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SBL launches education programme for military veterans

Prof Mandla Makhanya, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Unisa

The education of military veterans received a boost with the launch of a management and leadership programme at the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL). Initiated by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the programme was specifically developed for members and veterans of, amongst others, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the South African Police Service (SAPS), Metro Police and the South African Safety and Security Agency, particularly senior leaders employed as executives in their respective deployments.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mandla Makhanya, said: "We are greatly honoured to have been chosen as a strategic partner for this important programme. One of the best attributes that any nation can develop is to never forget those who served it. The efforts made by the government in assisting military veterans to receive skills that they can use beyond their years of service should be commended. In doing so we join a host of other nations that re-skill their veterans. Because of their sense of organisation, focus and discipline, graduate military veterans have gone on to become great leaders in society."

Makhanya added that he was excited about the case studies that the Unisa SBL might develop resulting from the programme. "Many business schools all over the world use lessons from the military to articulate what may be best practices for the business world."

The initiative will see 700 students taken through a range of postgraduate and customised executive education programmes over a three-year period. The Unisa SBL programme lead, Prof Noel Ngwenya, said: "It is encouraging to note that during our first intake we already had a significant number of students registered. While the programmes will initially be offered at the SBL Campus in Midrand, as well as in Durban, East London and Cape Town, the initiative will be expanded to other regions through the versatility of the Unisa model."

Importantly, Ngwenya said, the programme would also include specific interventions targeted at women and young leaders. "In the second semester of 2019, the SBL will host a seminar for women leaders in the military, offering them tailor-made leadership training."

Since the programme is being launched in Gauteng, it enjoys the full support of the Office of the Gauteng Premier, which is also funding it. Speaking at the launch, Ntombikayise Zulu, Chief Director in the Premier’s Office, said: "We commend all the military veterans that have decided to be part of the programme. I must say that it will be a difficult mission, but you’ll need to be mentally prepared and have a vision of what you want to achieve."

Military veteran General Leonard Rasegatla concluded by highlighting the contribution military veterans have made to the growth of the country. "Military veterans have made a great contribution to get us to where we are today. We have no doubt that they will continue to enhance their knowledge through this programme and make South Africa proud."

* By Cristal Peterson, Deputy Director: Communication and Marketing, SBL

Publish date: 2019/03/07