Laptop distribution 300x226Walter Sisulu University is officially the first institution to successfully distribute laptops worth R98 Million to assist 22,500 students with remote learning under the Covid-19 national lockdown regulations.

The devices were distributed over a two-and-a-half-month period. However, the journey was not without its challenges as a result of a national backlog in the electronic devise sector.

The university travelled from town to town to make the laptop deliveries in the Eastern Cape Province where our students are based.

“We had to approach every warehouse and contacted companies that could deliver and we had to breathe down their necks to get first dibs before everyone else got there.  That was the biggest challenge,” said WSU’s Executive Director: Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and Operations, Sinethemba Mpambane.

Courier services were used to deliver devices in other provinces outside the Eastern Cape.

To add salt to injury, operations to distribute laptops were disrupted after 18 WSU staff members contracted the deadly virus.

“Approximately 18 contracted staff were infected with the coronavirus. We had to halt operations for a week in order to source a new group of workers as a stopgap measure to complete the task,” said Mpambane.

Fortunately, there were no known fatalities reported.

To ensure the safety of both staff and students, WSU used multiple security companies to mitigate all and any form of criminal activity. Where possible the university also used police stations as distribution points.

The transport and accommodation costs for staff alone amounted to the total sum of R1 million.

Walter Sisulu University is a proudly Eastern Cape university with 30,000 students on four campuses spread throughout the eastern part of the Eastern Cape, from East London in the south, to Butterworth and Mthatha in the north and Queenstown to the west.

These four campuses have multiple sites. In East London, the University is spread over six sites – Potsdam, College Street, Cambridge Street, Chiselhurst, Buffalo City Stadium and the Heritage Building.

The biggest of campuses is Mthatha which has three sites – Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela Drive and Zamukulungisa.