The Durban University of Technology (DUT) executive management committee (EMC) and the executive committee of senate (SENEX) have endorsed a proposal to establish a special DUT coronavirus (Covid-19) Solidarity Fund: Committed, Compassionate. 

Members of the committees, constituting the five top levels of management, will make contributions from their monthly salaries, the DUT said in a statement.

To kickstart the DUT Covid-19 Solidarity fund, members of this group would contribute, as a collective, a minimum amount of R282,619 per month for the next three months. Given that this was just a minimum, some of the members in this category and in other categories would  contribute more, depending on their personal and family circumstances.

Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

“Given the minimum, we estimate that this group of staff members will contribute close to R1 million over the next three months,” the DUT said.

The fund would provide relief for members of the DUT community, especially students who were most vulnerable and had been negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Commitment and compassion are two of the DUT values and principles that the DUT Covid-19 Solidarity Fund is aimed at demonstrating. In line with the President’s Solidarity Fund, its aim is to provide care and support to the most vulnerable in the DUT community.”

The fund would be administered by the advancement and alumni relations department. As stated, it would be used for care and support programmes, two of the aims specified in the national Covid-19 Solidarity Fund, the DUT statement said.

DUT would also set aside funds towards the other two aims of the national Covid-19 Solidarity Funds – prevention and detection,  So far, the university had allocated R4.5 million towards these two aims. Prevention and detection programmes would be particularly important to assure safety and health when the lockdown ended and DUT staff and students eventually returned to the university.

Picture: IANS

“Management urges other members of staff, students, alumni, external partners, service providers, and friends of DUT to make their financial contributions, of whatever amounts, towards the DUT Covid-19 Solidarity Fund. In a small way, this institutional initiative demonstrates our collective commitment and compassion as we seek to care [for] and support those in our midst whose lives will be disrupted considerably by Covid-19.

“Our chief financial officer Mrs Nthanyiseni Dhumazi and our senior director: human resources Dr Vuyo Mthethwa will be working closely with Professor Sibusiso Moyo, deputy vice chancellor: research, innovation, and engagement, to ensure that the DUT Covid-19 Solidarity Fund is in place before the end of the national lockdown on 30 April 2020,” the DUT statement said.