Sibanye-Stillwater and the University of the Witwatersrand have announced a MOU regarding sponsorship of approximately R52 million from Sibanye-Stillwater, to support and enhance the University’s Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment over a ten-year period and to refurbish the bridge that extends over the M1 freeway in Johannesburg and links Wits University’s Braamfontein East Campus with the Braamfontein West Campus.
This ‘corridor’ enables students, guests, and academics to traverse these two campuses freely and safely. Braamfontein Campus West is the site of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, the recipient of the sponsorship. Subsequently the bridge will be renamed the Wits Sibanye-Stillwater Infinity Bridge.
This is a Flagship Centenary Project for the University, which celebrates 100 years of academic excellence in 2022.
This significant investment into higher education will also be allocated to the following four ‘key pillars’ within the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE):
• FEBE Endowment fund
• Scholarships for disadvantaged students
• Support of academic pipeline
• Special projects fund: Investment in the future workforce of engineers and geoscientists
This investment will also assist postgraduate students (researchers and future academic leaders) financially, support faculty projects that are expected to have a positive societal impact and capacitate an educational pipeline to ensure the continuous delivery of excellent education.
Sibanye-Stillwater CEO, Neal Froneman said:
“We are mindful of the business imperative to maintain a strong pipeline of young and diverse talent and the provision of quality tertiary education is a vital requirement if we are to sustain the mining industry and grow the economy.
“The Wits Sibanye-Stillwater Infinity Bridge will be a literal and metaphoric gateway to the future for the students, ensuring safe access to education and for the mining industry in particular, providing a platform for success globally. It reinforces both the legacy of Sibanye-Stillwater and Wits University individually and as a partnership.”
The unveiling and launch of Wits Sibanye-Stillwater Infinity Bridge is planned for October 2022 at the culmination of the Wits Centenary Campaign and its 100th birthday month.
Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits, said:
“For some time now Wits University has walked the research and development path with Sibanye-Stillwater. A natural extension of this relationship is the refurbishment and renaming of the Wits Sibanye-Stillwater Infinity Bridge, which represents a formal investment in the sustainability of Wits and the Faculty. As the bridge has stood for more than 30 years, renewal in every respect is absolutely timely.
“The bridge epitomises the strength of academic and industry partnerships towards mutually beneficial support and service. The Wits Sibanye-Stillwater Infinity Bridge is not only a physical manifestation of our enduring relationship but now ensures strong support for knowledge-generation and high-level skills development as well as ‘infinite’ sustainability of the system that delivers this.”
This sponsorship is in addition to the long-standing partnership between Sibanye-Stillwater and Wits University, which has, since 2014 enabled learners from different backgrounds to pursue careers in mining, engineering, finance, human resources and STEM fields. STEM refers to a learning approach that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The additional support for learning and development aligns with the intent of Sibanye-Stillwater’s Women in Mining (WiM) Initiative. The WiM initiative aims to enhance the representation and development of women at all levels in our organisation to reach 30% of females in our workforce by the year 2025.