From chancellor to varsity envoy

POLITICIAN and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa has been appointed special ambassador to the University of Venda.

Ramaphosa, who spent 10 years as chancellor of the university, ended his two terms by addressing a spring graduation and by touring the campus on Friday.

Vice-chancellor and principal Professor Peter Mbati said the university still needed Ramaphosa although he had completed his two terms.

"It is of huge significance for us that Ramaphosa accepted to be our ambassador. He will continue to help us leverage resources from local and international donors to boost our institution," said Mbati

Ramaphosa pledged to fund agricultural research to help boost rural development.

Mbati said the university would submit a business plan on the research for Ramaphosa to fund.

Ramaphosa said his passion was to see rural-based universities help boost agriculture.

He said tough times awaited the graduates because of the economic meltdown.

"It is a tough time but don't be discouraged. It will be over and you will be employed," Ramaphosa told the graduates."

He added: "To be asked to become an ambassador is a great honour and I am going to help raise funds for this university."

Ramaphosa said the R1billion capital campaign, which he launched in 2007, would gain momentum as he would now get deeply involved in in the campaign.

But Mbati said R2billion was needed to effectively transform the university.