Thursday l 28 October 2021 l 13:00

UFS Service Awards a celebration of selfless commitment

The University of the Free State (UFS) celebrated the work and achievements of staff members during a Recognition of Service Awards event on Thursday, 28 October 2021.  

Held annually, the Recognition of Service Awards honours and acknowledges staff members for 25 years and more of service to the university through their loyalty, dedication, and hard work. 

Acknowledging the achievements of staff during the celebratory event, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said: “The institution honours 89 current staff members for their impressive and selfless service, and a combined total of 93 staff members retiring this year and in 2020.”

The celebrated staff members have collectively been in service for 30 780 months and have collectively worked an average of 615 600 workdays.

Nelda Venter, Officer in the School of Accountancy, who is retiring after 25 years, believes the “UFS has been a good family”.

She said: “We were about 10 people when I started working half a day as typist responsible for typing the school’s questionnaires; with my departure, I leave a large group of close to 50 colleagues who respect each other, and I will miss the laughter and happiness.”

Prof Petersen highlighted that staff has endured tremendous challenges over the past 18 months because of the national lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic, and he said this year’s awards reflect the “level of commitment towards the university and the level of job satisfaction that the group has experienced”.

Vuyane Khosane, Senior Assistant Officer in the Department of Finance on the Bloemfontein Campus, is such an example of commitment. Starting as a messenger at the UFS in 1980, he used a bicycle to travel between faculties and departments on the campus. 

“Dedication has seen me through the years, as I was later promoted to Supervisor in the Department of Garden Services, a position I held for four years, and later served as a full-time union shop steward,” Khosane said.

Khosane has been with the Department of Finance for 20 years, starting in the year 2000, and received high praise from current and previous managers. 

“Respecting managers, colleagues, and seeing it shown back to me has been the greatest for me in the time I spent in the institution,” said Khosane.

Congratulating staff on the milestone they achieved, Prof Petersen said: “The University of the Free State is what it is today because of your loyalty; your institutional knowledge can never be underestimated, and we could not have achieved what we as an institution have achieved without you.”

 “I hope that while working at the university, you seized the opportunities to advance your personal and professional goals. Our colleagues who are retiring – you have worked hard, and I thank you. You deserve a wonderful break. Enjoy your retirement.”

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