Foreign students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) have requested a transfer to the Pietermaritzburg campus as they regard it as relatively safe and secure. This is deserved recognition of the hard, dedicated work of a multitude of staff and students over many years to create a university campus that is a credit to the city.
Introducing a lecture four years ago, Vice-Chancellor Malegapuru Makgoba generously complimented the Pietermaritzburg campus. He described it as well run, closely resembling his vision of what a university should be. Students voting with their feet suggest this remains true.
However, the future is uncertain. Historically underfunded relative to Durban, the budgets of local campus departments are now being squeezed further. Building maintenance, grounds and gardens, and safety and security are under real threat, largely the result of loss of local autonomy and an ill-conceived merger. Business, civic and educational leaders should be increasingly concerned.