For years there have been talks about the province getting its own university. When the announcement was finally made in 2013, it was met with excitement. At the launch a glimpse was given into what the future would entail. While the academic year has started with only a few study courses, the plan is to increase what is on offer gradually over the next couple of years.
This week was thus a momentous occasion when the academic opening of the university took place. Hell, it was even good enough for the president, Mr Jacob Zuma to mention it in his opening address of parliamant last week. But it wasn’t good enough for any of our political heads to attend this auspicious event.
The premier Mr David Mabuza couldn’t make it, the MEC for eduction, Ms Reginah Mhaule didn’t pitch although she had to deliver the premier’s keynote address! One would have thought the mayor of Mbombela, Ms Cathy Dlamini would be there, but she was also nowhere to be found.
I have known Prof John Shongwe, who is part of the strategic management team, for many years. A more gentle soul, humble and respected man will be hard to find. His passion for education spans a lifetime and in November the soft-spoken giant came to my office to ask for a bit of exposure. One can simply never say no to him and we gladly helped him showcase the progress of the unversity. As excited as
Prof Shongwe was that day, as dissappointed he would have been this week.
It demonstrates the sheer lack of “caring” from government. Do you really think an exco-meeting should have been diarised for the same time? It was a historic moment, captured for the future only on this day. You can’t rerun this, its gone. Prof Shongwe and his team will make this work and we are looking forward to a long and committed relationship with him and the institution.
On a very serious different note, the crime situation in Hazyview has flared up again. One person died and two were seriously injured during two armed attacks at tourism establishments. The community doesn’t know which way to turn any more. Their morale is low and it seems as if there is simply no end in sight to the situation. Once again government is failing them. For months, on a personal level and from the organised tourism industry groupings, we have tried to put pressure on them to act. We have compiled reports, we’ve had meetings and still nothing concrete has been done. Getting re-elected is their only focus right now. Well, happy days. Our province’s economy is seriously being affected because tourism is taking a blow in this area. Make good on your promises of job creation, or rather at least have an impact so that jobs can be saved. If the current trend continues, many people will lose their income very soon. It is a dire situation and by ignoring the problem, you are creating a long-term issue that would take years to fix.