VUT to assist AngloGold Ashanti create mine waste economy

VUT to assist AngloGold Ashanti create mine waste economy

VUT delegation with the stakeholders from industry and public sector

As part of ongoing stakeholder consultation, a delegation from Vaal University of Technology (VUT) held meetings in Carletonville with AngloGold Ashanti, Vuselela TVET College, City of Matlosana Municipality and the Department of Education and Sport Development from 6-7 September 2017.

The purpose of the stakeholder meetings was to explore possible collaboration that will contribute to the development of the economy of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District. This is especially important at a time when mining operations come to a close as this will have a negative effect on the area’s growth.

It is hoped that the University will assist in envisioning a Waste Water and Mine-Waste economy after Ashanti Gold has closed down. The team agreed that the conceptual model to develop this partnership would be a quadruple helix. All stakeholders agreed that working together could yield good results in the creation of opportunities and the development of local communities.

The VUT delegation was led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic and Research, Professor Kuzvinetsa Dzvimbo; Executive Director: Corporate Affairs, Mr Mike Khuboni and Director: Special Projects in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Mr Mpho Diago.  A team of academics from the Chemistry Department also formed part of this delegation: Dr Joe Molete, Executive Director: Technology, Transfer and Innovation; Dr Tozama Qwebani-Ogunle, Project Manager: Technology Transfer and Innovation; Dr Harry Chiririrwa, Postdoctoral Fellow: Chemistry Department; Professor Augustine Ofomaja, Senior Lecturer: Chemistry Department; Mr Michael Klink, Senior Lecturer: Biotechnology Department and Mr Sechaba Machedi, Technician: Chemistry Department.

They met with members of the AngloGold Ashanti Management team, Mr Kobus van Heerden: Enterprise Manager and Etienne Grond: Environmental Manager.  Mr Tshepo Marumule of Bev South Africa and Mr Daddy Khuselo of Mbuso Management Solutions, who represented the business sector in this region, facilitated the meeting.

Prof Dzvimbo was impressed that the meeting paved the way for mutual beneficial linkages that will look at research focus areas to test mining waste and develop research projects in the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering and biotechnology, to name but a few.

VUT academics will work with AngloGold Ashanti’s water specialist to determine and understand the contents of waste water in order to advise on possible ways to engender a mine-waste economy after the inevitable closure of the mine. The research paper produced from this engagement will be shared with AngloGold Ashanti as a future framework to deal with waste water and mining waste in general.

Executive Director of Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park, Dr Joe Molete made an impressive presentation to mine management about the ongoing projects that they are engaged in and the latest technology that they have. The main objective of his presentation was to map out ways in which the mine management, municipality and the local business sector could work together using the quadruple helix as a conceptual schema to undergird the operations.

The mining management made a commitment to visit VUT’s Science Park to see the latest technology available there and engage in further partnership.

In conclusion, it was agreed that a memorandum of understanding will be drawn up and finalised as a way forward.

Vuselela TVET College

The VUT delegation met with the management of Vuselela TVET College in the City of Matlasana Municipality in Klerksdorp, North-West Province on 7 September.

The delegation consisted of Professor Connie Moloi (Research Professor: Education Department), Mr Moho Diago (Director: Special Projects, Vice-Chancellor’s Office), Mr Mike Khuboni (Executive Director: Corporate Affairs) and the academics and researchers from the Chemistry Department. The Vuselela College team was led by Mr Danie Smith (Acting Principal and current Deputy Principal: Corporate Services).  Mr Tshepo Ngcobo (Deputy Principal: Academic), Dr Rod Waddington (HR Manager) and other management staff.

The purpose of this meeting was to explore collaboration with a local higher education partner. A need was identified for VUT to reinstate its presence in the area to bridge the science, technology and engineering gap that exists in this region.

Prof Moloi shared with college management that VUT offers a postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education which equips staff who have discipline knowledge with teaching skills and techniques.  The study opportunities available provide college staff with professional training and development.

The partnership between the two institutions will also pave the way for articulation of students from college to a University of Technology and provide opportunities for further studies. It emerged from the discussion that the college has produced many artisans who previously worked in the mine but who are now redundant.  It was suggested that they could be trained in teaching methodology and be empowered to lecture in their areas at college.

The representatives of the two institutions agreed to share facilities and expertise. They committed to sharing curriculum content in order for VUT to understand what skills are required in this region when it designs programmes for the new site of delivery.

Department of Education         

The VUT delegation also went on to meet with the management of Education and Sport Development in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District.

They met a team led by Mr Simon Mogotsi (Sub-District Manager) and other members of senior management.

The purpose of this meeting was to gain clarity on the skills shortage in the area and for VUT to share what it is able to offer in order to bridge this gap in the local education system.

Mr Mogotsi pointed out that there is a huge shortage of technology teachers and that the education system is not doing well in the lower grades (Grade R and inclusive education). Prof Moloi informed the district education management that VUT’s mandate is to provide science, technology and engineering education. Prof Moloi added that the new Bachelor of Education has been designed to address technology challenges affecting area.  She further said that programmes in Master’s in Higher Education and Grade R have been approved by VUT and submitted for accreditation.   It emerged that the district needs assistance with training of HODs to understand their roles and responsibilities.  Prof Moloi offered to facilitate a workshop for senior management and develop a research paper on it.

The visit shows that VUT is on a trajectory to build a university of the future which will produce skills to address all manner of social ills in society.

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