POWER GENERATOR DONATION FROM PRIVATE ENTERPRISES HELPS VUTFM KEEP ITS RHYTHM FLOWING
23 June 2023
South Africa’s ongoing power outages and rolling blackouts caused by loadshedding poses a threat to the critical work of radio stations, of providing reliable information and edutainment to its listeners and the broader communities – and the Vaal University of Technology FM (VUTfm) is no exception.
Now, thanks to Hantle Property Management (HPM), a Vanderbijlpark-based construction and property management company and Axio Connect, a high-speed, reliable, and stable internet connectivity solutions provider headquartered in Johannesburg, VUTfm can now continue to provide uninterrupted broadcasting to its more than 25000 listeners. The two enterprises jointly donated a power generator and a solar Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) to power the station’s studio and its transmitter, respectively.
The handover ceremony took place on 22 June 2023 at the station’s premises inside the Isak Steyl Stadium, also an entity of VUT.
Before the handover, Dr Narissa Ramdhani, Director for Resource Mobilisation Department at VUT took to the podium to give background. In her remarks, she emphasised that the future of the radio industry not only in SA but across the globe, is in the hands of campus radio. She adds that moreover, such stations have become incubators of talent so much so that in SA, several radio presenters who are now in mainstream media and some moved onto build successful music careers, have cut their teeth at Campus radio stations. “So, these stations provide a learning environment for students and individuals in the community who are interested in media and broadcasting production. In effect then, they help to enhance the quality of life of our university community here at VUT,” she said.
She added that although her department is responsible for securing funding resources for the University, and not sponsorships, it was for the unifying capabilities of VUTfm, that they listened carefully to their pleas brought on by the nationwide scourge of loadshedding and reached out to donors to assist overcome these challenges. However, she adds that given the economic dilemmas confronting the private sector today, it is not easy to find donors such as HPM and Axio. “We are fortunate to have on our radar such donors whom we consider Friends of the VUT.”
Presenting the generator to Mr Vido Kungune, the deputy chairperson of the board of the station in full view of its management and presenters, as well as dignitaries from the University, Mr Francois Roos from HPM, said they are privileged to able to add a bit of fuel to energise VUTfm. Using an analogy of an aeroplane: that although for it to stay in straight and level flight it needs lift, gravity, thrust and drag, the main ingredient is fuel to generate the required energy. “And just like an aeroplane, VUTfm needs energy to stay on air, hence our contribution. Even in life generally, we all need someone to help us generate energy,” he said.
Also, when handing over the UPS, Mr Dax Fine said at Axio Connect, they subscribe to a principle that as private enterprises, they have a role to play in aiding the communities within which they operate – in whichever way possible – big or small. “We also have a social and moral duty to step in whenever there is a gap or lack in government resources, especially in education,” he pointed. Paraphrasing the station’s tagline, he said they are happy to contribute to “keeping the rhythm of the river flowing” and ensuring that VUTfm continues its mandate of being an effective tool in the sharing of knowledge and promotion of education.
To acknowledge the donation on behalf of the VUT Management, was Prof Raymond Mabuza, the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Resources and Planning who expressed gratitude to the two donors, adding that the it could not have come at the right time when the station had just been identified as one of the new key strategic projects aimed at turning around the institution in order to achieve its vision and mission. The same sentiments were echoed by Mr Kungune, who said the donation is a milestone for VUTfm as it had suffered dearly with load shedding over time. “Now, the station will have a new reality – one without loss of power”.