Mbulelo Aven Jafta and Dr Engela van Staden
Mbulelo Aven Jafta, Xhariep Municipality Corporate Services Director, and Dr Engela van Staden, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic at the UFS, sign a memorandum of understanding to enrich various communities in the Xhariep Municipality areas through leadership training.

The University of the Free State (UFS) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Xhariep Municipality that is aimed at positively impacting communities through strategic partnerships. The organisations plan for their collaboration to make a significant difference by training 35 of their employees via the UFS Business School – 15 will undertake the Foundation Skills Short Learning Programme, and 20 the Bachelor’s degree in Management Leadership.

This joint effort will equip these employees with essential skills and knowledge and empower them to carry out their responsibilities efficiently and effectively. Rooted in the UFS’s Vision 130, this initiative fosters positive change within the community by enhancing social justice and innovation.

Dr Engela van Staden, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic at the UFS, emphasised the university's dedication to human resource development and empowering individuals. “We were very excited when we got this engagement with you, and I hope it will be fruitful for you, because that’s the intention. We are also reaching out to other municipalities because we are doing it for our country, and the sooner we do it, the better the services you will deliver to people.” 

Xhariep Municipality expressed gratitude for the collaboration, recognising its significance in empowering its employees. Mbulelo Aven Jafta, Corporate Services Director at the municipality, thanked the university for accepting the partnership. “As a municipality, we are interested in capacitating our employees to perform their duties optimally. It is through these partnerships that we reach our intended targets. This is the first two projects, and many more will be coming as our partnership progresses, and we intend to use this opportunity to the best of our abilities.”

Jafta said that such partnerships encourage a more interconnected and interdependent world. “As organisations work towards common goals, they create a ripple effect that can lead to a brighter and more promising future and play a vital role in shaping a positive and sustainable future.”

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