PhD Graduate’s Research Aimed at Contributing to Effective Service Delivery

PhD Graduate’s Research Aimed at Contributing to Effective Service Delivery
Dr Bhekabantu Ntshangase (centre) celebrating his achievement with his supervisor Dr Ian Nzimakwe and wife Zintwezinhle.

A perceived lack of good project management at local government level to drive service delivery in Metro municipalities led the Head of the Durban University of Technology’s Public Management and Economics Department, Dr Bhekabantu Ntshangase, to broaden his knowledge in this area through studying for a Doctor of Administration qualification at UKZN. 

Ntshangase graduated with a thesis titled: “The Role of Project Management Methodology in Municipal Service Delivery with Particular Reference to Metropolitan Municipalities in South Africa”, supervised by  Dr Thokozani Ian Nzimakwe. 

The thesis explores the application of project management methodology in local government, focusing on six metropolitan municipalities in South Africa - eThekwini Metro, Ekurhuleni Metro, City of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Metro, City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane. 

‘This study links project management methodology and service delivery,’ said Ntshangase. ‘All government departments are expected to adopt an outcome based approach when delivering services to the public. This approach can only be possible by adopting project management methodology in service delivery. What does this mean? 

‘It means that government departments need to have a clear starting and end date for projects. It also means that government departments need to be very serious about three pillars of project management - time, cost and quality. They also need to manage time effectively and efficiently.’ 

While the study has a vital role to play in enhancing public administration principles for effective service delivery, Ntshangase had to overcome a lot of obstacles to complete his research. 

‘Some metro municipalities were not keen to allow me to do research in their organisations. It took me almost two weeks negotiating with them, explaining the intention of my study. I strongly believe that the findings will be used to improve the way of managing projects at local government level.’ 

Ntshangase hopes the qualification will enable him to produce more new knowledge through research reports and presentations in various local and international forums. 

‘This qualification is a solid foundation for me to become a renowned academic and specialist in my field of study. A PhD is a lonely journey requiring a candidate to be matured, dedicated, patient and persistent.’ 

Thandiwe Jumo

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Contributing to Maritime Sector Growth, a Priority for Master of Commerce graduates

Contributing to Maritime Sector Growth, a Priority for Master of Commerce graduates
Maritime Studies researchers (from left) Mr John Burns, Ms Yolandi Nieuwenhuis, Ms Shakti Singh and Mr John Gower.

UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies celebrated the graduation of its Master of Commerce in Maritime Studies students Mr John Burns, Mr Jack Dyer, Mr John Bradley Gower, Ms Shakti Singh and Ms Yolandi Nieuwenhuis, whose valuable research will contribute to the growth of South Africa’s maritime industry. 

UKZN is the only university in South Africa offering an amalgam of maritime offerings through its Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies. 

In their dissertations, the students focused on various aspects of the industry including international economics, maritime economics, transport economics and management policies - all key elements in the government’s strategy through operation Phakisa for job creation and development of the maritime industry. 

Burns’ thesis was titled: “An Offshore Transhipment Operation as an Alternative to an Investment in Port Infrastructure Development”.  

His research, supervised by Professor Trevor Jones, aims to find a more feasible alternative to an investment in port infrastructure which can offer a solution to increasing economic development in Africa which is vital to the continent’s survival in these economically challenging times. 

Burns, a Maritime Specialist at PRDW Consulting Port and Coastal Engineers in Cape Town, said the degree empowered him with the knowledge, skills and confidence to tackle the challenges that come with the job. 

‘This degree met my requirements more comprehensively than any other course offered in the maritime industry. It exposed me to lecturers who are experts in their respective fields. Their knowledge and experience is what I believe allowed me to achieve success in my studies,’ said Burns. 

Dyer’s research examined the question: “Is Durban's Proposed Port Expansion Really Necessary?”, also supervised by Jones. 

The study explores the extent to which Durban’s International Airport/ Bayhead and other port expansion/modernisation projects under consideration in ports throughout the world from Santos to Maputo, Bagamoyo, Singapore and Los Angeles, are really necessary. The alternative approach is to prioritise enhancing existing efficiency as a more feasible substitute. 

During his Masters degree, Dyer served as a part-time lecturer in Shipping at the SA Maritime College and Transport School in Durban, and also advised various stakeholders on port pricing, custom's modernisation and other topics making his study the perfect combination of theory and practice. 

‘I wanted to evaluate Durban’s harbours from the perspective of Maritime Law and Economics in a developing Second World economy and compare and contrast them with other leading harbours,’ said Dyer. ‘This is what motivated me to choose this topic.  Most of all; I believe that pursuing Maritime Studies at UKZN under the supervision of Professor Trevor Jones - one of the most accomplished of maritime economist academics in Africa - offered me the chance to be a part of a new specialty that the world will need more of.  This includes learning from world renowned specialists; gaining contacts; understanding the challenges that face the maritime sector; understanding the implications of international maritime law and port economics, along with everything from customs and revenue to the physical harbour operation, and finally making a difference?.’

Continuing on his quest for knowledge, Dyer is currently pursuing a PhD in Maritime and Logistics Management at the Australian Maritime College, a specialist institute of the University of Tasmania. The qualification will see him investigate the effects of climate change on seaports, shipping and the maritime economy in the Pacific. 

Gower’s work was titled: “An Analysis of the Risks of Piracy off the Somali Coast, and the Effectiveness of Preventative Measures”.  His supervisor was Mr Vishal Surbun. 

Singh’s dissertation was titled: “Will the Rotterdam Rules Eliminate the Challenges Encountered by Preceding Carriage Regimes?”. 

 For Nieuwenhuis, being a Specialist in Customs and Excise Legal Advice at the South African Revenue Services requires a healthy knowledge of both law and economics thus studying for a commerce degree in maritime was the perfect solution. 

‘As a Legal Advisor for SARS, I deal with both Customs and Excise matters.  Having an understanding of the technical and practical issues as well as trade facilitation barriers experienced by the Shipping industry, puts me in a better position to understand the challenges of the industry and provide legal advice and assistance accordingly,’ she said. 

Having a Masters in Law degree provided Nieuwenhuis with good understanding of the legal framework of the shipping industry. However, she needed to broaden her knowledge on the economic aspects to better understand the maritime sector and did so through her dissertation titled: “Coastal Cabotage: A Contested Transport Policy Terrain”, also supervised by Jones. 

 Thandiwe Jumo

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Graduate Travelled Between Cape Town and Durban Weekly to Complete Degree at UKZN

Graduate Travelled Between Cape Town and Durban Weekly to Complete Degree at UKZN
Mr John Burns was awarded an Master of Commerce in Maritime Studies degree.

After qualifying as a Master Mariner and getting a Bachelor’s degree in Transport, Economics Maritime Specialist, Cape Town-based Mr John Burns, decided to explore his passion for research through a qualification that combined research and practical experience. 

Burns chose UKZN’s highly specialised Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies which meant he had to commute between Cape Town and Durban weekly to complete his Master of Commerce in Maritime Studies. 

Burns, who works as a Maritime Specialist at PRDW Consulting Port and Coastal Engineers based in Cape Town, says although commuting between the two cities was challenging, it was worth it as the degree met his requirements more comprehensively than any other course offered in the maritime industry. PRDW contributed financially to Burns’ pursuit of his postgraduate degree for which he is extremely grateful. 

‘I travelled from Cape Town to Durban and back once a week to attend lectures which was quite taxing, but it paid off as it provided me with exposure to lecturers who were experts in their respective fields. Their knowledge and experience is what I believe allowed me to achieve success in my studies,’ said Burns. 

Not only has the degree empowered him to tackle the challenges associated with his job but it has also given him the opportunity to explore his passion for research. 

“An Offshore Transhipment Operation as an Alternative to an Investment in Port Infrastructure Development”, was the title of Burns’ dissertation supervised by Professor Trevor Jones. 

The study aimed to find a more feasible alternative to an investment in port infrastructure which offered solutions to increasing economic development in Africa so vital to the continent’s survival. 

‘I studied a Bachelor’s degree in Transport Economics and while that provided a good grounding, I realised that for a Masters degree one would need to specialise more in terms of research,’ said Burns. 

‘I wanted to further my development academically within the field of transport economics. This is why I embarked on this field of study as I felt it was a good match to my chosen career path and allowed me the opportunity to research and specialise more in my everyday work.’ 

Burns is an ultra-marathon runner having completed both the Two Oceans and Comrades marathons. ‘I treated my studies a bit like training for an ultra-marathon where there are sometimes huge challenges in terms of sacrificing sleep and putting those running shoes on, especially on cold mornings. But when you cross the finish line and achieve your goal, those hardships and sacrifices are forgotten. 

‘I think that personal development is very important in one’s life and I am always looking for ways to improve academically, on the sports arena and as a person,’ said Burns.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Top Economist Honours Promise to Grandmother and Graduates with a PhD

Top Economist Honours Promise to Grandmother and Graduates with a PhD
Dr Liberty Mncube (right) with his supervisor Professor Jim Fairburn.

A great deal of expertise in Economics is required to handle competition cases correctly, says Competition Commission SA’s Chief Economist Dr Liberty Mncube, who graduated with a PhD in the field. 

While his decision to pursue a PhD was influenced by the need to broaden his economics knowledge, it also honoured a promise he made to his grandmother who raised him that he would finish school and graduate with a PhD. 

‘When I completed my undergraduate and post graduate studies I did not feel that I had kept the promise sufficiently. Today I am satisfied that I have.’ 

With a job involving investigations into competition matters and as an author whose articles on competition policy are published in local and international journals, Mncube places a lot of value in education. 

‘I have always been interested in competition policy and economics, particularly industrial organisation, oligopoly and game theory,’ he said. ‘In this field of economics, ideas and investigative techniques are constantly evolving and this demands intellectual agility, familiarity with current thinking and ongoing research. It is for this reason I decided to pursue a PhD in this area. Further, I wanted my academic thinking to shape how I approach competition cases.’ 

Mncube holds an MSc in Economics from the University of York and was a visiting PhD graduate student at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics where he completed the remaining chapters of his dissertation titled: “Essays on Collusion in South Africa’s Grain Industry: Remedies, Overcharges and Cartel Stability”, during three-month sabbatical leave.

The study evaluates both the theoretical and empirical issues involved in South Africa’s grain industry and aims to improve the understanding of competition policy and its administration, economic understanding which is joined with an appreciation for case specific issues and the South African legal framework. 

‘My research is a collection of related essays on collusion following various competition policy interventions in the recent past. Consider the potential consumer welfare effects of collusion. The cartels significantly raised prices for several years. These price increases involved staple foods (maize meal and bread as well as wheat flour) resulting in poor consumers being hurt the most. This clearly undermined food security and threatened the livelihoods of the most vulnerable by eroding their already limited purchasing power,’ said Mncube. 

‘The quantification of cartel overcharges is required in both public and private enforcement of competition laws. In public enforcement, cartel overcharges may be quantified as part of the decision by a competition authority what fine to impose. In private enforcement, the quantification of cartel overcharges is the central issue to a damages claim. I hope that those who want to pursue a damages claim will benefit from this study,’ he added. 

 Thandiwe Jumo

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Masters Graduate Motivated by Desire for Deeper Understanding of her Job

Masters Graduate Motivated by Desire for Deeper Understanding of her Job
Master of Commerce in Maritime Studies for Ms Yolandi Nieuwenhuis.

A desire for a deeper understanding of the technical and practical issues of her job motivated a Legal Advisor for the SA Revenue Services (SARS), Ms Yolandi Nieuwenhuis, to study for a Master of Commerce in Maritime Studies degree. 

Nieuwenhuis, who deals specifically with customs and excise issues at SARS, graduated with a dissertation titled: “Coastal Cabotage: A Contested Transport Policy Terrain”, supervised by Professor Trevor Jones. 

‘I truly enjoyed studying towards this degree,’ she said. ‘It opened up another world to me and gave me insight into issues I would not usually have had the opportunity to look at.  It combined different aspects of law and maritime issues, and gave me a better understanding of the “workings” of the industry.  If you are interested in this field, this degree will help you understand the maritime world from both an economic and legal perspective.  It is a qualification worth having.’ 

Nieuwenhuis chose a study that would not only broaden her knowledge but also possibly benefit the maritime community. Her topic is thus high on the discussion list for organisations such as the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the African Union as it could potentially have a major impact on the shipping industry and the economies of South Africa and Africa. 

‘Research, although challenging for some, is a great adventure for me.  It allows one an opportunity to really get behind the scenes of a topic which might have been taken for granted in general before. 

‘Being able to find - or at least try to find - all the information of relevance on a topic is quite an experience. Research is a process where you read something new every day which then triggers a referral to something else. In the end it is really a challenge to remain focussed and to keep going,’ she said. 

In order to complete the degree, Nieuwenhuis had to juggle work and study commitments, and sometimes commute between Pretoria and Durban but they were all small sacrifices for the knowledge and skills she acquired. 

‘I have always been interested in shipping and maritime and wanted to pursue an LLM in Shipping Law.  However, as I already had a legal background, I was looking for a different angle to shipping. 

‘To be able to assist with a legal problem, you first have to have a good understanding of the industry itself.  This commerce degree gives me the alternative that I was looking for as I am now in a better position to understand the challenges of the industry and can provide legal advice and assistance from a well-informed platform,’ Nieuwenhuis added. 

Thandiwe Jumo

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Contributing to a More Peaceful Africa

Contributing to a More Peaceful Africa
Halala Dr Webster Zambara.

Now a Doctor of Philosophy, Dr Webster Zambara tells of how he completed his Grade one schooling under a tree in rural Zimbabwe. 

His thesis was titled: “Non-violence in Practice: Enhancing the Churches’ Effectiveness in Building a Peaceful Zimbabwe Through Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)”.  

The first in his family to read for a PhD, Zambara was awarded his Doctor of Philosophy (Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies) degree at a UKZN Graduation ceremony. 

Currently the Senior Project Leader for Southern Africa at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in Cape Town, he believes people are not born violent, but are socialised to become violent, and this is passed on from generation to generation. 

‘There are always alternative ways of dealing with conflict creatively and non-violently. While conflict is inevitable, violence is a choice.’  

Zambara said the church had always played a critical role in trying to build a peaceful Zimbabwe dating back to the liberation struggle by promoting issues of justice, peace, human rights, and social and economic justice. ‘On many occasions churches have also provided sanctuary to victims of politically-motivated violence. However, they have not escaped political polarisation which in many ways affected their effectiveness. 

‘As the situation in Zimbabwe continued to deteriorate in the run up to elections in 2008, youths became the main perpetrators of political violence. I therefore felt the urge to contribute by training some of them using AVP as a way of reintegrating them to normal community life.’  

Zambara outlined the findings from his research: ‘Firstly, conflict and violence on the ground was more related to local issues rather than the “master cleavage” that drove it at national level. That explained why not every community was engulfed in violence even though elections were happening nationally,’ said Zambara. 

‘Secondly, unlike what was portrayed in the mainstream media where violence seemed one-sided, youths from the main political parties were both perpetrators and victims. This exhibited the high prevalence of a culture of violence among youths regardless of political affiliation,’ he said. 

‘Thirdly, and most importantly, there was a clear shift in attitude from inclination towards violence to an inclination towards non-violence among the youths in the experimental group who were trained in AVP as compared to the youths in the control group who were not trained.’ 

Zambara’s research is internationally recognised. A peer-reviewed chapter from his thesis – “Local Initiatives After Election-Related Violence in Zimbabwe” - was published by the New York-based think tank International Peace Institute (IPI) in their publication Leveraging Local Knowledge for Peace Building and State Building in Africa, in March 2015.

He plans to continue contributing to a more peaceful Africa. ‘I have done conflict and peace work in at least 15 countries on the continent and I want to continue being a servant to this continent and its beautiful people.’ 

Zambara acknowledged all those who encouraged him while reading for his PhD ‘especially my dear wife, Tracy; my supervisor Professor Geoff Harris for his patience and guidance; my parents for instilling the value of education; and friends and workmates for keeping the energy high. I love you all!’ 

Zambara said a quote by Professor Johan Galtung, acknowledged as the principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies, summed up his thoughts on conflict resolution. ‘Tell me how you manage conflict, and I tell you how peaceful you are.’  

       Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Master of Public Administration Student Triumphs Academically Amid Tragedy

Master of Public Administration Student Triumphs Academically Amid Tragedy
Master of Public Administration degree for Deputy District Manager of Ilembe Health District Office Ms Roshilla Sahadeo.

The Deputy District Manager of Ilembe Health District Office, Ms Roshilla Sahadeo, who lost her husband two weeks before her final examinations, was awarded her Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at a UKZN Graduation ceremony.  

Sahadeo was devastated by the tragic death but with solid support from her family she managed to soldier on and complete her studies. 

‘I was heartbroken by the loss of my beloved spouse whose relentless love and faith in me enabled me to overcome adversity and triumph. My dearest mum and my precious children, Samir and Sonum, showered me with unconditional love and support, encouragement and understanding and were my pillars of strength. I also sacrificed many weekends and family time working on my research,’ said Sahadeo. 

Her thesis, titled: “The Impact of Mobile Health Services within Ilembe Health District: A Batho Pele Perspective”, was supervised by Dr Mogie Subban of the UKZN School of Management, Information Technology and Governance.

Sahadeo is responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at Ilembe Health District following a promotion she attained in 2013 in her second year of her MPA studies. She said that she was motivated to explore this topic because of her experience as a public official with just over two decades in the Department of Health and almost half of that in District Health Services. 

Her study assisted in determining the effectiveness of the current mobile health services from the client’s perspective and forged an understanding of the challenges and suggested recommendations for improvement of the service from the different units of observation ie clients, health care workers and health service management. 

She said: ‘I am proud of my achievement, especially bringing it into fruition amidst emotional turmoil; fuelled with grief and bereavement, work challenges and balancing family life.’ 

According to Subban, Sahadeo obtained two excellent reports from the external examiners which earned her a distinction pass for her dissertation.  She added: ‘Roshilla was one of our most outstanding students who excelled in the masters programme.’  

Sahadeo acknowledges the support she received from her supervisor. ‘My promotor and mentor, Dr Mogie Subban, provided me with immeasurable inspiration, academic insight, wisdom and guidance.  Her unyielding determination and untiring efforts in supervision, throughout this research journey assisted me attain my goal.’   

Next on the academic agenda for Sahadeo is a PhD in Public Administration focusing on health service delivery. 

Hazel Langa

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Finance Academic Contributes New Knowledge in Corporate Finance

Finance Academic Contributes New Knowledge in Corporate Finance
Dr Farai Kwenda celebrating with his family.

“The Working Capital Management Practices of JSE-Listed Firms”, was the title of a thesis which secured Finance Lecturer Dr Farai Kwenda a PhD in Finance at the Graduation ceremony of UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies. 

Kwenda is one of eight College staff members to graduate with a PhD this year. 

The academic quest to generate new knowledge motivated Kwenda to embark on his research which will contribute to the field of Corporate Finance. He has been working tirelessly ensuring the findings of his study are shared with fellow researchers – three research papers have been published out of his thesis. 

‘My desire is to pioneer working capital management surveys; first in South Africa and later the whole continent in order to spread the message about the importance of working capital management,’ said Kwenda. ‘Such surveys are already running in America, Asia and Europe.’  

He admits that his achievement would not have been possible if he did not burn the midnight oil. ‘I can literally count days that I slept more than four hours during the period of the study. Admittedly the study affected my family time and temporarily displaced them in my life. However, the family is happy as they can see the fruit of my labour.’ 

Kwenda is indebted to his supervisor Professor Merle Holden and his colleagues in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance for their support. ‘The methodology was the most challenging part of my study because I don’t have a good background in econometrics. I had to teach myself most of the things and I got help from colleagues in the School and fellow PhD candidates and researchers.’ 

He encourages fellow colleagues not to be deterred by the challenge ahead because there are many generous experts in the School. 

Hazel Langa

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Research Explores Communications in Government

Research Explores Communications in Government
Dr Bhoowan Singh (centre) celebrating with his wife Irene and supervisor Dr Mogie Subban.

Deputy Manager in the Communications Unit at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation, Dr Bhoowan Prakash Singh, was awarded a Doctor of Administration degree for his thesis titled: “The Impact of Strategic Communication Policy on Service Delivery and Good Governance within the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation”. 

The study explored the design and formulation of communication policy within government, focusing on the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation.  

Singh emphasised the importance of Batho Pele, a code of conduct for government employees. ‘The practice of Batho Pele is to promote transparency and consultation among fellow employees as well as between government and its stakeholder beneficiaries. 

‘The need for a communication policy to bring order to this sphere of administration is thus of great consequence. The area of policy formulation comprises formulation of new policy and the review of existing policy.’

The findings of the research study include the following:

- A policy is essential to prescribe the workings of the Department to ensure communication authority and accountability

- Transparency and information-sharing are great mitigators of risk

- Poor information flow promotes an active grapevine, and vice-versa

- The need to embrace eGovernance, which includes maximising the use of the Internet, focusing on the use of the website and Intranet as critical data banks. This also embraces the use of social media as an effective communication tool for government in the current era 

- Strategic communication actions the Principles of Batho Pele and thus promotes good governance.

Singh balanced pursuing his PhD and career while overcoming challenges relating to gathering information and access to current literature. ‘This research study was made possible by many late nights of hard work, sacrifice of weekends and holidays, and the regular “gentle chiding” of my academic supervisor and taskmaster, Dr Mogie Subban,’ he said. 

He acknowledged Subban for ‘lasting the academic journey with me. Her meticulous guidance, patience, mentorship, critical eye and constant availability as support must be lauded. She is a tremendous asset to her School and the University and, as displayed in my instance, a resourceful guide and fountain of knowledge who will always be appreciated.’

He thanked his family for their unwavering support. ‘To my dearest wife, Irene, and to my precious daughters Shivani, Sheromi and Sayuri, a heartfelt thanks to you for allowing me the space and latitude to complete a milestone I’d like to leave as motivation to you.  

‘Such a challenging feat could never have been successfully accomplished without the support you provided me during this arduous journey, and which truly made this academic journey a family one.’ 

Singh said a book he had authored five years ago, When the Chalk is Down, served as inspiration for pursuing his PhD. ‘This book is a dedication to the struggles of my parents in Tongaat, and inevitably so too is this graduation.’ 

Subban congratulated Singh on his achievements: ‘It was indeed a pleasure to have supervised a student of your calibre. I wish you all the best.’ 

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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PhD Study Explores Food Security Through Policy Implementation

PhD Study Explores Food Security Through Policy Implementation
Dr Cheryl Mohamed Sayeed.

Food security was at the core of Dr Cheryl Mohamed Sayeed’s thesis for her Doctor of Administration degree from UKZN.

Research for her thesis, titled “Good Food Security Governance amongst Extension Workers in KwaZulu-Natal: A Public Administration Perspective”, examined the links between food security, and extension and good governance to find ways of improving policy implementation. 

 She said while the study highlighted food security, the investigation centred on finding ways of improving policy implementation by Extension Workers tasked with this role in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture. 

She said while the study unearthed a number of recommendations, the finalisation of the proposed Food Security Policy currently under discussion was seen as a priority.  

Sayeed suggested a holistic approach would be appropriate. ‘The adoption of a broader more systemic and holistic view of poverty and food insecurity as the attainment of food security can no longer be viewed as an exclusive agricultural issue,’ she said.

Recommendations in her thesis were presented to the KZN Department of Agriculture and have been used as the basis for motivation for an induction programme.

She advised students considering reading for a PhD to have clear boundaries between study time and family time.  ‘You need to come to terms with the reality that you will work 365 days a year! So when everyone is going to a family gathering, make sure that you got all your hours in before, or you may hate every minute you are there!’

Sayeed acknowledged ‘supportive supervision’ by Professor Purshottama Reddy and Professor Solosh Pillay, who is now at the University of Stellenbosch. ‘In addition, I have an awesome husband who does not understand why I do what I do, but nevertheless acknowledges that it’s what makes me happy and as a result has provided unwavering support.’

She also thanked Mr Kuben Moodley, and the District Managers and Extension staff of the KZN Department of Agriculture who participated in the study. 

Reddy commended Sayeed’s academic prowess and sense of commitment. ‘It was a pleasure promoting your work. You were a model doctoral student in all respects. You were passionate about your work; respected deadlines and time frames and worked independently.’


He wished her well on pursuing a career in academia. ‘Keep up the good work and I trust that you will be successful with an academic posting in the near future.’

Pillay echoed his sentiments. ‘You were an outstanding student – hardworking, dedicated, open to criticism and willing to learn; you always went the extra mile to ensure quality and academic scholarship. Congratulations on this memorable milestone!’

Sayeed is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Discipline of Public Governance at UKZN where she is investigating poverty at the local level. She also supervises honours and masters students. ‘Yes, I am a perpetual student, but it does allow me some flexibility in doing what I enjoy while being available to my children when they need me.  It is in a sense the dream of a mother to be able to pursue a passion while providing uncompromising care and support for a young family.’

Sayeed attended Bechet Secondary in Sydenham, Durban.  After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Natal, she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue a Master of Arts in Rural Development Planning at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

She is married and has two children, aged eight and 10. 

        Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Postgraduate Studies Empower College of Law and Management Studies Manager

Postgraduate Studies Empower College of Law and Management Studies Manager
Congratulations to College Academic Services Manager Ms Marion Kisten.

Academic Services Manager at the College of Law and Management Studies, Ms Marion Kisten, was awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership and Management at a College Graduation ceremony. 

Kisten joined the former University of Durban-Westville 25 years ago in the Purchases and Stores Department and has gained valuable knowledge of the Higher Education sector over the years through various positions she has occupied. She is currently responsible for the College Academic Services which are spread across three campuses. 

‘I realised I was actually practicing knowledge management while coaching and mentoring staff.  I also started to become very aware of the personality types, traits and strengths of my staff and then realised that I changed my leadership style to suit the various individuals.’ She believes that this has improved relations in her team and every member is committed to the success of the College model. 

This improvement was evident when Kisten’s team was awarded the Outstanding Team Award for excellent performance at the College Awards Ceremony at the end of 2014.  

Her ability to multi-task and her good time management skills enable her to juggle work, studies and family life without any compromise. Kisten feels blessed having been able to complete her studies and dedicate time to preparing for her son’s wedding and also celebrate the birth of her first grandchild in March this year. 

Her motto in life is “never clock watch”. ‘I am at work at around 06h15 and leave when the work for the day is done or the meetings have concluded.  I am a very spiritual person and ask God and my guardian angel every day, to make me say and do the correct thing and do my work to the best of my ability.’   

Kisten’s supportive family is proud of her achievement.  

She encourages colleagues thinking about starting to study not to consider the actual task at hand as a burden or tedious, but to commence the task with a positive and focused mind. 

She is planning to do a Masters degree in 2016.

Hazel Langa

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EThekwini Municipality Financial Fundi Graduates with Master of Administration Degree

EThekwini Municipality Financial Fundi Graduates with Master of Administration Degree
Master of Administration degree for eThekwini Municipality’s Chief Financial Officer Mr Krish Kumar.

The need to broaden his knowledge of the funding gap in local government motivated eThekwini Municipality’s Chief Financial Officer Mr Krish Kumar to pursue and earn a Master of Administration degree at UKZN.

In his dissertation titled: “Narrowing the Municipal Funding Gap: A Metropolitan Perspective in South Africa”, Kumar used his 35 years of financial experience to explore how municipal expenditure impacts on service delivery.

‘The funding gap in local government is something that I have been working with for the past 35 years so accordingly I am very passionate about finding solutions to the challenges,’ said Kumar. ‘The key outcome is that in order for metros to meet the huge backlogs in service delivery there needs to be improved productivity, more focused expenditure with a balance between economic, social and rehabilitation expenditure. 

‘In addition all new development must be in terms of the Integrated Development Plans and in spatially targeted nodal areas that promote densification and public transport mobility thus improving the quality of life of citizens. A key outcome was that there is a funding gap and a local business tax was recommended to bridge this,’ explained Kumar. 

Kumar’s passion for serving the City he was born in has seen him occupy various roles in a variety of financial organisations. These include being the Commissioner on the Fiscal and Finance Commission; a member of the South African Local Government Association’s (SALGA) finance working group, and also serving as the board member of the Accounting Standards Board and current chair and former president of The Institute of Municipal Finance Officers’ CFO forum.

 For Kumar, whose thesis was supervised by Professor Purshottama Reddy Kumar, the need to continually empower himself with knowledge has not only motivated him to pursue this qualification but has also propelled him to complete 21 modules of the minimum competency that National Treasury has introduced for all senior managers in the public sector.

Graduating with a Masters of Administration has not only been a learning curve for him but it also created an opportunity to share his wealth of knowledge with fellow UKZN students and build a legacy for future leaders.

‘I felt it necessary to share some of the lessons learnt with future generations as I have worked my way through the ranks from a trainee accountant to where I am today. I believe that I already have the necessary qualifications for my post but the masters and the doctorate are necessary for me to share and document my many years of work in the municipal sector. My intention to pursue a doctorate for which I am in the process of submitting my proposal,’ said Kumar. 

Thandiwe Jumo

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PhD Graduate Plans to use Doctorate to Increase her Research Productivity

PhD Graduate Plans to use Doctorate to Increase her Research Productivity
Doctor of Administration graduate, Dr Wanjiru Emily Gachie.

Doctor of Administration graduate at the recent UKZN Law and Management ceremony, Dr Wanjiru Emily Gachie, says she will use her doctorate to increase her research productivity through writing articles for publication.

Gachie’s thesis examined the role of research commercialisation for Sustainable Development (SD) in the South African National System of Innovation (NSI) through Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) within the context of public administration.

She said the findings confirmed that HEIs were an important source of information for SD but faced considerable constraints which hindered research commercialisation for SD because of human resource capacity gaps, infrastructure and funding.

The research also found that the HEIs-private sector collaboration was an important alternative avenue for research commercialisation for SD.

‘The recommendations proposed that improving research commercialisation for SD should be high among the triple helix policy agenda,’ said Gachie

‘It also highlighted the importance of consolidating NSI gains, including efficiency in disseminating research results; efficient utilisation of new knowledge and technology transfer; leveraging the central role of the private sector in the NSI; effective application of intellectual property rights; broadening NSI actors’ participation, and simplification of policies and procedures and efficiency of the allocation of funding.’

Gachie said her research aimed to assist NSI actors, namely South African government departments such as the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Higher Education and the Department of Trade and Industry; leadership at the HEIs, and the private sector in general to develop appropriate tools, policies and programmes that respond to the gaps identified while building on the current strengths and capabilities.

She has worked as an Access Programme Co-ordinator and is currently a Lecturer in Information Systems in Education.

She attributed her success to hard work, a high work ethic and commitment to the PhD.

‘Also UKZN supported me by providing me with a year’s sabbatical leave, which helped me focus on the thesis in terms of data collection and literature review.’

She urged other students to work hard and focus on their studies. ‘I would like to serve as an example to motivate other students who want to pursue a PhD that hard work and discipline do pay off,’ said Gachie.

‘My supervisor, Professor Yogi Penceliah and co-supervisor, Dr Maurice Oscar Dassah, offered me support during my study periods in the form of interactive emails and face-to-face scheduled meetings as well as telephonic conversations.’

 Sithembile Shabangu

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Africa’s Oil-Exporting Countries Under the Spotlight in Study

Africa’s Oil-Exporting Countries Under the Spotlight in Study
Dr Adeleke Omolade (left) with his supervisor Dr Harold Ngalawa.

Dr Omolade Adeleke, a Lecturer at the Federal University Oye-Ekiti in Nigeria, has been awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (Economics) degree for his thesis titled: “Monetary Policy and Manufacturing sector growth in Africa’s Oil-Exporting Countries”.

Adeleke said his interest in oil-exporting countries Algeria, Nigeria, Gabon, Egypt and Libya was the result of the need for these countries to ‘diversify their economies in order to achieve sustainable economic growth.

‘Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have advised these countries to embark on economic diversification owing to dwindling oil resources and the problem of “Dutch Disease” confronting them,’ said Adeleke.  In economics, ‘Dutch Disease’ is a phenomenon that describes a situation where a discovery or an increase in the exploitation of a natural resource leads to a change in relative prices that consequently causes a reallocation of factors of production in favour of the natural resources sector, thereby hampering growth of the manufacturing sector.

Similar to previous studies on resource-endowed countries, the study confirmed the problem of ‘Dutch Disease’ in Africa’s oil exporting countries (AOECs) and provided support for a strong short run and weak long run relationship between monetary policy and manufacturing output growth.

The findings supported the school of thought that currency depreciation boosts domestic output.

They also established that the exchange rate system, monetary policy system (monetary zone), current level of investment in the manufacturing sector and objectives of the local  monetary authorities all appear to be major factors that affect monetary policy relationship with the growth of the manufacturing sector in the AOECs.

Adeleke thanked all those who had supported him throughout his studies. ‘Ultimately I would like to thank the Almighty God who has made this achievement possible. Also, I acknowledge the support of my Supervisor Dr Harold Ngalawa throughout the study. My profound gratitude also goes to my wife and children for their tolerance and perseverance while the study lasted.’

Adeleke also thanked Professor E.O. Ogunleye of Ekiti State University in Nigeria for mentorship throughout his academic career and acknowledged his elder brother, Mr Festus Omolade, for his financial and moral support during his studies.

‘Finally, I thank God for my parents, Mr and Mrs Omolade who supported me with prayers during the study.’

Congratulating Adeleke on his accomplishment, Dr Ngalawa said: ‘His diligence and goal-getting attitude saw him completing his PhD within three years, a feat that many are struggling to achieve.’

Said Ngalawa:  ‘Adeleke’s study is an important eye-opener on a variety of issues that we have not understood until now.’

Adeleke plans on honing his research skills and pursuing a career in academia. ‘My plan for the future is to become an erudite scholar in the field of economics and also a renowned economic researcher.’

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Future Looks Bright for Cum Laude Graduates

Future Looks Bright for <em>Cum Laude</em> Graduates
Cum laude graduates Mr Kishen Juguth (left) and Mr Sashin Reddi.

College of Law and Management Studies celebrated student excellence in the Discipline of Commerce with four students graduating cum laude

Mr Sashin Reddi (Bachelor of Business Science), Ms Megan Roux (Bachelor of Commerce honours), and Mr Kishen Juguth and Mr Nicolas Roberts (Bachelor of Commerce).

Reddi’s academic highlights include winning the Bloomberg Aptitude Test (BAT) Ambassador South African Challenge resulting in him representing UKZN as an ambassador to the Bloomberg Institute in London in January and participating in the International Scholar laureate Programme for Business in the United States of America during his third year.

Reddi said the four-year degree had equipped him with a wealth of knowledge which would benefit his career in the investment management industry.

‘The four years were really beneficial. The knowledge one gains regarding the corporate environment is the main reason I would recommend this degree of study. It provides an excellent foundation complemented by brilliant lecturers. Also, the qualification provides immense scope for employment opportunities. 

‘I aim to complete the CFA qualification and this degree has provided the foundation which will help me achieve that,’ he said. 

For Juguth, the achievement is the first step towards realising his ultimate goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA). 

‘I think the qualification is definitely worthwhile as the degree structure has developed my critical thinking and taught me to take a holistic approach to solving problems. The BCom Accounting degree I have completed allowed me to register for a PGDA this year. This qualification, together with a PGDA, will allow me to write SAICA's Initial Test of Competency and thus attempt to achieve my goal,’ said Juguth. 

Fellow Bachelor of Commerce graduate, Roberts, said the degree was the key to endless possibilities. 

‘I am currently doing honours in Accounting and then I plan to do my articles and hopefully get my CA (SA). My undergraduate degree was thus the first vital building block to this ultimate goal,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Enhancing Skills and Knowledge Imperative for Good Leadership - MBA Cum Laude Graduate

Enhancing Skills and Knowledge Imperative for Good Leadership - MBA <em>Cum Laude</em> Graduate
MBA cum laude graduate Mr Alsten Marigadu.

For Standard Bank’s Manager: Business Solutions Mr Alsten Marigadu, leadership is about keeping abreast of the latest developments in one’s field, thus graduating with his MBA cum laude was part of his commitment towards good leadership.

Marigadu, who also holds a Bachelor of Law degree from UKZN and is currently studying towards a PhD in Commercial Law at the University of Cape Town, says his passion for leadership and growing individuals, teams and organisations is what inspires him to empower himself through education. 

‘What motivates me is the evidence of individuals, teams and organisations achieving heights which they never thought possible, especially when I witness them breaking through the self-created ceilings and realising that nothing is impossible. This drives and motivates me every day, even if I have the opportunity to lead one person at a time,’ said Marigadu. 

‘The MBA opened my eyes to the world. It gave me the opportunity to experience teaching and learning on par with that offered by the best global business schools. It was an out of the box experience which revealed the vast knowledge and practices which most leaders will have had little or no exposure to in a local environment,’ he added.  

Apart from broadening his knowledge in leadership practices, studying for his MBA gave Marigadu the opportunity to embark on research which he believes will add value to the banking industry.  His thesis was titled: “The Strategic Use of Succession Planning as a Tool to Maintain Competitive Advantage in KwaZulu-Natal Non-Metro Areas: A Standard Bank Business Banking Division Case Study”.  

‘When deciding on a research topic, I wanted the findings and outcomes to be relevant and add value to the bank and the industry in general. The research findings provided some unexpected yet extremely ground breaking outcomes. It will certainly provide a mind shift in the way leaders view the topic. This is significant since it provides current empirical evidence, which was done in the relevant context of an African environment, as opposed other international research,’ said Marigadu. 

Marigadu said the support of his wife, Nirusha, and his son, Jaden, had been vital as was his never-wavering focus on the end goal of acquiring skills to contribute to the larger knowledge base in his field.  

‘Without the support of my family and working colleagues, the end result would not have been possible.’  

Thandiwe Jumo

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PhD Graduate Explores Provision of Efficient Transport System in Iran

PhD Graduate Explores Provision of Efficient Transport System in Iran
Dr Farhad Razkhaneh with Acting Registrar Mr Baatile Poo.

PhD graduate, Dr Farhad Razkhaneh, has applauded the academic atmosphere provided by UKZN, especially for doctoral students as ‘it contributes greatly to the academic achievements of scholars’. 

Graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy (Economics), Razkhaneh attributed his achievements throughout his studies to the support of his supervisor.  

‘My sincere thanks goes to my supervisor, Professor Trevor Jones, who meticulously read through the drafts and provided me with valuable editorial suggestions, guiding me with technical comments, criticisms, and support through the various stages of the writing and completion of my thesis. 

‘His efforts, knowledge and experience in international trade and transportation, maritime matters and merchant shipping related issues contributed towards the success of this thesis.’ 

Razkhaneh’s thesis, titled: “The Provision of Efficient Transport Services in the Iranian Maritime and Land Transport Interface”, investigates the efficiency of Iran's transport system with reference to the sea-borne trade and sustainable development of ports, shipping services, logistics centres and transit corridors as the overall objective.

‘In order to successfully analyse the provision of efficient transport services in the Iranian maritime and land transport interface, the emerging Iranian transport corridors have been under close observation, and a scenario planning approach mixed with a descriptive exploratory comparative cost analysis has been applied.’ 

Razkhaneh, who has over 20 years working experience in the field of shipping and maritime related jobs, said he wanted to teach in the maritime field.  

He said there was a cluster of corridors passing through Iran which could shorten the distance between Asia and Europe with improved cost and time.   

He said the aim of this research was to understand how Iran could develop a multimodal trade and transportation system.   

He said highlights of his time at UKZN include living among hospitable people of Durban and doing research in an institution which provides a unique chance for Higher Education for everybody equally. 

He acknowledged his family for the support they gave him during his studies.

 Sithembile Shabangu

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