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WSU bestows academic honour upon Mthatha businessman

May 2, 2018
WSU bestows academic honour upon Mthatha businessman

Mthatha businessman and property mogul Sisa Ngebulana has encouraged students to always, in spite of negativity and scepticism, remain steadfast and resolute in pursuance of their dreams and aspirations.

In an impassioned address to a partisan crowd of over 2000 students and their friends, families and University staff, Ngebulana, CEO of Billion Group, a property development company, characterized education as a powerful tool that can help one unlock the power within to change the world and influence people.

“In so many ways, your graduation marks the beginning of something new, and just as this honorary doctorate celebrates my past contribution to the business and real estate sector – it marks and important milestone as I will be breaking ground on about three new malls in the country,” said a visibly excited Ngebulana.

Over and above being an admitted attorney of the High Court, Ngebulana is a qualified estate agent and has been in the real estate sector since 1991, wherein he started his career in KwaZulu-Natal selling house before moving to Cape Town where he worked for an agency specializing in commercial property.

“So I have had the best of both worlds in real estate – residential and commercial property,” he said.

WSU Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Rob Midgley, was especially proud of the graduands in light of the many challenges they face, including unpleasant accommodation conditions and increasing levels of violence and intolerance.

He described WSU as an unapologetic repository of rural academic talent, proud to service rural, poor and working class communities.

“Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, who recently launched his book at the University, provides a vivid example.  Ngukaitobi, one of the sharpest young legal minds in the country, is a prominent and influential alumus of this august institution. At his recent book launch, he told a touching story about how he got his first qualification.”

“He was raised by his mother who was a domestic worker.  He excelled at school and secured admission at the University of Transkei, now WSU.  Because of financial challenges he could not register at the University of Natal but because of our low fees, we provided him the opportunity get a university qualification.  This is what I mean when I say WSU is a gateway institution that opens the doors of learning to young people who would otherwise not have an opportunity,” said Midgley.

He highlighted the University’s infrastructure maintenance backlog, which sits at over R850 million, and unpaid fees of over R800 million, as one of the biggest challenges the University is currently facing.

He said there was a clear and direct correlation between the scourge of unpaid fees and the University’s ability to deliver satisfactory services across the University.

“For the sake of WSU’s future, we need financial stability and we need past and present students to pay their debts so that we can embark on further major renovations on existing residences and lecture halls,” he concluded.

Ngebulana was conferred with a Doctor of Commerce degree (Honoris Causa) for his immeasurable contribution in the advancement of commerce and economic improvement of the country, with a particular focus on the poor and the rural contexts.

“These initiatives have contributed immensely to the advancement of our country’s foundational values of enhancing human dignity, equality and transformation of society that are compatible with WSU’s vision and mission,” said Dean for the Faculty of Commerce and Administration. 

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