College of Science, Engineering & Technology

Celebrated for leadership and excellence

Percy Sibanda, a second-level student in Mechanical Engineering at Unisa, has won an Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) award for leadership and excellence at the third annual ABSIP Student Awards held in Sandton on 16 September 2017.

Sibongiseni Mbatha (President: ABSIP), Percy Sibanda (Treasurer: Johannesburg Unisa RSRC and award winner), and Max Malinga (NEC member: ABSIP)

In 2016, he received the National Diploma in Mining Engineering immediately after his election as treasurer of the Johannesburg Regional SRC, making him one of the first SRC members to graduate in their term, epitomising the long-held slogan: Student leaders chant and pass at the same time.

In his student life, he has been a former regional secretary of the Science, Engineering, and Technology Student Association (SETSA) in Johannesburg, where he also served as a national task team member. He is currently Treasurer of the Johannesburg RSRC. In all the various leadership positions he has held, he has stood for a united and inclusive leadership executive. He is currently a Community Engagement committee member of the College of Science, Engineering & Technology (CSET), a branch member of Unisa SASCO, Johannesburg, as well as a registered Candidate Engineering Technician with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). His aspiration is to be an expert Mining and Mechanical Engineering as well as Human rights activists.

In his view, leadership entails sacrifice and humility. He believes that these are guiding mechanisms for successful leadership and if one is true and abides to these one can achieve success. His style of leadership is based on listening and respecting the constituency that mandated them as the collective, irrespective of the platform, be it church, student politics or society in general.

“Winning the ABSIP award, an organization centred towards finding solutions to problems in the financial sector and society in general has placed immense pressure on me as well as the Unisa SRC. We must take this as a challenge to come up with lasting solutions in the higher education sector that is faced with an important call for free quality, decolonised education, as well as challenges of graduate unemployment,” he said. He believes that this award came as a result of the collective work they deliver as the regional SRC of Johannesburg.

His priorities are education, community development and the transformation of the higher education sector. “I think that personal development emerges as a result of these commitments.”

His view on the state of higher education

There are many challenges in the education sector. I believe it is about to reach a turning point as there are clarion calls from all walks of life critiquing education as it relates to the needy black child. Education in South Africa remains expensive. The struggle must be to defend the poor by ensuring that students of all backgrounds access education freely without reference to affordability. Education must be free and I am committed to all programmes that seek to advance that call. In my view, the education sector is not solving societal issues. Instead, it postpones the inevitable need of everyone’s right to education. Students, academics, and all structures in society must unite to create an education that will allow us to compete with the masses of the world.

Life motto: Respect, humility and love

Favourite quote: He who feeds you, controls you. Thomas Sankara

My advice to student and fellow student leaders is to put much focus on school and continue to seek knowledge and not be an ordinary student as there is no room for mediocrity in life.

*Compiled by Nkululeko Mpakama

Save

Save