News & Media

Unisa serious about substantive transformation, including economic transformation

Sakhi Simelane (Chairperson of Council), HE Lindiwe Zulu (Minister of Small Business Development), and Prof Mandla Makhanya (Principal and Vice-Chancellor)

“As the National Development Plan (NDP) makes clear, getting South Africa onto a high-growth trajectory demands that we fundamentally change our game plan and place small businesses and co-operatives at the centre of our war against poverty, inequality, and unemployment.”

Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development, was speaking on the occasion of the landmark Enterprise Development Day for small, medium, and micro enterprise (SMME) suppliers at Unisa on 31 May 2018. The event highlighted the strategic role of enterprise and supplier development (ESD) on the university’s transformation agenda.

Localisation and Africanisation at the heart of economic transformation

“Unisa is serious about substantive transformation.” According to Principal and Vice-Chancellor Prof Mandla Makhanya, the university Change Management Unit has identified eight dimensions of higher education transformation, with the seventh dimension being funding and resource allocation, including broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE). “This important dimension of transformation has been incorporated in the Draft Institutional Transformation Plan as an indication of the strong commitment of Unisa to the advancement of small and medium enterprises as a major lever of economic transformation in South Africa,” he said.

Small businesses have a crucial role to play at the epicentre of this transformation, said Council member Thabiso Ramasike, Chair of the Finance, Estates, and Investment Committee of Council (FIECOC) at Unisa. He said that Council was committed to the localisation and Africanisation at the heart of economic transformation.

While there had been a substantive (79%) shift to B-BBEE in the past three years, more needed to be done, he cautioned, especially in recruiting suppliers and contractors from the designated demographic groups of women, people with disabilities, and the youth. To fast-track this, the university is looking at ways of breaking SMME barriers to entry to procurement at Unisa.

HE Lindiwe Zulu (Minister of Small Business Development) addresses the landmark Enterprise Development Day for SMME suppliers at Unisa on 31 May 2018

Developing suppliers and contractors

Phumlani Zwane, Chief Financial Officer and Vice-Principal of Finance, Supply Chain, and Business Enterprise, said Unisa was “driving transformation vehemently”. He would be setting up an SMME support desk in his office, which would facilitate access to information for SMMEs on business opportunities available in Unisa, as well as serving as an avenue to get better understanding of Unisa’s procurement procedures and processes.

He pointed out that the university was looking for suppliers and contractors in fields such as consumables, stationery, ICT, PPE clothing, plumbing, and pest control. “We are open for business,” Zwane said. “Don’t sit at home and complain. Raise your hand!”

The Supply Chain Management Directorate at Unisa is launching an Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) Programme 2018, in line with the Council-approved Supply Chain Management Policy, the B-BBEE strategy, and generic codes on ESD.

Those suppliers who complete the six modules of the programme will then apply their knowledge to prepare a bid document for a tender of between R100 000 and R500 000 at the university, which will be evaluated and awarded by the Tender Bid Committee.

Other speakers in the full-day programme included Prof Arthur Mutambara, former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe; Prof Khehla Ndlovu, Vice-Principal of Strategy, Risk, and Advisory Services, Unisa; Prof Marcus Ambe, Chairperson of Unisa Tender Committees; Selvan Govender, CEO: PURCO SA; and Nombuso Msomi, Head: Enterprise and Supplier Development, ACSA.

The Supplier Development Day attracted about 500 SMME suppliers both within and outside the Unisa Supplier Database.

*By Sharon Farrell