient, high-performing organisation in times of crisis. On returning to their organisations, they will be able to carry out a detailed company risk assessment and develop mitigation plans to efficiently manage potential risks.

The programme has also been adjusted to fit within the busy schedules of today’s leaders. Instead of three consecutive full-day sessions, it will be presented over six weeks and will consist of three hours live online facilitation per week. The content will build up across the weeks and will also allow time for further understanding. Additional resources will be made available on a Learner Management System that can be accessed by registered students throughout the programme. These resources include additional pre-recorded sessions, readings, case studies and current research materials.

The programme will not only benefit supply chain management specialists but leaders in any industry responsible for decisions impacting their organisations. It includes assignments that will be graded, promoting understanding and the ability to apply learning in real-life case studies.

For the May intake, organisations can also take advantage of UEL’s mid-year sales promotion. Please click here for more details.

For more information on the programme, click here or contact Faith Ndlovu on email: Ndlovuz1@ukzn.ac.za or telephone: +27 31 260 1234.

Words: Sarah Haffenden

Photograph: Supplied


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Understanding Copyright Protection

Understanding Copyright Protection
Ms Zama Buthelezi, UKZN alumnus and senior associate at Spoor and Fisher Attorneys.Click here for isiZulu version

In celebration of World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, UKZN’s InQubate, the University’s technology transfer office hosted a webinar on copyright protection in collaboration with Spoor and Fisher Attorneys.

Ms Charlotte Mashaba, Technology Transfer: Manager highlighted the importance of understanding IP in relation to business and certain disciplines in industry. ‘We’ve hosted a series of webinars and spoken about artificial intelligence and trademarks. Today we’ll be discussing copyrights and giving you an understanding of what they are, what they do and how to use them.’

Ms Zama Buthelezi, senior associate at Spoor and Fisher Attorneys and UKZN alumnus, examined the theme for World IP Day. Given the relationship between ideas and copyright law she read a statement by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): ‘Every business starts with an idea. Each of the millions of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that operate across the globe started with an idea and that took shape in someone’s mind and made its way to market.’

Focusing on the purpose of copyright law in preventing a party from copying, Buthelezi added that copyright is limited to literary, musical and artistic works; sound recordings; cinematograph films; sound and television broadcast; programmes carrying signals; published editions and computer programmes.

She commented that copyrights exist automatically and cannot be registered in South Africa, except for cinematograph films.

Delving into the requirements for copyright protection, Buthelezi said: ‘The work must be original, be a product of the creator’s own efforts and skills and not copied from other sources. It must be in material form and the creator of the work must be a citizen, resident or domiciled in South Africa or a Berne Convention country, or their work should first be published in South Africa or one of the Berne Convention countries.’

Buthelezi emphasised the importance of transferring one’s idea into material form in order for it to be protected and highlighted that copyright only prevents others from reproducing the “work” and not the “idea”.

Drawing on the many facets of IP she explored the various options to protect ideas, inventions, products and the names of businesses, etc. She listed work done during the course of employment and independent contractors as some of the exceptions to copyright ownership.

Finally, Buthelezi noted that copyright has a definite life span that is generally valid for 50 years from the year of the creator’s death or the time the work is first published. Thereafter, it is in the public domain. She also listed restricted acts and infringements that are included in copyright protection and indicated some solutions.

To watch the webinar recording please click here.

Access Passcode: cBRt$t1F

Words: Hlengiwe Khwela

Photograph: Supplied


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Meet the Leader: Perrett Laver in Conversation with Professor Nana Poku

Meet the Leader: Perrett Laver in Conversation with Professor Nana Poku
UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Nana Poku.

UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Nana Poku, was recently recognised as an exceptional leader by Perrett Laver, a global institute which identifies outstanding leaders for organisations solving the world’s biggest challenges and who have an extraordinary impact on society.

Perrett Laver - the leading international executive search firm finding outstanding leaders bringing diversity and vision to “purpose-driven” sectors in more than 70 countries globally - connects the most influential and vibrant organisations (within its sectors) with the highest capacity and most dynamic leaders based on a common set of values and a shared vision for the future.

With an impressive career spanning more than three decades, Poku has led the United Nations Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa at the Economic Commission for Africa and worked in various capacities with global bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and UNAIDS.

Poku, who, according to the organisation, ‘is one of the world’s leading experts in research and policy on the political economy of health and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa,’ sat down with Arabella Chichester, Perrett Laver’s Global Head of the Non-Profit and Social Impact Practice for a “Meet the Leaders” interview. The discussion covered Poku’s career so far, his new role as Chair of the Frontline AIDS Board of Trustees (as of June 2021) and the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

Q: Firstly, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. What are you most proud to have been a part of during your career?

A: I am not usually one to regret or to replay proud moments, as there is far too much work to be done! However, I can say that it is immensely gratifying to have played a role over the past three decades in galvanising the unprecedented international response to the AIDS pandemic, particularly for Africa. My colleagues and I worked incredibly hard, with the kind of focus and determination that the pandemic warranted. In the process, we were able to pioneer the provision of complex medication in a resource limited setting at a time when most in the Western world felt it would be impossible for low- and middle-income countries to get HIV and AIDS treatments because of the costs and complexities inherent in the medication.

I was also fortunate to be at the centre of the development of a global health architecture able to confront HIV and AIDS. Amongst other impacts, this led to the establishment of the Global Fund and the only Global Commission on HIV and AIDS - the United Nations Commission on HIV/AIDS Governance in Africa - which I had the honour of leading. The work of the Commission was pivotal in WHO’s acceleration of HIV treatment in the developing world. 

Q: I have no doubt that 2020 was a challenging year for the fight against AIDS - can you please tell me how has the COVD-19 pandemic impacted efforts?

A: Given the scale, speed and urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic, it could hardly have not been impacted. The problem is compounded because even before COVID-19 struck, the fight against AIDS had lost its position as a uniquely urgent global crisis. We can see that AIDS must now fight for political prioritisation and scant resources with other large global issues, not least climate change.

Generally, it will be some time before we know the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the AIDS response and the dynamics of HIV. Undoubtedly lockdown measures will have had both negative and positive impacts, such as reduced sexual health clinic visits, but also a reduction in risky social interactions. However, the largest impacts will likely be negative, owing primarily to diverted health budgets and highly stressed health systems. Globally, there will be a long “tail” of postponed procedures and operations, which will, in all probability, continue to apply pressure on health budgets and health care systems overall.

Q: COVID-19 has shown us how quickly an effective vaccine can be developed. What does this mean for the development of vaccinations for AIDS and other diseases?

A: I think we were all astonished by how quickly a safe and effective vaccine could be developed by scientific and medical establishments in several parts of the world. The potential of mRNA - that is, genetically encoded vaccines to combat not only infectious diseases but also non-communicable ones such as cancer - has been with us for a number of years, but the COVID-19 vaccine has been a real breakthrough. We could be on the verge of a very exciting new chapter in medicine and human health. Currently, an extended human trial is underway on a malaria vaccine that has to date, shown 77% efficacy. What a transformative, exciting development that would be!

Q: What must be done to ensure that everyone has access to HIV prevention and treatment?

A: Under current conditions, it is going to be very difficult to prevent a retrenchment of treatment programmes, let alone secure the badly needed extension for the 12 million people not currently covered. That makes HIV testing and locally appropriate prevention strategies crucial. As we battle to extend the reach of lifesaving antiretrovirals, we must also ensure that we reverse the tide of new infections. On prevention, we have learned the hard way that generic, culture-blind approaches determined remotely do not work. Hence, I am delighted to be working with Frontline AIDS! 

Q: We were so pleased to work with you on your recent appointment. What exactly attracted you to the role with Frontline AIDS?

A: Frontline AIDS has a unique role as a partnership network, placing resources where they are most needed and best applied, with local expertise and knowledge. There is no one technique, or programmatic response that will work across the variety of communities worst affected by AIDS. As marginalised populations are most at risk, it matters greatly that Frontline AIDS concentrates on those communities and on utterly fundamental matters such as accessible sexual and reproductive health clinics, prevention programmes and HIV testing. 

Q: This is certainly very important work. In your new role as Chair of the Frontline AIDS board of trustees, what would you like to achieve?

A: The board can play an important role in assisting the executive by reviewing and renewing the organisation’s strategy and its means to implement it in an ambitious but sustainable manner. I am enthusiastic about enlarging and strengthening Frontline AIDS’ partnership network, with a particular view to the various means by which local organisations can succeed in preventing the spread of HIV.

Q: Are you hopeful that the world can achieve an AIDS free future?

A: We can certainly reduce AIDS to the extent that it is no longer a global public health emergency. However, extending and maintaining treatment programmes on the scale required is going to take political and financial commitment beyond the current generation of leaders. This would be the case even if we quickly reverse the still serious deficiencies in our prevention efforts. Rates of infection are dropping, but not fast enough to place an AIDS-free future on the horizon.

That said, the past year has shown us just how much we can achieve by working together, and so it is up to all of us to play our part in reducing the global burden and ensuring that no one should go without prevention or treatment for HIV.

•    This edited article first appeared on www.perrettlaver.com.

Words: NdabaOnline

Photograph: Andile Ndlovu


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Welcome to the Intranet!

Welcome to the Intranet!
UKZN launches new intranet site.Click here for isiZulu version

UKZN has launched a new user-friendly intranet site for staff and students to access the latest news, tools, and information – all on one platform.

Created by the Corporate Relations Division, the site is completely integrated and allows staff and students to view their personalised information by simply signing in.

Designed with a fresh layout and an array of new functions, the main landing page, dedicated to both staff and students, will provide access to relevant news, an events calendar, a COVID-19 dashboard, institutional developments, policies, quick access to teaching and learning resources and contacts for support.

Staff will be directed to a portal with staff-related news, giving them access to Independent Counselling and Advisory Services (ICAS) and other employee wellness resources; critical dates on the academic calendar; research grants and notices; Human Resources (HR) forms; institutional and staff events; and their most recently shared files.

The student portal will display student-specific content and allow for easy access to news, Student Central, SRC and governance resources; critical dates on the timetable; lists and contacts for campus health services; information about UKZN’s library services; and institutional and student events.

Commenting on the launch of UKZN’s new intranet site Ms Normah Zondo, Acting Executive Director: Corporate Relations, said, ‘In the coming weeks, we will highlight some of the features available on the platform to support students and staff in navigating the new design and experiencing the streamlined menus, clear navigation and responsive layout.’

Zondo added, ‘We are also relying on your feedback so that we can deliver a valuable and user-friendly platform. So, we invite you to access the site and learn more about the features and services available, and trust that you’ll benefit greatly from this platform.’

Words: Hlengiwe Khwela

Image: Shutterstock


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UKZN Sociology Academic Appointed Research Fellow of CREST

UKZN Sociology Academic Appointed Research Fellow of CREST
Professor Radhamany Sooryamoorthy.Click here for isiZulu version

Radhamany Sooryamoorthy, a professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences, has been appointed as a Research Fellow of Stellenbosch University.

 The three-year appointment is awarded in recognition of individuals’ proven specialised expertise, and aims to involve them in the research programmes of the relevant organisational unit.

Sooryamoorthy has researched and published extensively in the field of sociology of science and science communication. His advanced methodological skills in scientometrics was a consideration for this appointment. He will be working with the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) during the fellowship.

Established in 1995, CREST is an interdisciplinary research centre at Stellenbosch University. Its focus research areas include the sociology of science, scientometrics, and science and innovation policy studies. In April 2014, CREST was awarded a Centre of Excellence (COE) grant by the National Research Foundation (NRF): the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy (SciSTIP). The Centre also hosts the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Science Communication.

Sooryamoorthy describes this as ‘a great opportunity to work with the accomplished scholars at the Centre.’ The appointment will give him access to some of the rare databases at Stellenbosch University. He previously served as a Research Associate of the university.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied


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