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Santam and Stenden University Partnership to see SA municipalities benefit from job creation and skills transfer initiative

19 April 2018Santam
The students in front from left: Sinethemba Mpehlo, Thabiso Kulati,  Mzimkhulu Juleka, Sizwe Nxayeka, Makhaya Luzipho, Andrew van den Berg, Zine Mzananda and Sinegugu Nthabeni.
At the back from left: Pieter Smit (Practical Training Coordinator), Rene Oosthuizen (Dean: Disaster Management School at Stenden), Linda Budaza (Eastern Cape LGSETA), Khulekani Mkhize (COO: LGSETA),  Tersia Mdunge (Santam CSI Manager), dr Wouter Hensens (Executive Dean Stenden SA), and Theodora Betha (Director Infrastructure Planning and Community Services).

The students in front from left: Sinethemba Mpehlo, Thabiso Kulati, Mzimkhulu Juleka, Sizwe Nxayeka, Makhaya Luzipho, Andrew van den Berg, Zine Mzananda and Sinegugu Nthabeni. At the back from left: Pieter Smit (Practical Training Coordinator), Rene Oosthuizen (Dean: Disaster Management School at Stenden), Linda Budaza (Eastern Cape LGSETA), Khulekani Mkhize (COO: LGSETA), Tersia Mdunge (Santam CSI Manager), dr Wouter Hensens (Executive Dean Stenden SA), and Theodora Betha (Director Infrastructure Planning and Community Services).

The students in front from left: Sinethemba Mpehlo, Thabiso Kulati,  Mzimkhulu Juleka, Sizwe Nxayeka, Makhaya Luzipho, Andrew van den Berg, Zine Mzananda and Sinegugu Nthabeni. Their supervisors from left: Dambile Mbolekwa (DMO: Ndlambe Municipality), Mzukisi Fezi (DMO: Sunday’s River Municipality), Owen Becker (HOC of the DMC of the Buffalo City Metro Municipality), James Mzangwa (DMO of Kouga Municipality), Nomakhaya Duna (DMO of Koukamma Municipality), Zwakele Maseko (HOC of the Ehlanzeni District Municipality), Zanel Dyayiya (Acting HOC of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality) and Nozuko Malumla (DMO of Maluti/Matatiele Municipality).

The students in front from left: Sinethemba Mpehlo, Thabiso Kulati, Mzimkhulu Juleka, Sizwe Nxayeka, Makhaya Luzipho, Andrew van den Berg, Zine Mzananda and Sinegugu Nthabeni. Their supervisors from left: Dambile Mbolekwa (DMO: Ndlambe Municipality), Mzukisi Fezi (DMO: Sunday’s River Municipality), Owen Becker (HOC of the DMC of the Buffalo City Metro Municipality), James Mzangwa (DMO of Kouga Municipality), Nomakhaya Duna (DMO of Koukamma Municipality), Zwakele Maseko (HOC of the Ehlanzeni District Municipality), Zanel Dyayiya (Acting HOC of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality) and Nozuko Malumla (DMO of Maluti/Matatiele Municipality).

South Africa faces an urgent need for disaster management skills as climate change drives more severe and frequent natural disasters. In recovering and responding to catastrophic floods, fires and hail, susceptible municipalities are further challenged by limited resources. Recognising these risks and the need for more disaster management professionals, Santam, South Africa’s largest general insurer and Stenden South Africa – a leading private higher education institution – today announced a partnership to extend a unique programme in Disaster Management to eight vulnerable communities.

Stenden South Africa’s Disaster Management programme is the country’s only undergraduate degree with a real-world learning that includes an internship and a research thesis. Its three-year BBA degree in Disaster Management is coupled with a year of practical experience. As part of the partnership with Santam, Stenden students will be placed in eight municipalities until 30 September 2018 as Disaster Management interns to capacitate existing municipal officials.

The collaboration forms part of the Partnership for Risk and Resilience (P4RR) initiative, a partnership between Santam and local municipalities to build resilient and risk aware communities. P4RR is a partnership with the Department of Cooperative Governance and the South African Local Government Association that works with provincial and district disaster management centres to capacitate local government with fire and flood risk management skills and equipment. Since 2012, Santam has invested more than R5.4 million in helping 24 municipalities to better respond to the risk of fires and floods. The programme has now been expanded to assist a total of 53 local municipalities in 10 districts over the next five years, and impacting the lives of about 5 million South Africans.

“The programme with Stenden South Africa aims to create a pool of well-trained disaster management practitioners in the industry to enhance disaster risk management capabilities at the municipal level,” says John Lomberg, Head: Stakeholder Relations and CSI at Santam. “We expect the students’ contribution to have a lasting impact on these communities, and for them, a first step into the working world.”

The eight recipient municipalities include:

• Sarah Baartman District Municipality - Eastern Cape
• Kouga Local Municaipality - Eastern Cape
• Koukamma Local Municipality - Eastern Cape
• Ndlambe Local Municipality - Eastern Cape
• Blue Crane Local Municipality - Eastern Cape
• Alfred Nzo District Municipality - Eastern Cape
• Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality - Eastern Cape
• Ehlanzeni District Municipality - Mpumalanga

According to Dr Wouter Hensens, Executive Dean at Stenden South Africa: “looking at the local job environment young people need to be encouraged to pursue education opportunities that offer an experiential learning component equipping them with practical skills and real-wold experience. For the eight communities receiving our Disaster Management interns they can be assured that these are top-quality students in a world-class programme.”

“Community education and capacity building in disaster management is vital to mitigate against the economic and social impacts of natural disasters in municipalities across South Africa,” says Mr Khulekani Mkhize, Chief Operations Officer of the Local Government Sector Training Authority (LGSETA).

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