VUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal: Professor Gordon Zide
The Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Gordon Zide gave the inaugural State of the University Address (SOUA) for the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) on Monday, 30 July at the Desmond Tutu Great Hall.
The SOUA was based on the theme: the contradiction and tension between a successful university and the one facing extinction through self-inflicted pain and destruction.
This August event was graced by the presence of the Chancellor: Dr. Xolani Mkhwanazi, the Deputy Chairperson of Council, Ms. Ulandi Exner, the Executive Management Council, guests, staff, and students.
Dr. Mkhwanazi gave the introduction and acknowledgements for the event and said: “This state of the university address is historic because it comes on the heels of the BRICS summit that just took place in our country where ministers of science, technology and engineering of BRICS countries signed a historic agreement. We hope that this university will take advantage of those agreements and foster partnerships in all spheres of science, engineering and technology in the country.”
In his opening, Prof Zide said that VUT is supposed to be a crucible and a cradle of intellectual vibrancy and intellectual activity, especially because of its historical and political landscape. However, he feels it has failed to grab the opportunity of making use of its historical location and is thus often considered as a second choice.
He also said that he is a servant leader and emphasised that the institution will be run professionally and progressively; without fear or favour.
“We shall do so with gumption, determination, temerity and vigour!” he said.
He concluded his 2½ hour speech by appealing to the VUT community to think and imagine, a VUT free of corruption and fraud, free of tension and conflicts. He then ended off by quoting President Cyril Ramaphosa, referring to his “Thuma Mina Campaign”.
He said that in order to deal with the issues affecting the institution, such as “corruption, rumours, cabals, camps, slates and divisions”, different measures have been put in place. In his address, he frequently referred to Akusiko Kwami kwebantfu (It is not about me – it is about the People).
“Think and imagine a VUT where there is no rumour-mongering, no cabals, no slates, no clandestine destructive meetings but a VUT united in purpose and in diversity?” he asked.
In her message of support, Ms. Exner said that she is proud of VUT’s new brand direction which is inspired by the statement “for a purpose” and which is clearly defined in the brand pillars.
The VUT Choir entertained the audience with their melodic voices.