Construction of Mpumalanga University progressing well

Pretoria - Construction at the University of Mpumalanga (UMP) is well underway with enrolment at the university set to increase to 1 550 students in 2017, said the Department of Higher Education and Training.

This as Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana visited the university on Monday.

In February 2014, the university opened its doors in existing buildings, some of which have been extensively refurbished, with an initial enrolment of 169 learners.

“The next phase of infrastructure development, which will begin towards the end of this year, will enable enrolments at UMP to increase to 1 550 students (500 at Siyabuswa and 1 050 at Mbombela) in the 2017 academic year,” said the department.

During the visit, the Deputy Minister was also informed that the UMP has a full Council and permanent Vice-Chancellor.

In 2014, the first undergraduate students of UMP enrolled in three qualifications, a Diploma in Hospitality Management; a Bachelor of Agriculture in Agricultural Extension and Rural Resource Development; and a Bachelor of Education in Foundation Phase Teaching.

Among other highlights that the university has seen is that this year UMP launched a new qualification, the Diploma in Information Communication Technology, in Applications Development, and enrolled its first students into the Diploma in Agriculture in Plant Production that had previously been offered by the Lowveld College of Agriculture.

In 2015, UMP enrolled 864 students across its campuses in Mbombela and Siyabuswa.

In addition from October 2014, the first phase of the major new construction started. Three new multi-storey buildings are currently under construction, and will be ready for occupation early in 2016. “These new buildings, will enable an enrolment of 1 160 at UMP in the 2016 academic year,” said the department.

At Mbombela, the facilities currently under construction include three buildings which will be ready for use in January 2016: students’ residence building to accommodate 240 students, including common amenities and study spaces; as well as a multi-purpose building with a large raked auditorium (250 seater), among others.

At the Siyabuswa campus, the developments include extensive renovation undertaken in 2013 and 2014 of existing teaching facilities, six student residence buildings, a student centre and a canteen and games room among others.

At UMP Mbombela Campus, the second phase of new buildings will include the: executive offices building at the entrance to the main campus with meeting rooms and university council chamber; a library and student resource centre.

Construction Development Targets

The Construction Development Targets (CDT) was established to impart skills and enable access to the workplace by creating jobs and ensuring that local suppliers, labour and subcontractors benefit from this construction project.

As part of the CDT, the contractors have employed young professionals and students to work on the project. This process affords the opportunity for the students and professionals to gain work exposure.

The department has provided a total of R1.32 billion in the 2015/16 financial year to finance the current construction underway at both universities for the 2016 and 2017 academic expansion.

A further R1.05 billion will be made available in the 2016/17 financial year and R1.1 billion in the 2017/18 financial year to fund phase three of the planned new building and infrastructure development.

“It’s all systems go. I am impressed with the progress made so far. We applaud all the role-players that have made it possible for the project to be delivered as planned with minimal glitches,” said the Deputy Minister.