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Thursday, 25 February 2021

Prioritising healthy relationships

The Student Counselling Unit is encouraging members of the CPUT to let 2021 be the year that they prioritise healthy relationships.

“There is no such thing as a perfect relationship,” says Counselling Psychologist, Lynn Fick. “Just as you need to water a plant to help it blossom to its full potential- so you will need to engage in certain actions to create and maintain a healthy relationship.”

There are many characteristics that can describe a healthy relationship, but Fick  outlines the following few key characteristics that stand out:

Communication - Being able to communicate your feelings and thoughts in a constructive, honest, and open way is important for a healthy relationship. Actively listening and being listened to are good ways to show one’s partner that one cares about what they have to say.

Trust - Knowing that you can rely on one another is essential in creating a feeling of safety and security within the relationship. Honest communication can help to establish this trust.

Respect - Respect for oneself, one’s partner and the relationship are essential. This demonstrates that one feels valued and that one values one’s partner and the relationship that one has.

Support - Feeling supported and supporting one’s partner is important in creating an atmosphere of encouragement and unity. A healthy relationship is one in which one knows one can go to one’s partner when one needs assistance or guidance.

Boundaries - It is important to communicate one’s boundaries to one’s partner. Explaining what one likes and dislikes helps one’s partner to understand what one is okay with, and when they overstep one’s boundaries. This includes one’s sexual, physical and emotional boundaries.

Independence - As much as one might enjoy time with one’s partner, it is equally important to make time for one’s own friends, hobbies and interests. It is equally important to have one’s partner to respect one’s independence.

Having a good time - It is important to have fun in a relationship. To laugh, explore and make new memories can help bring partners closer together. Life can become very serious, so a moment to break away from that and enjoy yourself is important.

Fick adds that a healthy relationship requires time, effort and a willingness by both partners to make it work. “It is not easy, and you might need to try and try again until you eventually succeed.”

She argues that the above healthy relationship characteristics should not only define one’s relationship with one’s partner, but with one’s family and friends too. “You deserve to have more than one healthy relationship. You deserved to be loved, respected and supported.”

Sikhumbuzo Vilakazi, the newly appointed Director: Protection and Risk Services, feels honoured and privileged to serve on the CPUT Management team.

“This appointment is a milestone for the entire university community in ensuring transformation is implemented,” said Vilakazi. “It is my understanding that the university needed to appoint a qualified, technically competent and experienced individual to serve as the Director and Head of Risk and Protection Services with five divisions comprising of Investigations, Fleet Operations, Campus Protection Services, Safety, Health and Environmental Management.”

The Directorate is primarily responsible for the safety and security of the university community and property across its five campuses. “In this regard, the appointment confirms my expertise in security and safety, health and environmental management as well as fleet operations.” He assumed his new position at CPUT at the beginning of the month.

Vilakazi began his professional career in 1993 when he was contracted to the then Mangosuthu University of Technology through Gray Security Service as site commander. “I also served in the South African Military Academy under Voluntary Military Service”. During his experience of more than two decades, he occupied several positions including senior management positions with security, investigation, traffic, access control, occupational health, safety and environment as well as Internal audit experience.

He has an Advanced Diploma in Security Management and a National Diploma in Security Risk Management from the University of South Africa and has completed a National Intelligence Agency Security Managers/Advisors course. “I have more than 10 years senior management experience in safety and security and more than 20 years practical hands-on experience in safety and security, more than 10 years [of which] were gained in senior management with campus security experience.”

Vilakazi added that what attracted him to CPUT are his passion for serving and protecting staff and students, his desire to share the wealth of his expertise in the field as well as to reduce the risk the University may face when dealing with students in the 21st Century.

He promised the CPUT community the establishment and implementation of security strategies and systems to safeguard and protect all persons interacting with the University and its property.

The Cape Town Hotel School Restaurant recently re-opened its doors to patrons after closing for months in line with national Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Managing COVID fear and anxiety

Dealing with COVID fear and anxiety requires one to assume daily responsibility for these emotions, so that they can be managed properly.

Leanie Brits, Zain Julies, Janine Van Sitters-Mintoor and Samantha Hanslo, counselling psychologists in the Student Counselling Department, say COVID and lockdown have certainly overwhelmed people’s basic ability to cope and deal with the daily stressors associated with the current uncertain situation.


Brits says fear is often made worse by having limited knowledge about COVID and may often lead to panic-buying, excessive avoidance of situations or even stigma and discrimination against others. “These behaviours often are an unhealthy attempt to make sense of the pandemic and to try and control the situation,” she adds.


Brits point out that while fear may be overwhelming it can be managed responsibly. Hanslo, Van-Sitters-Mintoor and Julies share the following tips for staff and students:  


  • Focus on what you can control in your immediate environment. Try to focus on the here and now. What tomorrow or the day after may bring is not in our control. You can plan your day and engage in routine activities- keep your focus on these.
  • Adjusting your routine can also create new energy and motivation if you feel overwhelmed by boredom
  • Engage in practical tasks and activities that will assume your focus including listening to music, reading or cooking a new recipe.
  • Maintain healthy coping mechanisms and ensure that your eating, sleeping and exercising habits are maintained.
  • Be aware of news and social media triggers that increase your anxiety. Rather limit media exposure and screen time.
  • It is essential that you connect with people and try to maintain social/virtual contact- this will boost your sense of belonging and enhance your sense of support


The psychological impact of COVID on the CPUT community is evident. Ruben, an HIV Peer Educator in the Faculty of Applied Science says that missing one’s campus friends to whom one usually confided can make life unbearable.


“Being at home, seeing the reality of the household can be scary for most. Seeing how mom or dad or the elderly sibling having less food than normal to accommodate you, yet we are sometimes ungrateful can also affect one mentally,” adds Ruben.

The Department of Student Counselling has launched various online activities, including support groups, workshop and webinars and psychoeducational resources aimed at addressing various topics related to COVID fear and stigma, mental healthcare and support topics.

This includes two weekly student online support groups, Lockdown Worriers and Coping with Covid-19, aimed at supporting students with adjustment to lockdown and supporting those who have been directly impacted by COVID.

* If your worry or anxiety are persistent and constant, and you are finding it hard to stop worrying about the coronavirus, it is best to seek support.


COVID-19 toll free line: 0800 029 999

Higher Health 24-hour counselling support line: 0800 36 36 36

Request CPUT counselling support at Student-counselling@cput.ac.za

For CPUT students, request counselling support at Student-counselling@cput.ac.za

For staff, contact CPUT Lifestyle and Wellness Specialist at mzeles@cput.ac.za.


Wednesday, 02 September 2020

New council chair elected

CPUT’s newly elected Council Chair brings a wealth of public sector experience to his new role and is intent on strengthening stakeholder relations within the institution.

Advocate Zuko Mapoma is no stranger to the university’s highest decision-making body, he previously served as the Deputy Chair until his unanimous election on Saturday, and he also served in the previous Council.

His mandate for his tenure as Council Chair is clear, a continued focus on good governance and strengthening stakeholder relations.

“For me, the systems must be in place to ensure good governance because without that you have nothing. Luckily, during my time on Council I can say that CPUT seems to be managing this area well so we must maintain that,” Mapoma says.

“Then I want to look at our internal and external relations with some of our stakeholders. We should all be singing from the same hymnbook to ultimately advance the good name of the institution and build our brand. Disharmony impacts directly on the reputation of the university and it is in all of our best interests for CPUT to be spoken about well.”

Mapoma says that while disagreements between management and Council may arise he instead wants to open up the space and give the university leadership the space to do its job.

“As long as Council has a good moral standing and is raising issues within the best interests of the university then we keep contestations to a minimum.”

Mapoma is an Advocate of the Cape High Court with over 13 years of executive board management and public sector experience.

CPUT has budgeted more than R100 million for building and refurbishing student residences as well as upgrading and restoring other buildings on the university’s various campuses.

Tuesday, 04 February 2020

Our team came up trumps

Following the official closing of the highly enriching CPUT Online Residence Registration pilot project recently, the project manager Liezel Ijambo celebrated her team which has gone as far as most did not imagine.

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