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Thursday Jul 02, 2020

The Airport City as a driver of economic development in KZN

THE director of human resource management at the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), Nhlanhla Mpondi, graduated with a Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
Mpondi's thesis was titled: The Impact of Transition of the Durban International Airport to King Shaka International Airport: The Implications for the Establishment of the Airport City/ Aerotropolis.
Mpondi has had an inquiring mind from a young age and started his professional career as a science educator in his home township, KwaMashu. After receiving a scholarship to study at the University of California in Los Angeles, he changed career paths and joined Transnet as a human resource practitioner. Fast forward to today, Mpondi is now responsible for human resources at EDTEA.
His research topic was inspired by a personal interest in a new socio-economic and scientific phenomena that could advance people's lives.
Dube Trade Port, an airport city in Durban, is one of EDTEA's subsidiaries. Mpondi was interested in investigating how KZN has benefited economically from the new airport.
"I was interested in looking at sectors that are regarded as key ingredients for the province's economic advancement like tourism, logistics, petrochemicals, clothing and textiles, agriculture and information technology. And, the new airport's impact on foreign direct investment and route development to bolster tourism growth in the region," he said.
He added that the provincial government's decision to move the airport from the south coast to the north coast has resulted in an increase of people employed at the airport, which has alleviated poverty in the surrounding communities.
"Several technology companies, including global brands like Samsung, have settled at Dube Trade Port to join many more in diverse businesses in agriprocessing, manufacturing and cargo handling logistics.
The booming property business stretching from Umhlanga to Ballito has been attributed to this aviation inspired industrial hub, which is also expected to promote economic transformation as formerly excluded communities are expected to be part of the mainstream growth around the precinct."
Inspired by Professor John Kasarda, President of the Aerotropolis Institute China, Mpondi is confident that development of the airport city in Durban is indicative of South Africa's move towards the creation of an aerotropolis similar to world class aviation complexes in Dubai, Hong Kong, Schiphol in Amsterdam, Frankfort in Germany, Beijing in China and other large airports around the world.
UKZN was an obvious choice for Mpondi's postgraduate studies as research on an aerotropolis is one of its niche areas.
"I AM honoured because I worked hard and tried to improve each year."
These are the words of Casey Lee van den Berg after she graduated with a Bachelor of Sport Science Honours (Biokinetics) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
She also received her Discipline's two awards, the Academic and Clinical Trophies.
"I decided to study Biokinetics because it allows me to help people and make a difference while doing what I love," she added.
She described UKZN as an "amazing university".
"I had incredible lecturers who were so passionate about their work and went above and beyond to help us succeed in every way possible," she said. Van den Berg spoke fondly of her mentor and friend Siya Shezi, who helped her through all her years of study.
After completing matric in 2013, Van den Berg moved from Pietermaritzburg to Durban to study for a two-year diploma in fitness at ETA College, where she specialised in exercise for the elderly, pregnant women and children.
"While I was at ETA, I was
NEW mom, Dr Caroline Kiarie was thrilled to graduate with a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) after braving regular diaper changes, breastfeeds and sleep deprivation – and never mind all the studying.
Kiarie examined the perceived effects of the use of social network sites (SNSs) in the workplace in Kenya, and its influence on employees and their communications with fellow colleagues.
She researched the issue from the perspectives, in various organisations, of hedonic value, social capital and employee effectiveness.
The findings establish that the sites affect office relationships and the effectiveness of employees as some spend up to five hours a day on social networking sites.
Other findings were that employees rarely befriend their bosses, men spend more time on social media than women, employees' participation on social media is based on job security, and employees don't feel free to participate on enterprise social media.
"On social networks, employees maintain very small networks for personal issues, while for work-related matters they have a larger network but only within their departments and don't seek advice outside of that," said Kiarie.
The conceptualisation of interpersonal lectured by biokineticists who inspired me to study biokinetics. I started at UKZN in 2016 and worked part-time until my honours year," she said.
She is currently completing her internship at a private practice in Ballito and hopes to start her own practice one day.
Van den Berg said young adults confront many challenges: "Finding a balance between studies, personal life and faith was probably the most difficult for me."
She said that having a strong support system of family and friends helped her through her years of study. organisational communication, she said, should not be limited to face-to-face contact, and recommends ways to use platforms in a productive way. WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were the most commonly used sites, with employees mainly communicating with contacts outside work and work contacts.
She argued that the "pervasive influence of communication technologies in Kenya cannot be ignored when conceptualising relationships within the workplace as they have become pervasive relational tools which help to gratify workers' employment needs."
She recommended that "management devise ways to increase participation or look at how to maximise on enterprisebased sites, and also how employees from different departments need to work together and create synergy within the organisation because the disconnect leads to miscommunication."
She also suggests a social networking analysis be conducted in organisations and based on the results, management can build on employees' interpersonal communication while in the workplace.
Kiarie plans to explore post-doctoral opportunities, research more on social network analysis, and spend time with her husband and baby.
"I want to be an expert on social network analysis and build on my PhD work within that area," she added.


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