The University of the Witwatersrand announced today that it is the recipient of a R100 million donation. The individual donor who is a long-time supporter of the University has chosen to remain anonymous. The sum of R10 million has been earmarked for the Wits Arts Museum, and the remaining R90 million is to be deployed for the advancement of research and/or teaching as determined by the university.
“It is a great honour for Wits to receive funding of this magnitude from a South African who has seen it fit to invest in Wits, and in higher education, a sector that develops the future leaders of our country. We are sincerely grateful for this support, which will go a long way towards advancing the academic project and higher education in general,” says Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University. “We are still working out the specific details of how the funds will be expended but we are always in need of funds to attract and retain talented academics and students, and to support the research and teaching activities.”
Universities around the country need more funding if they are to respond to national imperatives and remain globally competitive. Universities obtain their funding via three income streams – state subsidy, student fees and third stream income. However, given the current realities, higher education institutions, and particularly research-intensive universities, are increasingly looking towards third stream income in order to run top-notch universities.
“It is not often that universities in South Africa receive funding of this magnitude from sole philanthropists, as the majority of our external funding is sourced from corporates and state funding agencies locally, and international trusts and foundations,” adds Habib. “A distinguishing feature of this donation is also that it is unrestricted. The university leadership has been granted the autonomy to deploy this donation as it deems best to enhance teaching and research at Wits. Such donations are rare and is to be particularly applauded. These donations are important for Wits to remain at the cutting edge of teaching, research and service excellence, especially at a time when public funding for higher education is stagnant.”
The Wits Group has an annual turnover of about R4 billion.
“I believe that Wits is an active social leader that seeks to advance the public good. An investment in Wits and in our universities today is an investment in our youth, and the future of our country,” concludes Habib.
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