By Ntokozo Nkambule

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Eswatini (UNESWA) Professor Justice Thwala says it is a major relief that their E1.3 billion debt has been written off by His Majesty King Mswati III.

The Vice-Chancellor divulged this during a stakeholders’ engagement session held at the Hilton Garden In Hotel, where the institution officially announced the new CEO of UNESWA Foundation as well as the new Board of Trustees.

Thwala noted that the writing off of the debt will enable them to achieve a number of things as they were unable to meet a number of objectives due to financial constraints.

According to Investopedia, writing off a debt simply means there are no further payments due. Usually, the balance is set at zero on credit reference agency reports and the debt is registered as a default on credit reference agency reports.

The Eswatini Observer reported earlier this year that the Minister of Education and Training Lady Howard-Mabuza noted that the financial challenge was brought by the fact that the University relied on three streams of income: subvention from the government, tuition fees paid by students, and other services such as farm, hostel accommodation fees, sale of stationery, consultancy and training services, to name a few.

She added that unfortunately, these streams of income did not meet the annual budget and payment was not at a rate, which would make it possible for the institution to meet its obligations timely.

Thwala when welcoming the new Board of Trustees of the UNESWA Foundation which is led by Eswatini Bank Managing Director Nozizwe Mulela noted that they come at an opportune time when the debt has been written- off and believes that they can help resuscitate the institution to its former glory days.

“I am happy to announce that you have joined at probably the best possible time, this is because His Majesty’s government has written off the E1.3 billion debt. We believe that with debt written off, we can now focus on improving the infrastructure of the University.”

Professor Thwala added that one of the challenges they have been facing for quite some time is their inability to admit students that qualify due to a shortage of space.

“We are currently unable to admit deserving students because of the lack of lecture theatres, lack of laboratories with working computers. In essence, the University needs to urgently renovate its infrastructure, as it currently looks like a ghost city. We also need to build new hostels where the safety of girl students will be significantly enhanced. This will come with quality surveillance security systems.”

The Vice-Chancellor then congratulated the newly elected Board of Trustees and noted that their paramount role is to give oversight to the strategic direction of the institution and to ensure prudent stewardship of the hard-earned and increasingly scarce financial and in-kind resources availed to the institution. 

“The Board of Trustees which comprises industry leaders, business magnates, philanthropists, and community leaders is s led by the very capable chairperson of the board of trustees, make Nozizwe Mulela, who duals as Managing Director of Eswatini Bank. We are confident that Ms. Mulela and her board are well-equipped and will lead with honour and excellence for the betterment of the University of Eswatini.”

Share With Friends