First to launch virtual service consultations

In this digital age, we all appreciate easy-to-use digital services which we can access from the safety of our home. We have therefore transformed face-to-face consultations and are proud to be the first in the industry to offer virtual consultations for members.

All student members need is a device that connects to the internet. After booking the appointment on our website under Contact Us, they can link to the service consultant at the time of the appointment. The consultant will verify their personal details and assist them with their query.

First to open multiple COVID-19 vaccination sites

As the country continues to roll out the nationwide vaccination phases, we’re proud to share that Momentum wasthe first insurer to open multiple COVID-19 vaccination sites – in Cape Town, Centurion, Durban and Sandton – to assist Government in providing access to the vaccine to more South Africans.

When will members be eligible for a vaccine?

Government’s target is to vaccinate 67% of the population by the end of 2021, to achieve population immunity. Healthcare workers and persons over 60 years are being vaccinated in Phases 1 and 2, and the majority of the population will be in line for their vaccine during Phase 3. It is crucial that we all support each other patiently and continue practising safety measures while awaiting our turn.

COVID-19 self-help WhatsApp chatbot

Momentum Medical Scheme recently launched an automated WhatsApp chatbot, which members can use to quickly and easily obtain pre-authorisation for COVID-19 pathology tests. Students access the service by adding +27860117859 as a contact and starting a conversation through the WhatsApp chat facility by typing “Hi”.

Members can get the latest COVID-19 related updates here and learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine myths and facts by watching our educational videos here.

Not wearing a mask or not disclosing your positive COVID-19 status is a crime

COVID-19 has changed our lives. However, many people continue risking their lives, and the lives of others, by neglecting practical COVID-19 regulations set by the government. Well, the bad news is that they could end up with a criminal record for not wearing a mask or adhering to other lockdown restrictions or even harsh fines of R 1 500 or imprisonment.

To learn more about different masks and how to wear yours correctly, click here.

Hello Doctor available to members 24/7

With the winter season here and everyone trying their best to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, what could be better than having medical experts in the palm of your hand whenever you need medical advice?

Members can text or call from anywhere using a cellphone to access Hello Doctor+, a free service available to all Momentum Medical Scheme members.

+Hello Doctor is an additional product available from Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Limited (Momentum). Momentum is not a medical scheme and is a separate entity to Momentum Medical Scheme.

Stay in touch

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In a relatively rare occurrence, three African-born women have together published breakthrough research in the field of space physics.

A study by Dr Judy Stephenson, Dr Zama Katamzi-Joseph and Ms Tsige Atilaw titled: Multitaper Analysis of an MSTID Event Above Antarctica on 17 March, 2013, has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Polar Science.

Their research is focused on the analysis of an Medium-Scale Travelling Ionospheric Disturbance (MSTID) event they observed simultaneously from both SANAE and Halley SuperDARN radars located in Antarctica. Their analysis employed a multiple windowing method, also known as the Multitapering method, which is a sophisticated spectral technique. Their publication includes the first estimation of energy dissipation by Joule heating due to an MSTID event.

Stephenson, who was born in Malawi, holds a PhD in Atmospheric/Solar Physics from UKZN. She is currently a full time research associate and data manager for the South African SuperDARN radar at UKZN where she supervises postgraduate students and is also a Magnetospheric Physics lecturer.

South African Katamzi-Joseph, who holds a PhD in Ionospheric Physics from Bath University in the United Kingdom, is currently a researcher at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) as well as a research associate at Rhodes University and a lecturer in Ionospheric Physics at UKZN.

Atilaw, who was born in Ethiopia, is currently pursuing her PhD in Magnetospheric Physics through Rhodes University.

Stephenson and her co-authors used the SuperDARN radars at SANAE and Halley base to observe a Travelling Ionospheric Disturbances (TID) event for their research.  SuperDARN is an acronym for a network of radars which form one of the most important international experiments in space physics. These radars receive returns from within the ionosphere, the layer of the earth’s atmosphere which contains a high concentration of ions and free electrons and is able to reflect radio waves. In the polar regions, the ionosphere acts like a screen onto which space weather phenomena are projected. This is due to the unique configuration of the Earth’s magnetic field in these locations. When the data from the 35 or so SuperDARN radars are combined, space weather maps over both north and south polar regions can be created. Furthermore, each individual radar can also observe smaller scale phenomena, such as TIDs, which are wave-like structures of electron density enhancements – basically ripples in the ionosphere caused by some disturbance.

The data the researchers collected from the radars is of sufficient quality both in time and space as it allowed them to calculate quite accurately the wavelength and velocity of the TID. By using sophisticated spectral analysis of the radar data combined with neutral wind models, they were able to make an estimate of the energy dissipated by the TID as the TID wave ‘broke’ in the ionosphere. It was estimated to have an upper limit of 55 kW, which is more or less the energy required to boil a kettle 20 times. This is the first published estimate that the researchers know of and makes TIDs a significant energy transporter.

‘The disturbance, or source, of the TID can be external to the earth’s atmospheric layers as is the case when an active Sun induces currents in the ionosphere,’ said Stephenson. ‘The heating input by these currents can cause an instability to be set up, in this case, a TID. Or, the source may come from below the ionosphere, in the form of atmospheric gravity waves which are set up by winds passing over obstacles such as mountain ranges or sudden heating in the neutral atmosphere from the onset of solar radiation. This energy estimation implies that TIDs are a key component in understanding and assessing the global climate as TIDs play a critical role in atmospheric dynamics. In particular, they significantly affect global circulation through their ability to transport and redistribute energy and momentum vertically through the different layers of the atmosphere and horizontally across the globe.’

Stephenson said in addition it was well known that TIDs also posed a potential problem for the world, in high, and ultra-high, frequency band communication. ‘More so they can have a negative impact on communication with satellites. The distortion of the signal can cause satellite communication problems and GPS positioning errors.

‘The study of TIDS has a twofold relevance within the space physics field due to the fact that they affect the accuracy of the navigation and communication systems that depend on the ionosphere for propagation and due to their role in global energy distribution.’

The co-authors noted that a better understanding of the ionosphere, such as irregular change in the electron density caused by TIDs, would lead to better ionospheric model predictions, which in turn help to minimise ionospheric errors in communication and accuracy in global energy budgets.

Source: Nicole Chidzawo

Electronic Engineering lecturer at UKZN Professor Viranjay M Srivastava is highly ranked among the top 500 researchers in Africa, according to the Scopus listing.

Srivastava is placed at 23 in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering category and at 194 in all subjects.

The Scopus rankings are based on scholarly output between 2015 and 2020.

Srivastava, who is a discipline leader and module coordinator, has a doctorate in Electronics and Communication Engineering as well as 17 years of teaching and research experience with undergraduate and postgraduate engineering students at various national and international universities.

Srivastava says his high ranking is due largely to his research group members who include nine postdoctorate fellows as well as 13 doctorate, 13 masters, and 23 undergraduate honours students in the field of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, who are all involved in the design of switches and their application in communication systems.

Said Srivastava: ‘Our research has produced more than 270 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, presentations at conferences, books, book chapters and patents.’

His overall position of 194 on the list is, he says, largely due to the research work he did with his team on COVID-19 where they recognised an increasing demand for high data throughput and connectivity from higher education institutions as well as a need for reliable and secure networks. This led them to propose a model they created that can possibly solve these issues and be deployed on the Software-Defined Network (SDN).

He said another research venture that led to the achievement was their proposed solution to the problem of weak-signaling in mobile handset devices during travel in vehicles. Their solution was the use of a small dense-cell (micro-cells and maro-cells) so that users get signal continuously. In addition to the above, they also did various other interdisciplinary research work with researchers around the world.

For recognition as the 23rd ranked African researcher in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Srivastava  identified all the research work he and his team have done related to Electrical and Electronic Engineering. One such project was their design of a novel metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) device, which is usually used to switch or amplify voltages in circuits, but is suitable for mobile devices. This designed device is a cylindrical structure compared to the traditional rectangular device, hence the name Cylindrical Surrounding Double-Gate (CSDG) MOSFET. It has less contact area with the board than the other MOSFETs, and due to the circular source and drain, the gate contact with the source and drain is on a large circular region, which avoids gate misalignment. Due to its cylindrical structure, it generates less heat compared to other MOSFETs.

He and his research group have a continued focus on the CSDG MOSFET device as they plan to manufacture it and eventually patent it, however he has also extended his research as well as his research group by widening his research area in the communication field of antenna design and quantum analysis.

Asked about his high ranking, Srivastava  said it was confirmation for himself and his research group members that the research work they did at UKZN was of an international standard and had given them the confidence to continue in their innovative research pursuits.

Words: Nicole Chidzawo

Photograph: Supplied

Caption: Professor Viranjay M Srivastava.

The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) has released its 2021-22 Global 2000 List. The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) features as one of the top 2.5% universities out of 19,788 worldwide. This puts UKZN in fourth place in South Africa and Africa.

The Center for World University Rankings – which publishes the largest academic rankings of global universities – is a leading consulting organisation providing policy advice, strategic insights, and consulting services to governments and universities to improve educational and research outcomes. CWUR publishes authoritative global university rankings, known for objectivity, transparency, and consistency, which are trusted by students, academics, university administrators, and governments from around the world.

The rankings are unique in that:

* Objective indicators are used for all four key pillars underlying the methodology of the ranking (quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, and research performance) with no reliance on surveys and university data submissions;

* Equal emphasis is put on the learning environment and research; and
* 19,788 universities are ranked according to their academic performance.

Professor Mosa Moshabela, DVC: Research (Acting) welcomed the latest CWUR which he said “as usual” confirm the University’s continued position as a leading research-intensive University in Africa and the world. “Whilst there are many other attributes that characterise UKZN as a top University in Africa, and yet not considered by the CWUR, it is always a pleasure to see how we perform as an institution relative to our peers nationally and globally. It is in this light that we view the latest CWUR, and appreciate that we remain among the top Universities in South Africa, Africa and the world. We shall endeavour to keep striving for excellence, increased growth and greater impact of this University as we journey together in the 21st Century,” he said, adding that UKZN could not have achieved this latest feat without the immense and tireless contribution from its academics and students who drive the institution’s research outputs, as well as the resulting scientific and societal impact. “The alumni community of UKZN plays a major role in influencing the standing of the University nationally and internationally, and we are very grateful for their continued support long after they have left the institution. May all who support and remain part of UKZN continue to do as such so as that we can ensure the success and sustainability of this University,” he said.

Dr Nadim Mahassen, Center for World University Rankings President congratulated the University, saying: “This is an outstanding achievement. Congratulations.”

For detailed information on the rankings, visit www.cwur.org

Issued by:

Normah Zondo

Acting Executive Director : Corporate Relations

For further information please contact:

Indu Moodley, Media Liaison Officer on 031 260 7213 / 083 555 9508 or at moodleyi@ukzn.ac.za

The 2021 Olympic Games are going ahead, and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has thirteen (13) sportswomen and men selected for the South African team that will jet off to Tokyo, Japan, in July. The University received the news on Thursday, 27 May 2021, when Team SA released its selected list of athletes and technical professionals who will represent the country in various sporting codes.

Selected current students who will raise the UJ and South African flags high include Jason van Rooyen, Cheswill Johnson, Kristen Paton and Toni Marks. The students will compete in athletics, hockey, long jump, and shotput. The UJ representatives include four students, one staff, and seven alumni.

“It gives us immense pleasure that our UJ student-athletes and staff as well as alumni have been included in the selected South African squad that will travel to participate in the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. At UJ, we pride ourselves in producing talent that contributes to the growth of the South African sports community,” says Ms Nomsa Mahlangu, Senior Director: UJ Sport.

There have been concerns that the Olympic Games may not go ahead, because of fears over the rising COVID-19 infections in the Tokyo. However, the Olympics Committee said the games would continue. However, International Olympic Committee Vice-President John Coates said they had all the plans and measures in place to protect the safety and security of athletes and the people of Japan, even if the city was under a state emergency.

“The advice we have got from the World Health Organisation and all of the scientific advice, is that all the measures we have outlined in the playbook, all those measures are satisfactory to ensure a safe and secure Games in terms of health, and that’s whether there is a state of emergency or not,” he said.

Japan has long insisted that there was no question the Games, which should have taken place last summer, would be held and will be safe.

Athletics

  • Jason van Rooyen (Student)
  • Cheswill Johnson (Student)
  • Ruswahl Samaai – (Alumni)
  • Irvette van Zyl (Van Blerk) – (Alumni)

Hockey (Ladies)

  • Lisa Deetlefs (Alumni)
  • Kristen Paton (Student)
  • Toni Marks (Club Member)
  • Taryn Mallet (Alumni)
  • Robyn Johnson (Alumni)
  • Robin van Ginkel (Alumni – Head Coach)
  • Taren Naidoo (Staff – Video Analyst)

Hockey (Men)

  • Clinton Panther (Alumni)
  • Gareth Ewing (Head Coach – Former UJ Head Coach)

Follow UJ Sport on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

The MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship, launched in 2009, recognises exemplary university student civic engagement programs worldwide. The prize is sponsored jointly by the MacJannet Foundation and The Talloires Network. The Talloires Network is the global authority on university community engagement.

Rhodes University is the first South African university to win first place for this prestigious prize! Out of a global association of 388 universities in 77 countries on six continents, all committed to developing student leaders who are actively engaged with society. In the past, our sister universities, WITS won (3rd place in 2014) and NWU (2nd place in 2012), respectively. It is a HUGE achievement and great recognition of the collective work that makes the Nine-Tenths programme happen.

The Nine-Tenths was one of the first initiatives implemented as a targeted programme for student volunteer mentorship. The mentors guided local learners through nine structured sessions to equip learners to pass to their full potential. The Nine-Tenths programme was conceptualised and launched in 2016 and is now in its sixth year.

Nine-Tenths is co-managed by the Rhodes University Community Engagement Division (RUCE), local high schools and a local Non-profit Organisation, GADRA Education. Programme responsibilities are carried out in a participatory manner by each partner based on their skillset and resources.

The Nine-Tenths aims to:

· Alleviate the poor national school dropout rate, increase the Makhanda pass rate, and increase access to higher education institutions (and other post-school opportunities) for local students.

· Contribute to Rhodes University students’ holistic development and character building as socially engaged and critical citizens.

· Create a successful, replicable model to address a common crisis nationally.

· Cultivate mutually beneficial relationships between mentors and mentees, which serve to embed Rhodes University in its local context and build the Makhanda community.

· Build community engagement as an academic discipline.

https://www.ru.ac.za/communityengagement/volunteerism/

Source:  Diana Hornby – RUCE

The Rhodes University Council, unanimously resolved to extend Dr Sizwe Mabizela’s contract as Vice-Chancellor for a further seven years “to continue the proud academic story of quality of the past seven years,” Council Chairperson Judge Gerald Bloem, said.

Dr Mabizela, was appointed Vice-Chancellor in 2014 to become the sixth Principal of the 117-year old institution. His appointment followed a stint as acting Vice-Chancellor for four months. Before that, he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic and Student affairs from 2008.   

Responding to the offer, Dr Mabizela thanked members of Council for their confidence in the “leadership collective of the University in the past eventful seven years.” He paid tribute to colleagues in the academy, administration and support services at the University for “pulling together at all times and for putting the interests of the institution above all else.”

Dr Mabizela led the University through especially turbulent times in its history. He was Vice-Chancellor in 2015 and 2016 during the widespread students’ protests. More recently, he led the University during the unprecedented and hugely disruptive global pandemic and the related financial pressures.

Council made observations about Dr Mabizela’s leadership strengths and the strong confidence that the University community has in him. With new national and international milestones in Teaching and Learning, Research and Community Engagement have been achieved under his leadership. 

The University has moved into the position of sector leader in Community Engagement as a direct result of his vision and personal example.  His ethical and student-centred leadership was also noted.

The University’s collaboration with local communities in a range of programmes has led to notable innovations at the socio-economic level and global recognition. The Nine Tenths Programme for Grade 12 learners was recently awarded the prestigious international Talloires Global Network’s MacJannet Prize. Qualifying students entering Rhodes University from Makhanda’s disadvantaged school sector increased from 34 in 2014 to 116 in 2020.

Makhanda became the best-performing city in the Eastern Cape province in the 2020 public school Matric Examinations, a far cry from 2015 when Makhanda was one of the four worst performing in the province. For the first time in the city’s history, the cumulative matric pass rate was 80%. This average was 12% higher than the EC average (68%), and 4% higher than the national average of 76%. 

Rhodes University has consistently produced undergraduate throughput rates that are amongst the best in the sector – attributed to the flexible curriculum model, the tuition system, the favourable staff-student ratios, quality of academic staff, and conducive learning and residence environment. 

According to the 2019 data from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) the University registered a 76.7% success rate for 3-year undergraduate degrees compared to the 52% sectoral average.  The data reflects similar statistics for the four-year undergraduate degrees success rate at 77.6% versus the sectoral average of 53.6%.

Research and postgraduate output has similarly maintained Rhodes University’s position amongst the most productive research universities in both quantity and quality measures. The University is the only research-intensive university outside of a metropolitan area.

The 2019 audited figures, the latest available, show significant growth between 2014 and 2019 in a number of critical academic indicators such as total weighted research output (from 878 to 1014), accredited publication output (from 492 to 557), Masters graduates (from 179 to 199), Doctoral graduates (from 207 to 258) and academic staff per capita accredited research output (from 2.65 to 2.82).

The South African university sector per capita accredited research output measure stands at 2.01 for the same period.

The first comprehensive Institutional Development Plan for the University was developed during this term. There has been substantial property improvement projects that were completed and others initiated.  Rhodes University’s exemplary stewardship of infrastructure grants from the DHET has seen it receive well more than its proportional share of these budgets.

“Dr Mabizela’s leadership in the past seven years at the helm of the University has consistently reflected a strong moral compass, a deep investment in social justice, encouragement, understanding and inspiration for all around him,” Judge Bloem said.