Bestmed CEO and Principal Officer, Mr Leo Dlamini, presented a donation of R120 000 towards purchasing much-needed laptops for underprivileged students to Prof. Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, on Monday, 28 September 2020 at Bestmed’s head offices in Pretoria.
The Unisa Foundation will use the donation to purchase laptops that will enable students to access digital study material and write exams remotely, ensuring their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 150 000 Unisa students, particularly from underprivileged backgrounds, do not have access to laptops.
Prof. Makhanya stated that though Unisa had previously catered for young students, who joined the university directly after Matric, via its 24 learning centres countrywide, access is no longer possible due to COVID-19. The centres provide Wi-Fi and electronic devices to complete assignments, but students now have to complete assignments at home.
The VC further stated that Unisa is hard at work to raise funds to continue to provide facilities and devices to students. Prof. Makhanya highlighted how the global pandemic has impacted communities. “Even though Unisa has been hard at work since lockdown, we need to begin to think and plan appropriately and to understand developments in the world and how to prepare for challenges of this nature in the future.”
Prof. Makhanya thanked Bestmed for its support. “You may not understand the impact your contribution [will] have on the students who will receive the laptops,” he said. “These are students who will one day qualify to do something in life as a benefit to society and future generations.”
“We see the partnership not as an event but as a long-term commitment. We hope to increase the work with Unisa in different aspects and for the partnership to continue long into the future as we resonate with Unisa in many areas which are to ultimately empower young people and make a difference in people’s lives,” Mr Dlamini responded.