WSU’s top brass have resolved to come up with workable and sustainable strategies and interventions aimed at combating the destructive institutional culture of violence and criminality that continues to play itself out within the institution.


Speaking to various stakeholders from business and industry during the University’s annual Business Breakfast Meeting in East London on Wednesday 30 August, Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley said the institution’s Council has flagged institutional culture as one of the foremost challenges to be dealt with.


“WSU is characterized by intolerance and we need to deal with this issue seriously. It cannot be that when individuals within our community differ on an issue, we stab each other with a breadknife, burn buildings or damage infrastructure and think that will solve our problem,” said Midgley.


The University has been plagued by incidents of violence, malicious damage to institutional structures and public property meted out by students in separate incidents across the institution’s campuses in recent months.


Midgley, under the theme “Education in partnership with business – a mutually rewarding experience” urged government and industry to continue playing a significant role in the training of students.


“Today we sincerely thank you for the tremendous role you’ve played in partnering with the University to provide internship and learnership opportunities with your various departments and companies. Your role in the educating, training and molding of these students is quite significant and we can’t do it without you,” he said.


He appealed to the audience to be discerning in their opinions and judgements of WSU graduates, asserting that a lot of factors had to be taken into account before one can formulate such perceptions about the quality of the WSU product.


Sol Plaatjie University Vice-Chancellor Prof Yunus Ballim echoed some of his counterpart’s sentiments, expressing the importance of industry’s role in training students to be suitable for the very industry to which these companies want to absolve young talent.


He also touched on the recent burning of books in tertiary institutions, as well as the torching of schools in Vuwani.


“The burning of books and schools is highly offensive and speaks to a disconnect between society and government. Society has fundamentally lost trust in the governing powers. Young people nowadays don’t equate education with success because there’s another perception creeping in that success can be attained without necessarily getting acquiring a qualification,” said Ballim.


The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Academic Affairs, Prof Sechaba Mahlomaholo, together with the director for Centre for Community and International Partnerships Mzolisi Payi brought proceedings to a close by awarding certificates of gratitude to local partners that have played a critical role in supporting the University.


By: Thando Cezula & Simo Cele

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