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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Census 2011 overshadowed by vuvuzela announcements
2012-11-20

Mike Schüssler, economist
Photo: Hannes Pieterse
15 November 2012

Census 2011 contains good statistics but these are overshadowed by vuvuzela announcements and a selective approach, economist Mike Schüssler said at a presentation at the UFS.

“Why highlight one inequality and not another success factor? Is Government that negative about itself?” Mr Schüssler, owner of Economist.co.za, asked.

“Why is all the good news such as home ownership, water, lights, cars, cellphones, etc. put on the back burner? For example, we have more rooms than people in our primary residence. Data shows that a third of Africans have a second home. Why are some statistics that are racially based not made available, e.g. orphans? So are “bad” statistics not always presented?”

He highlighted statistics that did not get the necessary attention in the media. One such statistic is that black South Africans earn 46% of all income compared to 39% of whites. The census also showed that black South Africans fully own nearly ten times the amount of houses that whites do. Another statistic is that black South Africans are the only population group to have a younger median age. “This is against worldwide trends and in all likelihood has to do with AIDS. It is killing black South Africans more than other race groups.”

Mr Schüssler also gave insight into education. He said education does count when earnings are taken into account. “I could easily say that the average degree earns nearly five times more than a matric and the average matric earns twice the pay of a grade 11.”

He also mentioned that people lie in surveys. On the expenditure side he said, “People apparently do not admit that they gamble or drink or smoke when asked. They also do not eat out but when looking at industry and sector sales, this is exposed and the CPI is, for example, reweighted. They forget their food expenditure and brag about their cars. They seemingly spend massively on houses but little on maintenance. They spend more than they earn.”

“On income, the lie is that people forget or do not know the difference between gross and net salaries. People forget garnishee orders, loan repayments and certainly do not have an idea what companies pay on their behalf to pensions and medical aid. People want to keep getting social grants so they are more motivated to forget income. People are scared of taxes too so they lower income when asked. They spend more than they earn in many categories.”

On household assets Mr Schüssler said South Africans are asset rich but income poor. Over 8,3 million black African families stay in brick or concrete houses out of a total of 11,2 million total. About 4,9 million black families own their own home fully while only 502 000 whites do (fully paid off or nearly ten times more black families own their own homes fully). Just over 880 000 black South Africans are paying off their homes while 518 000 white families are.

Other interesting statistics are that 13,2 million people work, 22,5 million have bank accounts, 19,6 million have credit records. Thirty percent of households have cars, 90% of households have cellphones and 80% of households have TVs.
 

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