Alumni Magazine #5_July 2020_single pages web

ISSUE #5 July 2020


UJ goes virtual for 2020 graduations

Reimagining the world after Covid-19

UJ’s medical school starts its journey to fruition

UJ creates open-source, affordable ventilators as

UJs CA candidates achieved 92% pass rate in SAICA 2019 exams

COVID-19 cases rise


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13 UJFM scoops Best

COVID-19 1 Reimagining the world after COVID-19 1 Data and delusion after COVID-19 2 Covid 19 and the Emerging World Order 2 Creating tomorrow: The “Ethics in 4IR” Episode

Station Imaging award in virtual 2020 Radio Awards

4 UJ creates open-source, affordable ventilators as COVID-19 cases rise 5 UJ Centre for Africa-China Studies looks at economic fallout of COVID-19 7 COVID-19 social distancing is tried and tested best practice - UJ mathematicians 8 UJ Library develops 3D printed face shields to fight COVID-19 9 New documentary shows hazards of COVID-19 lockdowns for global poor 11 Prof Saurabh Sinha: Inclusive online education and innovation in COVID-19 period and the Fourth Industrial Revolution era INSIGHTS 15 5G and claims of its danger to human health: Myth, fact or something in between 19 UJ is readying Industry for the Fourth Industrial Revolution 23 Iran-South Africa relations explored in high-powered CACS seminar 24 UJ and Germany step up student mobility cooperation 25 UJ’s medical school starts its journey to fruition THE SCHOOL OF ACCOUNTING 26 With SAICA/UJs 100% online courses, CAs are future proof 29 UJs CA candidates achieve 92% pass rate in SAICA 2019 exams 30 Bonginkosi Kalipa: UJ student’s farming project clinched a top spot at 2019 Student Leadership Summit 31 PGDip student James Chang named ‘one of the finest’ at GradStar SA Awards 33 Ronel Jooste: The courage to put dreams and plans into action 35 Dion Mhlaba: Soaring like an eagle GRADUATIONS 37 Prof Boitumelo Molebogeng Diale: A message from the UJ Convocation President” 37 UJ goes virtual for 2020 graduations 38 Matthew Slabbert: The most exciting challenge is not yet knowing 39 Shene de Rijk: Increasing the Reach of Helpful Mental Healthcare 41 Tayla Zurfluh: Changing the world one foot at a time 43 Dylan Durieux: Applied mathematicians are at the forefront of 4IR and Covid-19 44 John Generalis: Artists and their work are the measures of a healthy democracy 46 Mafor Penn: Embracing changing education in a changing world 48 Ronny Tebeta: A modern scientist looking to change the world 50 Yorgo Yiannakis: Technology changes law 51 Megan Geldenhuys: Nursing’s “Butterfly Effect” 52 Khesa Pitso: Aquatic health for the future sustainability of essential industries

21 Prof Tshilidzi Marwala: SA must have a stake in developing AI technology

32 Mpho Mookapele, SAICA Top 35-Under-35 winner

Sven Botha: Defining my own Limitations 54

Editorial Team

In this edition, you will find some of UJ’s recent success stories, that is why the magazine is called ALUMNI IMPUMELELO, which means success in IsiZulu. Through this publication we take time to celebrate some Illustrious Alumni, Events, Research and graduates. We invite you to follow us on social media and update your contact details on the UJ website. This will allow us to re-connect with you and for you to share in UJ’s journey. This journey includes positioning UJ as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

From left: Mr Lubuto Kalenga, Prof Kinta Burger, Mr Nell Ledwaba, Dr Tinus van Zyl



Reimagining the world after COVID-19

What will the world look like when it emerges from isolation and the consequences of COVID-19? Predicting what will happen post-COVID 19 is difficult, as the pandemic continues to impact on the world economies and other sectors of society, for an unforeseen future. Never before has there been a time such as this, when governments, businesses and NGOs have to readjust their operations as they navigate the disruptions caused by the pandemic. This series of webinars is designed to provide a wide- ranging collective examination of

key aspects of the post-pandemic future: from the impacts on the humanity, the economy, health,

education, the environment, and the future world of work.

Data and delusion after COVID 19

The rise of COVID-19 has seen an increase in overall news consumption. This has created a frenzy for “live figures” among members of the public, with each one of us rigorously checking the latest dashboards, graphs and visualisations. These are filled with updates on the COVID-19 numbers in our towns, municipalities, countries and the world. These were some of the views during the third session of the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) webinar series that reimagines the world after the pandemic. Held on Wednesday, 27 May 2020, the event was held under the theme Reimagining Data and Delusion after COVID, and in particular how humanity have been misunderstanding the data behind COVID-19 and why data literacy is the make or break skill

of our time. The panel of experts included Dr. Shakir Mohamed (Senior Researcher at DeepMind in London, UK); Professor Charis Harley (an academic in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at UJ) and Professor Olaf Dammann, (Vice-Chair of Public Health at Tufts University in

Boston, US). This series of webinars is designed to provide a wide- ranging collective examination of key aspects of the post-pandemic future: from the impacts on the humanity, the economy, health, education, the environment, and the future world of work.



WEBINARS Covid 19 and the Emerging World Order

The recent outbreak of Covid-19 and the global powers’ actions and inactions have ignited debates on the post-Covid-19 world order. While the current world order was already at a crossroads prior to the emergence of the pandemic partly due to the United States’ (USA) retreat from international affairs, “America First” posture, and the rise of the rest (China in particular); USA’s slow response during this global crisis has presented an opportunity for China to fill the leadership gap in the fight against the pandemic. This begs critical questions: Has the pandemic changed the world order? Has the USA global influence further declined? How has Covid-19 changed China’s global position? In light of the pandemic, what is

the future of globalisation? What is the role of the United Nations (UN) in the emerging global order? Will post-Covid-19 mark post-America

world? Will African regional powers such as South Africa and Nigeria play a significant role in post- Covid-19 world order?

Creating Tomorrow: The “Ethics in 4IR” Episode

Video link:

The future rules Ethics for the 4th Industrial Revolution Artificial intelligence, artificial life, deep learning. Social media, and big data, open data, personal data and data mining – all of these are fundamental building blocks for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). They’re exciting. They are powerful, and they are making their presence felt everywhere, which is what makes many fearful – and that’s before we even get to cyber warfare, hypercomputation and social media. And, even more recently, the potential inequities arising from Covid-19.





development of the critical control systems that protect a patient supported by a ventilator. Said Dr Sabatta, “Ventilators are complex medical devices, and it is more intricate than simply squeezing a bag. Our product includes devices such as pressure sensors, flow sensors, and a number of control algorithms. It can, therefore, be set up to perform more advanced ventilation tasks such as Pressure Support Ventilation (PSV) or Synchronous Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation (SIMV). This is a step up in ventilation support, by being able to assist patients further when they are tiring from being on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) systems for extended periods of time.” The UJ Process Energy and Environmental Technology Station (UJ-PEETS) is supporting efforts to identify decommissioned ventilators at public and private hospitals to bring out-of- service equipment back online, focusing their efforts on e-waste reduction in a circular economy to support the medical engineering maintenance programmes at hospitals. “Through our repair and maintenance undertaking, this assignment will build on the principles of circularity and create employment opportunities since there are large amounts of equipment that can be repaired and calibrated for reuse, especially beyond our borders in South Africa,” explained Dr Masebinu. “There is no sector more critical at this moment than healthcare, which is why we are proud to play a role in helping to produce and revamp these critical life-saving devices.” The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the skills shortage in facility and technical equipment maintenance at health care facilities, not only in South Africa but on the continent. The UJ-PEETS team is gearing up

UJ creates open- source, affordable VENTILATORS as COVID-19 cases rise

Video link:

A multidisciplinary team of engineers and healthcare

facilities available to enable PPE manufacturing. Reports in late April indicated that South Africa had less than half the number of ventilators needed to deal with peak infections. Public healthcare system had 1 111 operational ventilators, with 2 105 operational in the private healthcare system. The team, led by UJ’s Dr Deon Sabatta and Dr Samson Masebinu, identified several simple, safe and scalable open-source designs that could meet the strict specifications for use with patients if further developed and tested. By building on open-source designs, the team has developed a minimal viable product with elements that can be produced through 3D printing and laser cutting techniques. These designs will support the

practitioners at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has taken a three-pronged approach towards support for critical care technology development in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which is expected to peak between July and September this year in South Africa. Responding to initial reports that between 40%-70% of South Africans could get infected with Covid-19, depending on the national response to the crisis, the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) has been coordinating efforts to further develop open-source ventilators, support repair and maintenance efforts to bring out-of-warranty

equipment into service, and to make rapid prototyping



to support and upskill SMEs in the clinical technical services sector to deliver on the 500% to 1 000% growth in ventilator production needed globally to prevent unnecessary deaths due to the

shortage. The team at UJ invites industry partners, researchers and practitioners in the clinical technical services sector to join forces to fast track research and prototype development, and

support critical maintenance activities to ensure that the project can be scaled and replicated on the continent.

UJ Centre for Africa-China Studies looks at economic fallout of COVID-19

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effects based on differences between African countries and their relationship with China,” said Ryder. Admassu Tadesse looked at how African governments would respond to the immense economic fallout of Covid-19. “To pick up commodity, trade has to be opened. We currently don’t have stimulus packages coming through, we have to work very hard and see if the commercial world can start breathing.” “Also, increasing liquidity buffers to firms in affected sectors is necessary to continue business and avoid debt default by otherwise sound enterprises. Reducing fixed charges and taxes and credit forbearance would also help to ease the pressure on firms facing an abrupt falloff in demand,” explained Tadesse. “Beyond health, the priority should be people. Options include using universal basic income (UBI) and providing vulnerable households with temporary cash transfers to tide them over the loss of income from work shutdowns and layoffs.” “The G20 should lead a coordinated policy response. In addition, if countries announced coordinated fiscal and monetary support, confidence effects would compound the effect of policies,” Tadesse concluded.

restaurants, and shops closed, COVID-19 has slowed down the demand in China for manufacturing and consumer goods, and as a result, imports of such goods into China from Africa may be disrupted, or prices may need to be reduced. This might, in turn, lead to production cuts and job losses in African countries. “The second type of COVID-19 impact is a ‘supply-side’ shock. Many African (and other) countries import goods that are manufactured in China for use on infrastructure projects, for sales in shops, and much more. With COVID-19, we have seen China slashing its manufacturing, in turn leading to less exports from China to African countries, and/or exports

​COVID-19 has significantly disrupted economies due to

quarantines, restrictions on travel, factory closures and a sharp decline in many service sector activities. Its impact on business in Africa was specifically focused on during a webinar by the Centre for Africa- China Studies (CACS), held on Thursday 16 April 2020. The webinar featured presentations by Hannah Ryder, CEO of Development Re-imagined, a ground-breaking international development consultancy, headquartered in Beijing, China; Admassu Tadesse, President and CEO of the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB); and Prof Saurabh Sinha, UJ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation, who served as the chair of the series. “The outbreak presents a ‘twin- threat’ to economic growth for all countries, but especially in Africa,” said Hannah Ryder. “The first effect is a ‘demand-side’ shock. In simple terms, we all know that several African (and other) economies export goods to China, to be used in factories or sold to Chinese consumers. For instance, Nigeria and Angola export oil to China, and South Africa exports precious metals to China. But with lockdowns and other movement restrictions, as factories,

at higher prices. This affects consumer demand in African

countries and can lead to the kinds of empty shelves that are being seen in Kenya,” said Ryder. Development Re-imagined was hoping that Africa as a region would prove relatively resilient to COVID-19 in both health and economic terms. “But this is not a given, and our initial analysis suggests that effects on poverty may well be exacerbated if governments and development partners only act on the basis of media reports and singular data. Our analysis is just the start of better understanding these



COVID-19 social distancing is tried and tested best practice - UJ mathematicians

played an important role in driving the infection in South Africa, especially in the initial stages of the pandemic. “The prevention of infections around the globe needs special attention due to improved mobility of humans. Particular attention needs to be focused on this group of people beyond the lockdown, to ensure that only COVID-19 negative cases are allowed into the country,” he said. Social distancing had also been required for outbreaks of other diseases, such as the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), he added. “During the Ebola outbreak, educational campaigns, active case-finding and pharmaceutical interventions were among the most successful and efficient controls that helped to slow down the outbreak. As a result, Ebola could be controlled by finding and isolating symptomatic cases. That appears not to be the situation for COVID-19, due to the wide spectrum of symptoms and the evolving scientific investigations with regard to the pandemic.” The results of social distancing may not be seen immediately, he concluded, because of the time lag between transmission and individuals becoming infected and displaying symptoms. However, as his calculation demonstrates, measures implemented now can be expected to have substantial effects on future case numbers.

Considerable uncertainty surrounds COVID-19 – how long it will take before a vaccine is developed, the mortality rate and even how many cases there have been so far. But there is one thing of which we can be sure: social distancing works, according to mathematical modelling experts from UJ. The team, led by UJ’s Prof Farai Nyabadza, an advanced researcher in mathematical epidemiology, includes Dr Faraimunashe Chirove, Dr Maria Visaya and Mr Williams Chukwu. They crunched the numbers and quantified the level of social distancing that can reduce pass-on rates of COVID-19. Their mathematical modelling found that by relaxing social distancing, COVID-19 case numbers could rise to above 4 000 cases by the end of the lockdown. The model found that relaxing social distancing by 2% could result in a 23% rise in the number of cumulative cases; and increasing social distancing levels by 2% would reduce the number of cumulative cases by about 18%. Based on their model, increasing social distancing levels from 55% to 57% (ρ = 0.43), 59% (ρ = 0.41) and 61% (ρ = 0.39) would avert cumulative cases by about 18%, 32% and 53%, respectively, by the end of lockdown. Prof Nyabadza said that individuals migrating into South Africa had



UJ Library Makerspace develops 3D printed face shields to fight COVID-19

and sanitisers from local and international manufacturers. The global demand for these materials has meant there have been significant delays in delivery, sparking fears that deliveries might be too late to save some of the pandemic’s victims. The protective equipment is being distributed for free to healthcare professionals. A piece of polyethylene sheeting is attached to the visor to act as a protective barrier between healthcare workers and patients. The polyethylene can be either sanitised between uses or replaced. At least 15 shields can be produced each day by the Makerspace lab. However, the team has been working on designs solely involving laser cutting that could increase the rate of production to more than 50 per day. “The equipment is in demand right now as we are being forced to come up with improvised solutions to address the lack of traditional equipment and devices. Also,

this material that we are using is hard to find. The frames for the face shields are made by 3D printers and the shields are laser cut from sheets of old and thick transparencies,” Strauss explained. “One of the unforeseen advantages of these face shields is that they are recycling old transparency sheets that would otherwise be adding to our plastic pollution,” he said. The UJ Library Makerspace professionals teamed up with UJ’s Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE), Health Sciences, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers South Africa section, as well as the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF), which offers 3D printing and other creative technologies. Strauss said although the shields are not made to medical standards, they can be printed on demand for use when better alternatives are not yet available.

​The UJ Library Makerspace team at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have joined efforts to curb the spread the COVID-19 pandemic by developing vital protective face shields. The Makerspace team began using 3D printing and laser cutting equipment to produce surgical face shields in an effort to meet the rapidly growing need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. The UJ Makerspace lab, based on the Doornfontein Campus (DFC), can do prototyping and small- batch production very rapidly and inexpensively, and by the middle of May, 10 shields had been distributed to various campus clinics at the University, with another seven destined for Netcare 911, according to UJ’s Makerspace expert Rudie Strauss. This has alleviated the scramble by state suppliers to secure essential equipment such as ventilators, masks, gloves, respirators



New documentary exposes hazards of COVID-19 lockdowns for global poor

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The documentary, researched by director of UJ’s Institute for the Future of Knowledge, Prof Alex Broadbent, in partnership with Tom Gibb, executive director of Picturing Health, producers of public health information films, demonstrates the sobering impact

The problems facing vulnerable communities throughout Africa may be multiplied by lockdowns, as is clearly shown by a documentary titled COVID on the Breadline , which explores the lockdown implications in the developing world.




inequalities are not lost on local people and community workers, as the documentary shows. “In Africa, we have a very low life expectancy within the region, with just 3% of sub-Saharan Africa making it past 65 and thus into the age-range where risk of serious, critical and fatal disease appears to rise dramatically in developed countries,” says Prof Broadbent. “By contrast, 20% of Europeans are over 65, and the median age is 42, compared to just 18 in Africa. If age is a good predictor of risk of serious disease in the African context, then susceptibility may be reduced accordingly. “This film encourages a fuller cost-benefit analysis of lockdown. Not only are the costs higher for developing regions, but the benefits may be lower. The benefit of lockdown must be measured as the reduction of the risk the disease poses to population health,” he says. In Africa, where nearly 90% of employment is in the informal sector, people who eke out an

of severe lockdown measures on disadvantaged communities in the developing world. In the film, individuals from poor backgrounds in South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia, as well as across the globe in Glasgow and Stockholm talk candidly about their livelihoods under the lockdown, a challenge that is especially acute in developing nations with significant populations living hand-to-mouth. A strong point is that by far the biggest risk factor for serious, critical or fatal COVID-19 is age. Of the more than 126 000 COVID-19 deaths recorded at the time of filming, most were among over- 60s in the developed world. By contrast, 5 million children under five die of preventable causes annually, and 800 000 of pneumonia alone. This means that on average, over 1.5m children die of preventable causes each year, without triggering a global response, raising serious questions about the global community’s attitude to life in developing regions. These

income by hawking roadside goods, shining shoes or braiding tourist hair have little way of surviving if they are forced indoors. The Masi Alli family are entirely dependent on a weekly family income of less than R800 from selling hardware. The Nyaude family survives on a weekly benefit of less than R500 from selling bananas. In the documentary, Alli says, “A lockdown is almost impossible in Malawi. Instead what would happen is that the Coronavirus problem can double because people have no alternatives as they will prevent the disease but die of hunger.” Anne Nyaude says she is one of the people living in a rented slum and it’s going to be challenging for her to pay rent. “What are we going to eat? It’s very difficult. I plead with the government to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus by promoting cleanliness and social distancing, and not by lockdown.”




While HEIs certainly have this ability to innovate, the enduring problems of inequality of the broader South African society challenges this desire. Recently, I have been inundated with queries on social media or email from our students or student leaders, and contestation is frequently about the online approach. I will try to contextualise this experience. In response to uncertainty over the duration of the lockdown, fear of an increase in COVID-19 cases and institutional regulations, many students returned home. And with universities now pushing for online teaching and learning, one student from Limpopo posted an image in the description of his home situation: a corrugated iron ‘house’ he shares with his siblings and single mother. While the student is supported by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), he partially co-funds others in his household. The student receives a message from his university, alerting him to

an announcement on the learning management system (LMS). He tries to log in through his mobile phone, but the device does not support the sophisticated interface of the LMS. He reaches a fellow student, who then forwards the circular via WhatsApp. From Johannesburg, another student tweets a screenshot; her online LMS experience is positive; and she is perusing the orientation material offered by the same university. She comments that she finally has a university education that gives her learning flexibility. For internet access, she benefits from the fibre infrastructure of the city. Yet, the experience is different to when both are in Johannesburg and seated in the same classroom, as the setting makes their situation somewhat uniform, and both acquire education from a lecturer. The PSET sector has a deep understanding of this depicted inequality, which some lecturers have experienced first-hand, and many see hope through education. HEIs often quote Nelson Mandela’s

By Saurabh Sinha

With the world gripped by fear and uncertainties over the COVID-19 pandemic, questions are being raised as to whether the post- secondary education and training (PSET) sector will be able to complete the current academic year. As matters stand, universities are scrambling for solutions to salvage

their academic programmes, having extended their Easter recess periods. And with the

pandemic showing no immediate signs of abating, and with no end in sight for the national lockdown, the possibility of the education sector being thrown into further disarray could be looming large. An academic year straddling two years will create numerous problems. It is in this context that within the PSET sector, higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa may be best positioned to innovate and to lead online education as an alternative to contact, face- to-face teaching and learning.



above is largely within the ‘sphere of control’ for many students and PSET providers. While it is important to acknowledge that online education is not a direct ‘replica’ of classroom education, its pedagogical mode continues to develop. For this, further capacitating is necessary. The approach to assessment, virtualisation, and other aspects of academic delivery also requires addressing. This is, however, beyond the scope of this article.

‘Invite via link’, which can be used to invite up to 255 additional students and/or tutors. WhatsApp offers options to ‘secure’ the group and so on. This immediately establishes a mode for interactivity with students and staff. It can get hectic if many students chat simultaneously, but peer assistance will develop organically and a senior tutor (at times an alumnus may also volunteer time) can be incorporated to provide communication assistance. WhatsApp’s web interface http:// could also assist the facilitator. One should keep to text-based content, which consumes less data, or to audio transmission/files (this, however, requires more data). Video content helps, but it is bandwidth intensive and lecturers would need to navigate the interaction together with prescribed course material or compressed files (which can also be done over WhatsApp). Localised websites: If one does not have an LMS, there are open- source options that can be set up locally. A number of education content websites, which are not heavy on data traffic, can be zero-rated by mobile providers. This may be a good way of going about it. Of course, some of these online techniques could also assist the basic education sector. The approach does require a combination with self-discipline and self-directed learning. The guidance of facilitators would be required to account for this stage

Long Walk to Freedom (1995):

“It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” While there is overwhelming desire on the part of PSET providers and students to succeed, there must be recognition that a digital divide exists and there is, more than ever before, the need for an inclusive approach. Aside from the digital connectivity issue, the lockdown period is one of anxiety for many. Within these several scenarios of this contrast, some possible solutions and proposals are worth considering by everybody involved in the PSET education delivery chain. In times like these, I must hasten to say we should not look beyond Leonardo da Vinci’s view that, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Yes, I recognise that HEIs may have a more ‘sophisticated’ approach, but the focus of this article, is the PSET sector more broadly. Firstly, for the PSET provider Mailing lists: Mailing lists can be set up easily. For instance, there is no cost to set up a mailing list using Google Groups http:// There are advantages and students who have slow internet access can download files overnight. Students are then guided through the course material by way of email (easily accessible to students and the facilitator). They could also have a ‘group’ conversation. This approach could be used, to some extent, to emulate the classroom approach. WhatsApp: Students and educators or facilitators are almost always on WhatsApp. Setting up a WhatsApp group is relatively easy, and students can opt to join. Once a group has been set up, the settings give the administrator an option:

Data access and cost: The list of essential services should include data access for those within the PSET sector. It requires government to negotiate with mobile data providers, at the highest level, and make a strategic commitment to zero-rated access to education. Zero-rating means certain websites are designated for the ‘public good’ and those accessing these do not pay. From this commitment, relevant technocrats will develop a meaningful delivery approach. Zero-rating can, however, be costly for the data provider and the PSET sector could initially be limited to text and audio. The costs may require subsidisation (this should, however, be seen as an investment) and/or a tax incentive. Devices: The ideal device for a student is a laptop. It is important, however, to recognise that smartphones, perhaps with a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse, can offer a creative alternative. For example, a Samsung “DeX”

of academic development. Secondly, for the student

Data saving: Data bundles can diminish quickly. To avoid this, use your mobile phone to restrict data access to apps that enable access to education. With higher usage of data, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, there is more competitive pricing, so explore the options and keep network coverage in mind: Rain, MTN, Cell C, Telkom SA, Vodacom and FNB Connect. Some institutions have zero-rating, and this may also affect your choice of mobile provider. The



where innovation, customisation and inclusivity will enable quality education and expand access. To echo President Ramaphosa’s message of Easter Sunday, South Africans are resilient people and we have the technical capability of overcoming challenges through innovation. COVID-19, as negative as it is, allows us to re-think, to re-invent, and in this approach to bring about uniquely South African and African solutions. Prof Saurabh Sinha (registered professional engineer) is Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation, University of Johannesburg. This article also appeared in the Daily Maverick on 22 April males and six females out of eleven. As the competition was conducted online, the SA Radio Awards organisers produced login codes for nominees to participate in the Awards ceremony on its website. Says the station manager Tebatso Maapola, “Since 2017, UJFM has been on an upward trajectory showing competitiveness against its peers within the campus, mainstream commercial and public broadcasting spaces. For instance, UJFM was the most nominated radio station for Liberty Radio Awards in 2017/18, was in the Top 3 campus radio stations in South Africa in 2018/19 and now winning the SA Radio Awards Best Imaged Radio Station in 2019/20 under a combined category of Campus and Community Radio. The station has since changed from a rock music playing station to becoming a content driven platform of engagements to information, education and entertainment.” UJFM broadcasts from its studios at the University’s Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus and on digital platforms such as the University’s website, and various social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PC4IR), this is something that needs to be done. South Africa must develop data sovereignty. Thus, put bluntly: there should be recognition that technical capability does exist in the country and that technical people have the ability to develop such an LMS. Perhaps as a result of this COVID-19 crisis, the PSET sector can be clustered through shared online provisioning. I recognise a number of other short-term demands, such as allowing for student movement or a return to residences (the ‘cities’). As conditions of the COVID-19 lockdown ease, these short-term interventions will help. But the focus of this article is on the online intention and also on a future

provides a larger display. This will require public-private and possibly international partnerships. During this COVID-19 lockdown, as with the tight and excellent monitoring by the Competition Commission and other arms of government, any unfair price escalation or tenderpreneuring should be dealt with decisively! A national LMS: While I fully recognise that some HEIs use internationally based LMS and zero-rating, this is costly for this grouping. We must recognise that South Africa is developing the SKA (the world’s largest antenna project) in the Karoo desert. Developing a localised LMS is quite within its capability and for reasons alluded to in the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on

Ujfm scoops Best Station Imaging award in vir tual 2020 radio awards

Show (presented by Nick Explicit), Campus Day Time Radio Show (The Urban Brunch and The Ego Trip), Campus Station Imaging (UJFM 95.4), Campus Night Show (The Urban Dance Culture), Campus Station of the Year (UJFM 95.4), and the Campus Afternoon Drive Show (The UJFM Drive). The presenters that drive the nominated shows also reflect the country’s gender parity, with five

​South Africa is finding new ways of doing business in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, evidenced by the 2020 Radio Awards, which were held virtually on Friday 17 April 2020, when UJ’s campus radio station, UJFM 95.4, won the Best Station Imaging award in the Campus and Community Combined category. UJFM was nominated in seven categories, including the Breakfast



The future belongs to those who reimagine it. Whether it’s teaching emergency rescue through state-of-the-art simulation, or gathering data to enable remote diagnoses with artificial intelligence (AI), or understanding and addressing societal problems with pinpoint digital tools, UJ’s embrace of the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is making an impact on people’s lives. As a leader in academic thought and research in Africa, UJ has embraced the technology that is shaping our future, not just on our continent, but globally. And we’re doing this in myriad ways – applying it in both teaching and learning, using it to advance not just ideas, but skills, expertise and capacity. People everywhere will be able to see real benefits and a meaningful and positive change in their lives, both as developers and recipients of everything that 4IR has to offer. THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. IT WORKS FOR US.

Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technology. At UJ, we’re reimagining the future, and it’s changing everyone’s lives for the better.

A leader on our continent. UJ. Fourth in South Africa. Fifth in Africa. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.




5G and claims of its danger to human health: myth, fact or something in-between

​Dr Mladen Božanić and Prof Saurabh Sinha penned this opinion article published in the Daily Maverick on 13 April 2020.

for mobile networks, which tend to take most strain because they often host the majority of internet users. It is enough to compare the number of multimedia messages (pictures, videos, YouTube links) we have received on messengers such as WhatsApp or Viber – this is perhaps equivalent to the total number received in 2019! Among these, some of these messages were links to articles and videos that claim 5G networks are harmful to human health, some going even to the extent of claiming that the COVID-19 outbreak is related to the deployment of 5G. We hope that this is not a conspiracy theory that

In the midst of the virus SARS- CoV-2 (COVID-19) outbreak, a third of the world’s population has limited freedom of movement due to the drastic measures enforced to curb the spread of the disease. As a result, many people have turned to technology, and are thus using the internet as a way of working from home, remaining in touch with their friends and family, and even for entertainment. Media have reported that internet traffic is about 25% higher in the countries that are in lockdown than normal. As a consequence, the existing networks are congested, and the lack of bandwidth is evident. This is particularly true




is still using a single cellphone, the amount of radiation exposure remains the same whether one is using 4G or 5G technologies. Thus, the first difference is superficial. The second difference could be more concerning, because the frequency of radiation has changed. 4G used frequencies in the range of 4 GHz, and 5G might use frequencies that are some 20 times higher. At present, the maximum frequency of 5G is about 86 GHz, which falls in the so-called millimetre-wave range (note that some countries, including South Africa, spectrum higher than 6 GHz is not open for use yet by regulatory bodies and as such, it cannot be used at present). So, how different are these frequency ranges? Electromagnetic radiation can be described in terms of travelling

There are, in fact, two main differences. First, to support better coverage and faster wireless data transfers, more base stations are needed, which have more antennas radiating electromagnetic radiation in a small area simultaneously. Second, 5G and/or future network generations will use a wider range of frequencies to deliver the required bandwidth, with maximum frequency shifting from 6 GHz to 86 GHz. For the first difference, it should be noted that the electromagnetic radiation is emitted both from the side of the base station and from the mobile device (e.g. a mobile phone). Over the past 20 years, a myth has emerged that the radiation emitting from the base station is harmful to people living close to the base station. This is exactly that – a myth: although an amount of power emitted at the base station is in orders of magnitude higher than that of the cellphone, the power at any point away from the antenna decreases quadratically with the increase in distance. This means that for every two metres one moves away from the antenna, the signal will decrease four times. At a distance of 10 m from the antenna, the signal is a 100th of the signal that leaves the antenna. Unless the antenna is installed in the person’s living room, the electromagnetic radiation received by the person from the cell is insignificant. The number of antennas and signal paths in the same cell also does not matter – even the combined power will be small. Potentially more harmful is the radiation emitted by the cellphone held by the user close to their faces, when this device actively transmits – during a phone call. The electromagnetic radiation causes heating of the adjacent human tissue. However, the amount of power – heat – the cellphone is allowed to generate is heavily regulated and it remains the same for 4G and 5G. Since, irrespective of the number of base stations in the vicinity, the user

we are dealing with – perhaps people just have more time to ponder about the technology as the only way of connecting to the rest of the world at the moment. 5G is a hot technology topic, as its deployment just about started less than a year ago and there was recently some news about Slovenia, in Europe, stopping the deployment of 5G until the health effects of the network are evaluated. So, what is 5G? Is it harmful? And is it in any way related to COVID-19? To answer the first question: 5G is the latest (fifth) generation of cellular wireless networks, used to access the internet and to stay in communication with others via audio and/or video. The answers to the other two questions are maybe and no. To begin explaining the second answer, one needs to look at history. Cellular telephony was introduced some 40 years ago with 1G. Since then, every 10 years we have adopted a new generation – 2G (1990), 3G (2000) and now the widespread 4G (2010). However, cellular network providers have to rush to stay ahead of user data traffic demand. The number of mobile network users keeps increasing – the COVID-19 outbreak and the 25% increase in traffic can just be a short preview of what will become the norm in a few years – thus, adding capacity to the network is an ongoing effort and, in our opinion, even necessary. Every network since 2G has focused on bringing more bandwidth (amount of data that can be transmitted at a given time) and faster data transfer to the user; this remains the goal of migration from 4G to 5G. What is then the difference between 4G and 5G, which would make people so concerned about the influence of 5G on human health? It has to be a difference that is a concern, because 4G has been around for 10 years, so 4G technology itself is clearly not an issue.

waves, called photons. Each photon has a certain energy,

which increases with frequency. It is thus true that 5G emits waves with higher energies, but these energies are in the region between 0.1 and 1.2meV. These energies are non-ionising, because the photon energy is not sufficient to remove an electron from an atom or a molecule (about 12eV is needed for this). Note that the energy from the sun, including the ultraviolet light, has four orders in magnitude higher frequency than millimetre- waves (400-800 THz), and we are exposed to much more energy from the sun. In comparison to the sun’s radiation, the exposure to millimetre-waves will remain much lower. Gamma and X-rays have energies that are ionising, but their frequency spectrum lies above that of visible light. Again, our main concern could be the heating of the face – to the eyes and the skin – because of the absorption of the energy emitted by the headset. Fortunately, our bodies are reflective and do not absorb much millimetre-wave radiation. Thus, it is clear that short-term effects are not problematic –



is no warrant to this claim. Patrice Motsepe, South African billionaire, had initiated the 5G move already in 2019, ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak. In our opinion, Motsepe’s investment is innovative and through Rain , a new mobile data network provider. We thus believe that 5G is a safe technology and that every person whose movement is limited can make their lives more bearable with the aid of this and related technologies and continue their contribution to the economy. While digital inequality is further highlighted by COVID-19, economic activity, where possible, remains key. Ultimately, it is this economic collective that serves favourably for broader socio-economic stability. Dr Mladen Božanić is senior IC Design Engineer at Azoteq (Pty) Ltd and collaborator to the University of Johannesburg. He writes in his personal capacity. Prof Saurabh Sinha (Electronic Engineer) is Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation, University of Johannesburg .

of viruses is still unknown, they are certainly not generated by electromagnetic radiation. Under rare conditions, the virus has most probably transferred through zoonosis. It remains unclear how the relation between COVID-19 and 5G was made in the first place, but it is likely because China was one of the countries that adopted 5G technology early. One of the cities that adopted 5G early was Wuhan, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, 5G deployment started almost simultaneously in the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. Yes, all of these countries also have an increasing number of COVID-19 cases now, but it took several months for the disease to start spreading, and the initial cases in these countries have been traced to people travelling to or from other outbreak hotspots. And looking back to China – Wuhan was certainly not the only city to deploy 5G – every other major Chinese city is already using 5G and last week China officially declared its epidemic to be over. Thus, it does seem as if a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions may have triggered the unfortunate association – but this is due to an observation made from the surface only – if looked at in detail, there

note that equipment that uses millimetre-wave, other than 5G, has been used for some two decades – the radar in parking distance sensors radiates at 77 GHz. There is a small chance that there could be long-term effects of prolonged millimetre- wave exposure, such as a chance of cancer development (as is the case with any other group of electromagnetic radiation); however, scientific studies conducted to date could not find a close correlation of this. More long-term studies on millimetre-wave cancer association are needed to get an exact answer, but at present it seems unlikely that this exposure will be more harmful than spending a few minutes in the sun or having some processed meat or a glass of wine (both known to cause cancer in humans). This is why the answer to the second question earlier in the text is maybe . Lastly, we need to try to find the relation between COVID-19 and 5G. The answer here is a firm no. SARS-CoV-2 is a virus (a sub microscopic infectious agent), and 5G is an electronics-based technology. There is no way whatsoever that these could be related. Although the origin





UJ is readying Industry for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Industrial Revolution in South Africa. Through our collaboration with companies and industry bodies, we support the knowledge transfer of Fourth Industrial elements to a wide range of sectors.

by industry 4.0. A key success factor during this global shift is the importance of skills and the agility to change. The World Economic Forums’ (WEF) report on The Future of jobs concerning the Fourth Industrial Revolution (2016) , asserts that employees’ skills need constant changing. According to the WEF, “across nearly all industries, the impact of technological and other changes is shortening the shelf-life of employees’ existing skills sets”. “At UJ we want to turn the curriculum around so that students acquire these skills of the future, we must create knowledge and plan ahead for industries that are going to exist but are not yet here.”, says Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal, and the deputy chair of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Thinking about the changes organisations will need to embrace to compete and grow in this everchanging environment, will require its leaders to completely understanding that the potential of 4IR and will require a more innovative, integrated approach to talent development. UJ is currently at the forefront of technology innovation and the Fourth

We are currently living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The advances in artificial intelligence (Al), robotics and automation, nanotechnology, and material sciences are catalysing the revolution and profoundly changing the face of society,

Industry Innovation and Research Chairs

economics and industries. Increased digitisation and

globalisation are shifting business into greater interdependence and interconnection. The advanced technologies of Industry 4.0 can capture and analyse incredible amounts of data that we use to predict trends and disrupt market. The Fourth Industrial Revolution brings about many exciting challenges and opportunities, but at the same time, it brings about the fear and uncertainty for tomorrow. In pursuit of advanced technologies and the opportunities they bring, it is easy for leaders to lose sight of another critical aspect of the organisation, its people. Industry 4.0 is a much about people as technology. All sectors are changing at an alarming speed due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The education sector, finance, mining, manufacturing, automobile, health and practically every industry you can think of, will be influenced

As a driver of industry-related projects, UJ ensures close alignment to the world-of-work and bring about innovation through applied research. UJ can complement and support businesses through an applied 4IR innovation and research chair, that carry the company name, customised to speak to the organisation’s challenges and strategy. We have a host of partnerships with industry, government, national and international organisations. We structure our collaborations with the needs and requirements of our partners in mind, to ensure mutual benefit. A steering committee, consisting of both the business and UJ representatives would govern the Chair and ensure that the research is applicable to your business. Research Chairs usually run for a minimum of three and a maximum of five years.



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