Vol1 no5 2016



The Alumni newsletter of the

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)

Published by the Advancement & Partnerships Office

Pretoria Campus, Building 21: 221

Staatsartillerie Road, Pretoria West

Private Bag X680, Pretoria, 0001

Tel: +27 (0)12 382 2804

Email: ourbeat@tut.ac.za

The Beat Goes On

Benjamin Phehla

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Mr Benjamin Phehla, a student at the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and a former Chairperson of the Faculty’s Student Council. Benjamin passed away on 20 October 2016 due to a car accident. At the time of his death, Benjamin had enrolled for a National Diploma: Business Applications at the Faculty of ICT.

Are you tired of the #FeesMustfall protest?
life quotes

Your view matters



All you have to do is answer the following question (don’t fret, you should get the answer somewhere in this edition):



Please send your answer, name and contact number to alumni@tut.ac.za  before or on 30 November 2016. Please mark the subject field: COMPETITION.


The winner for last edition’s competition is Gareth Fourie. Only registered TUT alumni can enter. Good luck!

Editor: Kefentse Molotsane

Contributors: Willa de Ruyter

This publication may contain third party advertisements and links to third party sites. The Tshwane University of Technology does not make any representation as to the accuracy or suitability of any of the information contained in these advertisements or sites and does not accept any responsibility or liability for the conduct or content of those advertisements and sites and the offerings made by the third parties.

Dear Alumni,


The year 2016 has, to say the least, been quite dramatic for Higher Education and the country. In particular, it has been characterised by continuous national student protest action for fees to fall and ongoing disruption of academic activities at a number of universities country-wide.

Update from the VC

Although there has been sporadic incidents of disruptions at TUT campuses, activities could continue fairly normally at the majority of our campuses. At present the situation is calm at most of the University’s campuses and academic activities are continuing. The University remains steadfast in its commitment to allow the vast majority of the students studying at the University to complete this academic year.


The #FeesMustFall has been dominating the South African media scene since late in 2015 and with majority of our students being financially needy, the University is very grateful for a R6.6 million pledge from ABSA towards the TUT Bursary and Scholarship Fund.  ABSA made the announcement during a functions to recognize the first 200 Founding donors of the Fund on 2 November 2016. This donation brings the fund to R10 million and will go a long way to alleviate the need for funding for financially needy students.


Both Patrons of the fund, Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana, and TUT Chancellor, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, attended the function. During the event, Deputy Minister Manana announced the extension of his contribution for another five years and challenged every donor to bring at least ten new donors aboard.

I think it’s worth mentioning that TUT’s Council resolved at a special meeting on 20 October 2016, that no TUT student will experience any fee adjustment in 2017. This resolution followed an announcement on 19 September 2016, by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, that Government would provide support to higher education institutions to ensure that NSFAS qualifying students, as well as the so-called “missing middle” from households with an income of less than R600 000 per year, will not be exposed to any fee adjustments in 2017. At TUT this group is estimated to account for approximately 90% of the University’s student population.


To ensure that no TUT students experience a direct fee increment, the self-funded students who account for an estimated 10% of the University’s student body, will also be assisted by the University. Thus, fees will remain the same as they were in 2015.


The ongoing  #FeesMustFall protests has once again put the spotlight squarely on the necessity of stakeholders, especially Alumni, to become more involved in giving back to their Alma Mater, especially financially.


My suggestion to every Alumnus is to start by contributing a small percentage of your annual income to the University, increasing it as you become more well-off and can afford to contribute more.


To be with you in this drive of giving back to our University, and to walk the talk, I, most of my senior management and many of our staff members have become regular donors of the TUT Bursary and Scholarship Fund.


In addition, for those of you who are already more established in the world of work and who have more experience and knowledge to share, there will also be other opportunities of giving back, particularly if you have remained engaged with the University. Such opportunities can include participation in Advisory Bodies, presenting lectures on a guest lecture basis, conducting short learning programs/workshops, and very importantly, facilitating placement and internships of our students. Please help bring such opportunities to the University.


TUT highly values the ideas and opinions of its Alumni, therefore please keep in contact with your Alma Mater. We want to hear from you regularly!

Alumnus for Vice President

Malesela Maubane, a TUT alumnus, has been elected vice president for the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA). He will serve until the next National Annual General Meeting (AGM) due in 2017.

Maubane, Chartered Public Relations Practitioner (CPRP) has over 14 years corporate experience and he is an Assistant Manager: Industry Transition at the Polokwane Municipality, since 2015, where he is involved in stakeholder engagement and change management for implementation of the Integrated Rapid Public Transport System (IRPTS).


After graduating with a National Diploma in Journalism from the erstwhile Technikon Northern

Gauteng in 1999, he acquired various public

relations and management qualifications through

ProVox Centre for Public Relations and the University of South Africa between 2006 and 2013.


Maubane’s role as vice president, entails overseeing the proactive communication of the organisation’s value to members and other stakeholders as well as the drive to grow and maintain membership (leadership, membership and partnerships) whilst being a member of the Membership Committee.


Maubane says he is proud and overjoyed to have been elected as the vice president of the association.


“Being in this position is a sign of confidence that my peers have in my abilities, also an opportunity to grasp fiduciary responsibilities of Board membership. The position further afford me a chance to contribute towards development of upcoming practitioners and driving transformation in the public relations and communication management industry through PRISA being a signatory to the Marketing, Advertising and Communication (MAC) Sector Charter”, he said.


His other career highlights include being the Media Liaison Officer for Aganang Local Municipality between 2009 and 2014, before joining Polokwane Municipality in 2014 as Stakeholder Relations Officer. He has been a member of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) since 2009 and he is

currently serving as Chairperson of the Institute’s Limpopo Regional Committee Structure.


He was part of a cohort of public relations and communication management practitioners who spearheaded the re-establishment of the Region in 2013, where he was voted the inaugural Secretary until his elevation to the current position in March 2015.


Speaking on his future plans for PRISA, Maubane said: “We would love to work closely with institutions of higher learning in order to tap into their research capability”.

TUT mourns the death of tenor Johan Botha

South African born tenor Johan Botha, who dazzled audiences at the world’s top operatic stages in a wide range of roles, died at the age of 51 in Vienna on 8 September 2016. Less than a month before his death, on 11 August 2016, the Cape Town Opera appointed Botha as Honorary Patron during a function at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.


Prof Lourens van Staden, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, lauded Botha for his illustrious career and said Botha was probably one of the University’s best known and most respected Alumni. “Our deepest condolences to his wife, two sons, friends and fans all over the world,” Prof van Staden said.


Botha who is currently the most recorded South African opera singer in history, was born in Rustenburg, South Africa on 19 August 1965. At five years of age he told his father he wanted to be an opera singer and by age ten he was already taking voice lessons.


He was one of the first students to enroll for the National Diploma at the former Technikon Pretoria in 1986, which became the Tshwane University of Technology in 2004. When he graduated from the Opera School, everybody predicted an illustrious career for this young tenor in his final year of study. He was already well known for his strong work ethic, high standards and sense of humour and throughout his career, the hallmarks of his performances were refined musicianship, rock solid technique and professional discipline.

Upon completion of his studies, he made his stage debut at the municipal theatre in Roodepoort as Max in Der Freischütz in 1989. His international breakthrough came in 1993 at the Opéra Bastille as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.


Since then he performed at leading opera venues around the world such as the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera which made him a Kammersänger in 2003, Opera Australia, Royal Opera House (London), La Scala, and the Salzburg Festival.


Over his 27-year career, the versatile Botha, who felt at home in operas ranging from Puccini to Wagner, appeared on most of the world’s top stages including La Scala, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the State Opera in Vienna, where he made his home.


Owing to his light but powerful voice, which displayed a fluidity that at its best knew few constraints, he was also an accomplished concert singer, appearing with orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra under the batons of Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim and Christian Thielemann among others.


At the time of his death he lived in Vienna, Austria with his wife and two sons.

Alumni reconnect after

22 years


Hugs, kisses, handshakes and high fives were the order of the day when graduates from the former Kwa Mhlanga Campus met each other again after 22 years on 10 September 2016 at the Derdepoort Recreation Resort.


The campus which offered Management Science courses closed in 2002 as a result of a Council decision around sustainability.


The aim of the reunion was not only to rekindle old friendship amongst the alumni, but also to start an Alumni Chapter for the group, so that they can ultimately plough back to the University in more ways than one.

Speaking at the event, Prof Stanley Mukhola who is also a TUT alumnus, said: “as Alumni of this university, you are invited to be our Advisers and serve on  the Advisory Boards of the University; you need to come in and tell us that what we offering is irrelevant, and that it doesn’t add value in the labour market.” “As our ambassadors, you are there to market this University to others, to tell them about your experience at TUT”, Mukhola added.

Prof Mukhola also urged Alumni gathered at the reunion to support the TUT Bursary and Scholarship Fund, saying that NSFAS alone cannot accommodate and support everybody.


“Whether it’s R20, R50 or R100, I can assure that your money will make a huge difference in the lives of our young people who need to access higher education”.

“We need you more than ever before; TUT cannot survive without you”, Mukhola concluded.


A lively crowd of around 80 graduates spent the afternoon socializing, reconnecting with old friends and sharing stories and enjoying each other’s company.


Mr Peter Kekana, one of the former SRC Presidents of the Kwa Mhlanga Campus, said: “It was an overwhelming experience meeting with the people whom I have last seen in 1994, 22 years ago.”

MOP Alumni

urged to plough back to the University

TUT prides itself as being the first University in South Africa to produce Medical Orthotic and Prosthetic (MOP) graduates.


Most of these graduates, from TUT, are members of the South African Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (SAOPA) which gathers annually for a 3 days congress. This year’s congress was held at the Emperors Palace from 15 – 17 September and TUT’s APO was invited to reignite the relationship

between the university and these MOP practitioners during a social event held at the Barnyard.


MOP practitioners work directly with patients in the specialised field of orthopedic rehabilitation in cooperation with other members of a multidisciplinary team by assessing, measuring, designing, manufacturing, maintaining and fitting orthoses (braces) and prostheses (artificial limbs) to assist with the rehabilitation of physically impaired patients.


These specialists work in a team with the surgeon, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and nursing staff.


The programme of the congress featured presentations and discussions referencing regulation, legislation and compliance for the Orthotic and Prosthetic practitioner.


Speaking at the event, Mari Booysen, APO Director, invited the former graduates to form the first MOP alumni chapter, inviting them to be active alumni of the University and be mentors to MOP students.


“You can play a pivotal role by sharing your time and giving back to the University.  Donating to the TUT Bursary and Scholarship Fund is one of the strategic projects providing an opportunity to financially contribute to your alma mater”, Mari added.


 “If you are giving and you don’t give from the heart, then giving is not fulfilling and is incomplete; so whenever you giving, give from the heart”, Mari concluded.

VC encourages MBA alumni to advance

The University's Image

“Alumni, in my view, form a special stakeholder grouping for an institution as their biggest interest is to see the University flourish and grow in stature.” These were the words voiced by Prof Lourens van Staden, Vice Chancellor and Principal, during his annual alumni engagement which took place on the 26 October at the Royal Elephant Hotel. This year Masters in Business Administration (MBA) alumni were invited to the event.


Close to 40 MBA alumni were present at this prestigious function which aims to provide an engagement platform between alumni and their alma mater.


Alumni are regarded as living advertisements for the quality of the school, not only through their considerable accomplishments, but also because of the enthusiasm they express.


The VC said there are many ways to engage with the institution and that alumni should keep in touch with their alma mater. “Visit TUT as often as possible, meet with your former lecturers and students, respond to our emails, and share your ideas and suggestions with us.”


“Most importantly, give back to the University, financially and otherwise.  For a University such as TUT to be strong and protect itself from external interferences, financial autonomy is essential,” Prof van Staden added.


To date, the University has produced over 200 MBA graduates and remains the only University of Technology (UoT) that offers this unique programme. The programme focuses on developing and preparing professionals and entrepreneurs for strategic leadership roles.