Long-Serving Staff Commended for Commitment and Hard Work

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Long-Serving Staff Commended for Commitment and Hard Work

Long-Serving Staff Commended for Commitment and Hard Work

Each year, the University of Zululand (UNIZULU), through its Human Resources Division, sets aside a special day wherein it pays homage to staff who have been of service to the institution for many years.

The 2023 Long Service Awards ceremony was held on Friday, 8 December at the King Bhekuzulu Hall, where an ambiance of cheerfulness was evident. The event marked a significant moment in the University calendar where the dedication, commitment and loyalty of a total of 76 staff members were celebrated. Among the awardees this year was Professor Xoliswa Mtose, UNIZULU Vice-Chancellor and Principal, who reached a 10-year milestone in 2023. The honourable leader, who is currently on an international business trip, received a standing ovation from all the attendees, in acknowledgement of her strengths and stewardship of the institution.

Breaking down the total number of awardees by the categories they fell into, Raynolds Ngcobo, Executive Director: Human Resources said 18 staff were celebrating 10 years of service, 18 celebrating 15 years of service, 13 celebrating 20 years of service, while 4 were celebrating 25 years of service, and 20 celebrating 30 years of service. An additional 2 people were celebrating 35 years of service, with one more individual celebrating a remarkable 40 years of service.

“As we look around, we see familiar faces. But they are more than colleagues; they are valued members of the institution’s extended family, each one telling a story of resilience, hard work and an enduring spirit that has contributed nicely into the success and growth of this institution,” Ngcobo said.

Continuing, he lauded the recipients for their ability to weather challenges that came with holding their portfolios and embrace the changes that were often introduced in the University as the changes in management occurred.  

The recipients’ flexibility to change was also admired by Professor Prince Jaca, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Institutional Support, while sharing his words of encouragement to the guests of honour.

He said, “The University has undergone many strategic periods in its last 40 years. These changes, we know, affected employees – some even persuaded others to pursue different careers. The colleagues who received their certificates today are therefore acknowledged for sticking around. You are commended for your hard work. You are commended for contributing to the University’s goals throughout all our strategic periods.”

Professor Jaca also noted with appreciation that the awardees’ years of service were indicative of their sense of belonging to the institution. He closed his address by conveying a message from Prof Mtose, who urged the recipients to continue to serve the University as they had previously done.

After receiving their certificates and tokens of appreciation, Zakhele Gumede, Deputy Registrar ascended to the podium to speak on behalf of all the exuberant recipients. He said being acknowledged in this manner showed just how much UNIZULU appreciated its employees.

“We feel honoured, we are excited, and we feel recognised,” he expressed.

He admitted that there have been moments of fear, confusion and doubts while working for the University, yet these were circumvented through the unwavering support and great leadership of the superiors they report to. He also stressed that the fact that the institution had managed to retain a staff member for 40 years was telling of its conducive work environment.

The event concluded with a scrumptious lunch and photoshoots to mark the special occasion.

  • Naledi Hlefane