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University of Pretoria and City of Tshwane sign a land-swap agreement

A long-awaited land-swap agreement was recently signed by the University of Pretoria’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Cheryl de la Rey, and Mr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane.

In terms of the agreement, the University received a piece of land adjacent to its High Performance Centre (hpc) in exchange for the Hammanskraal Campus. Both these properties will be put to good use. The partnership between the University and the City of Tshwane is outlined in an existing Memorandum of Understanding. According to Prof De la Rey, the partnership will benefit both the University and all those living in the metropolitan area. She described the signing of the agreement as a milestone that will lead to the realisation of the City of Tshwane’s Vision 2055, which is closely connected to the University’s Strategic Plan UP 2025. ‘Our collective vision for the future is what brought us together and the success of our University and the success of the City of Tshwane are wholly interdependent. This realisation is in fact the foundation of our partnership,’ she said. Prof De la Rey added that land acquisition is a crucial part of the University’s long-term strategy to ensure growth in the next five years. It is important for the University to expand its infrastructure so as to be able to cater for the pool of talent that it draws to the city from the all over the country. The newly acquired land, which borders on the University’s hpc, will be used for its expansion.

The Hammanskraal Campus, purchased from the St Peter’s Seminary in 1994 and subsequently used by UP’s Centre for the Study of Aids and Hammanskraal Law Clinic, will be used to establish a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Park that will address the city’s transformation agenda as stated in its National Development Plan and Vision 2055 by attracting public- and private-sector investment, creating jobs and developing skills and infrastructure. BPO, a major global trend, was launched by government in 2007 as a strategy to boost the country’s economy and create employment opportunities. It has since become an important creator of employment opportunities in Gauteng and the rest of the country. In the City of Tshwane it provides employment for an estimated 11 000 people who contribute approximately R2,5 billion to the city’s GDP. The Tshwane BPO Park will include a contact centre that can seat 3 000 people, an incubator for SMMEs and an academy offering a national tooling programme. Mr Ramokgopa said, ‘Over and above the benefits of job creation, infrastructure and skills development envisaged by the Tshwane BPO Park, the City of Tshwane will gain first-mover advantage above other regions, accelerate industry growth and attract new clients. The Tshwane BPO Park will also position the city as a key role player and an ideal BPO investment opportunity.’

He further stated that the agreement was the result of the cordial relationship that exists between the City of Tshwane and the University of Pretoria, and added that the partnership is instrumental in taking the city forward, as articulated in the University of Pretoria’s vision statement. ‘We look forward to a fruitful partnership with the University of Pretoria and other progressive forces in the development of a sports cluster (hpc) and trust that this will assist in developing future sports champions, address social and educational challenges and promote the overall growth of the city’s economy. This is a city of champions and we intend to continue to produce them,’ he said.

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