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National General Council 2005: Welcoming address by Prof Calie Pistorius, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria

30 June 2005


Your excellency President Mbeki, party officials, delegates, ladies and gentlemen

It is my privilege to welcome you and the ANC National General Council on the campus of the University of Pretoria. Here at the University of Pretoria, we have come to attach a special meaning to the word "welcome" -we want you to be welcome in all senses of the word. In an academic sense, a physical sense, a social sense and a cultural sense. Ladies and gentlemen, you are all very welcome here at the University of Pretoria.

I think it is significant that the National General Council is taking place so short after the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Freedom Charter. The anniversary celebrations of the Freedom Charter served to renew our inspiration, as I am sure they will also inspire the decisions that you make here during the next couple of days. As you will be guided by the ideals of the Freedom Charter, so will the policies that will be developed here guide the country to a great future.

The University of Pretoria shares with you the vision of providing an increasing quality of life for all South Africans. The University places a high premium on quality. This is manifested not only in our strive for academic excellence, a high quality of student life and service quality, but also in our recognition that the University is, in a sense, the trustees of a quality future. Whereas our current leaders must lead us now, the future lies in the hands of our leaders of tomorrow. Many of the students who are on our campuses today, will become those leaders of the future. The University strives to contribute proactively towards helping to create and shape a quality future in our country.

The University of Pretoria is also committed on its path of transformation. It is a multilingual university, teaching in English and Afrikaans, with a diverse student population. This year we shall have more than 40 000 students on our six academic campuses. Of these more than 16 000 are black students. The University of Pretoria is one of the largest black universities in the country, one of the largest English universities in the country, and also the largest Afrikaans university in the country. All at the same time! The University of Pretoria produces more accredited research outputs than any other tertiary educational institution in the country. We confer more than 9000 qualifications on students annually. About one third of these are conferred on black students. The University of Pretoria is one of the largest and most significant producers of intellectual capital in the country; it is realizing its vision of becoming not only a premier and flagship university in the country, but also being an intellectual home for the rich diversity of South African academic talent. This is national university, a truly South African university where all South Africans are welcome.

Ke lethabo le legolo go nna go le amogela mo yunibesithing ya Pretoria. Yunibesithi ya Pretoria ke legae la dithuto la phatlalatso ya bokgoni bja Afrika Borwa. Ke yunibesithi ya setshaba mo go amogelwago badudi ka moka ba Afrika Borwa. Re na le maikemisetso a go ba yunibesithi ya pele, ya maemo a godimo mo lefaseng - sesupo sa kholofelo le tshepo tsa setshaba, kagisano le boikgantsho.

Ke sa ithuta Sesotho! Ke tlo tswela pele ka Seisemane ...

In addition to the obvious values that are synonymous with academic excellence, it is important to acknowledge the prominence of values such as human dignity, diversity, tolerance and non-alienation that must permeate all aspects of university life. We pursue local relevance and international competitiveness, and understand that they are two sides of the same coin.

The University of Pretoria strives to a symbol of national aspiration and hope, reconciliation and pride, and it is a university that is committed to discharging its social responsibilities. An integral part of the University of Pretoria's vision is to acknowledge the prominent role that it must play in the rest of the African continent.

These and other facts about the University of Pretoria are stories worth being told. We can no longer be "the best kept secret in town". It is worth telling that the University is contributing to the welfare of our nation and that of our neighbours in many fields including, engineering, science, agriculture, law, education, medicine and dentistry, economics and commerce and veterinary science to name but a few.

In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for coming to the University of Pretoria. You are most welcome here. Whilst you are here, please take the opportunity to get to know the University of Pretoria and what it has to offer.

I would also like to urge to please encourage your children and other people in your communities to consider the University of Pretoria when they are selecting a university to further their studies. During the last decade we have taken significant steps to increase accessibility and have made great strides in our transformation journey. As I mentioned, this University strives to be the home for the rich diversity of South African academic talent - or as we call our students: The Innovation Generation. We look forward to welcoming your children and those that come from your communities, to come to the University of Pretoria to come and invest in their and all of our futures here.

Meneer die President, dames en here u is baie welkom hier op die Tukkie kampus en ek hoop dat u die tyd hier by ons baie produktief gaan vind en geniet.

Mister President, ladies and gentlemen I wish you well with your deliberations, and hope that you have a very enjoyable stay here at the University of Pretoria. You are most welcome.

I thank you.