SCIENCE INSIDE: Future of fuel efficiency in SA

This week’s show looks at the dropping petrol prices. The team chats to the director and chief economist at Econometrix, Dr Azar Jammime, about the the oil price. They also looked at the eco- challenge and how to build a car that can travel thousands of kms on a single litre of petrol (ridiculous) and wrap up with how a car can be powered by the sun and win a race.

The Science Inside, the show that goes inside the science of major news events, is produced by Paul McNally, Anina Mumm, DJ Keyez and Lutfiyah Suliman for The Wits Radio Academy. Tune in live to VowFM every Monday at 6pm.

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Anonymous donor gives R100 million to Wits

Wits University has received R100 million from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. While the university already has plans for the money, vice-chancellor Prof Adam Habib says universities around the country need more funding if they are to respond to national imperatives and remain globally competitive. Read the full statement below:

Adam Habib Wits University Vice Chancellor says it is not often that universities in South Africa receive funding of this magnitude.Normally  from sole philanthropists. The funding for universities is largely  sourced from corporates and state funding agencies locally, and international trusts and foundations

Prof Adam Habib announced today that Wits University has received a donation of R100 million from an unnamed donor. Photo: Wits Vuvuzela.

STATEMENT: R100 MILLION DONATION FOR WITS TO ADVANCE ITS TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES      

The University of the Witwatersrand announced today that it is the recipient of a R100 million donation. The individual donor who is a long-time supporter of the University has chosen to remain anonymous. The sum of R10 million has been earmarked for the Wits Arts  Museum, and the remaining R90 million is to be deployed for the advancement of research and/or teaching as determined by the university.

“It is a great honour for Wits to receive funding of this magnitude from a South African who has seen it fit to invest in Wits, and in higher education, a sector that develops the future leaders of our country. We are sincerely grateful for this support, which will go a long way towards advancing the academic project and higher education in general,” says Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University. “We are still working out the specific details of how the funds will be expended but we are always in need of funds to attract and retain talented academics and students, and to support the research and teaching activities.”

Universities around the country need more funding if they are to respond to national imperatives and remain globally competitive. Universities obtain their funding via three income streams – state subsidy, student fees and third stream income. However, given the current realities, higher education institutions, and particularly research-intensive universities, are increasingly looking towards third stream income in order to run top-notch universities.

“It is not often that universities in South Africa receive funding of this magnitude from sole philanthropists, as the majority of our external funding is sourced from corporates and state funding agencies locally, and international trusts and foundations,” adds Habib. “A distinguishing feature of this donation is also that it is unrestricted. The university leadership has been granted the autonomy to deploy this donation as it deems  best to enhance teaching and research at Wits. Such donations are rare and is to be particularly applauded. These donations are important for Wits to remain at the cutting edge of teaching, research and service excellence, especially at a time when public funding for higher education is stagnant.”

The Wits Group has an annual turnover of about R4 billion.

“I believe that Wits is an active social leader that seeks to advance the public good. An investment in Wits and in our universities today is an investment in our youth, and the future of our country,” concludes Habib.

SCIENCE INSIDE: The 2014 matric exams

This week we look at Matric Exams. The exams are happening nationwide and we are going to take the chance to look at how we can use scientific research to improve the education system. We chat to Dr Elizabeth Walton, senior lecturer in inclusive education and then we hear from Prof Elizabeth Henning, Director at the Centre for Education Practice and Research at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus.

The Science Inside, the show that goes inside the science of major news events, is produced by Paul McNally, Anina Mumm, DJ Keyez and Lutfiyah Suliman for The Wits Radio Academy. Tune in live to VowFM every Monday at 6pm.

If the full podcast does not load automatically, please click here.

SCIENCE INSIDE: Mall robberies

We chat to Vanessa Lynch, founder of the DNA project, a project aimed at advancing justice by increasing the use of DNA evidence. And we wrap up with an interview with Lynne Cawood, director of Childline Gauteng, who talks to us about dealing with the trauma caused by crime and violence in South Africa.

The Science Inside, the show that goes inside the science of major news events, is produced by Paul McNally, Anina Mumm, DJ Keyez and Lutfiyah Suliman for The Wits Radio Academy. Tune in live to VowFM every Monday at 6pm.

If the full podcast does not load automatically, please click here.

Project W reject portfolio decision, look to referendum or legal recourse

Project W members of the Wits SRC (Students Representatives Council) have rejected a decision by the vice-chancellor (VC) about portfolio allocations and will continue to contest the outcome of the process.

Wits VC Prof Adam Habib has ostensibly put an end to the ongoing student leadership spat between Project W and the PYA (Progressive Youth Alliance) by endorsing the recent portfolio allocations but Project W say they will not accept the positions allocated to them.

All members of the SRC were informed of the VC’s decision via a letter on Wednesday but in response Jamie Mighti of Project W said, “We are unavailable to serve in sham portfolios and remain of the view that they were not in the interests of students and are thus unconstitutional.”

According to the response, sent in an email to the Dean of Students, Dr Pamela Dube, Project W said they “cannot serve in portfolios created without our consent and consultation. We will not therefore be taking up those specific portfolio allocations.”

Project W have notified the University that they “will be seeking further recourse from the student body through a referendum as well as through various other platforms both legal and otherwise.”

“We are unavailable to serve in sham portfolios”

On Friday, October 3, Project W walked out of a meeting of the SRC once again, arguing that ‘the best interests of the students are not being considered by the PYA in the portfolios that they are trying to bully the SRC into adopting”, according to Mighti.

“There is a continuing attempt by the PYA to create white elephant portfolios within the SRC to undermine the ability of Project W to serve the students and to attempt to emasculate the organisation’s longevity at the university,” he said.

Mighti added that “A cost benefit analysis of the portfolios proposed by both parties reflects the malice and bad faith of the PYA, as well as illustrating that they have little concern about student problems.”

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela on behalf of the PYA, Sasco chairperson Nompendulo Mkatshwa said: “We are receptive of Prof Habib’s endorsement of the list as re-constituted on Friday, 3 October 2014 as requested by colleagues of Project W. It cannot be that the leadership of students is held ransom by the lack of understanding of democratic centralism by others. It is unfair to the movement we are in – a movement driven by the interest of students.”

Mkatshwa said the portfolios of the SRC elect are in no way exclusive of the development and progress that ought to be achieved by the SRC in the interest of students.

“Now that Prof Habib has endorsed the list, those that want to lead can finally begin doing what students voted for them to do. Not everyone got the office they may have dreamed of, from executive to the last portfolio holder however, a good leader will always make the best of what they are given”, said Mkatshwa.

The VC’s intervention in the tussle between the SRC members, is based on Clause 30 (1) of the SRC Constitution which provides that: “After due notice of its failure to carry out any function or duty, should the SRC continue to fail in carrying out any of its functions or duties, the vice-chancellor has the power to carry out any such function or duty in the spirit and manner prescribed in this Constitution.”

“Having outlined the University’s position, I would like to consider this matter resolved and look forward to working with the new Student Representative Council”, said Habib in his letter.

The 2014/2015 Students Representative Council

1.  Mcebo Dlamini, President

2.  Shaeera Kalla, Deputy President

3 . Senzekahle Mbokazi, General Secretary

4 . Amogelang Manganyi, Deputy Secretary General

5 . Mthuthuzeli Mahlangu, Treasurer

6 . Tanya Otto, International Students Affairs

7 . Gwinyai Dube, Strategic Planning

8 . Omhle Ntshingila, Clubs, Societies & Organizations And Student Governance

9 .   Waseem Talia, Student and Legal Services

10.  Jamie Mighti, Campus Wellness

11 . Fasiha Hassan, Academic

12 . Kabelo Murray, Social and Community Development

13 . Thamsanqa Pooe, Transformation

14 . Enhle Khumalo, Research and Policy

15 . Blaise Koetsie, Projects, Media and Campaigns

 

Wits looking to “colonise” Braamfontein

Braamfontein is set to become an extension of Wits campus. The university will take responsibility for the upgrade of facilities in the area. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

BRANCHING OUT: Braamfontein is set to become an extension of the Wits campus. The university will take responsibility for the upgrade of facilities in the area. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

Wits University is to receive R30 million from the City of Johannesburg for the upgrade of facilities in Braamfontein.
Wits vice-chancellor (VC) Prof Adam Habib has confirmed that an agreement has been reached with city officials which will allow the university to extend the campus beyond its current borders in Braamfontein.
As part of the agreement Wits will take responsibility for part of Braamfontein’s lighting, security and paving, as well as the upgrade of a number of buildings in the area over the next three to five years.
“We are looking to colonise the area,” Habib said. He has met with the mayor of Johannesburg, Parks Tau and City manager, Trevor Fowler, who have agreed to provide financial support to Wits for the project.
In addition, Wits is in negotiations to “borrow” bandwidth from the city to increase Internet access and availability across the campus.
As part of the upgrade, international technology company IBM will locate its Braamfontein research lab on the Wits campus. This is in order to support the university’s continued study in the origins of the universe and of human species.
In 2009, the university together with public and private funders invested R1.5 billion into upgrading campus infrastructure, including the Wits Art Museum, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and education campus facilities.
According to Shirona Patel of Wits communications, the “investment had gone into new buildings and in upgrading existing infrastructure, which comprises more than 260 buildings.”
The facilities department is currently conducting a survey, looking at the need for student and staff accommodation and in an upcoming council meeting, will strategise ways to manage the Braamfontein build up so that it does not detract from “normal internal infrastructural duties,” Habib said.

SCIENCE INSIDE: Nuclear corruption

This week’s show looks at The Nuclear Corruption Scandal. The team chats to Dr Tristen Taylor from Earthlife Africa to find out if we should invest in nuclear energy, as well as nuclear physicist, Dr Jacques Bezuidenhout on what happens when you blast a sea creature with a nuclear reactor. They wrap up with insights from Dr Petro Terblanche, of Pelchem, on how South Africa has the Number one deposit for the chemical crucial to making nuclear fuel.

The Science Inside, the show that goes inside the science of major news events, is produced by Paul McNally, Anina Mumm, DJ Keyez and Lutfiyah Suliman for The Wits Radio Academy. Tune in live to VowFM every Monday at 6pm.

If the full podcast does not load automatically, please click here.