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Infrastructure at Sol Plaatje University on track

Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana, says he is satisfied with progress made on infrastructure at Sol Plaatje University in the Northern Cape.

Deputy Minister Manana visited the construction site in Kimberley on Tuesday, where four cranes were keeping the building programme on track.

During his visit, the Deputy Minister was given a full briefing on the progress made on the establishment and rapid development of the university.

“The briefing I received this morning and the visit to the construction site gives me tremendous confidence that all the deadlines for ensuring the successful delivery of the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the 2016 student intake will be met.

“I have witnessed the evidence of the close cooperation between the different spheres of government. The Sol Plaatje Municipality has been single-minded in its determination to support the development of the university by expediting the required approval processes and supporting the social and economic development aspects of the project, among others,” Deputy Minister Manana said.

The work undertaken to deliver the infrastructure for the 2015 student intake of 370 has been of a high quality.

This phase of construction will establish the university’s central campus, completing six of the envisaged eight new multi-storey buildings at an estimated construction cost of over R900 million.

The new university buildings include laboratories, lecture auditoria and teaching facilities, academic offices, libraries, residences and student facilities.

In total, the construction of more than 50 000 square metres of new buildings will accommodate the planned 2016 and 2017 student numbers.

Together with the existing 2014 and 2015 provision, on campus residences will accommodate a total about 700 students for the 2016 academic year.

The Deputy Minister acknowledged the efforts being made to ensure that the province benefits from the investment in the university infrastructure.

Specific development objectives have been integrated into the construction procurement strategy that commits the appointed main contractors to local expenditure on labour, suppliers and sub-contractors; Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment; and skills development.

The Deputy Minister was also particularly pleased with the academic performance of the university in its first year of its existence.

He emphasised that in addition to high quality academic teaching and sound governance, it was necessary to have in place the infrastructure to sustain the level of academic performance.

Eighty percent of the students registered in 2014 passed all their first-year courses with an average course pass rate of 87%.

The Deputy Minister also congratulated Professor Ballim on his appointment as Vice-Chancellor following a rigorous appointment procedure.

“I wish you well in laying the foundations for a university that will provide innovative and high quality academic programmes,” the Deputy Minister said



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