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Health, Trade, Environmental and Business Matters Explored at Research Day

2017/02/09 10:08:00 AM

The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF) began the 2017 academic year on a productive note with the hosting of its Annual Research Day and Biannual Postgraduate Research Seminar at the Ascot Conference Centre in Pietermaritzburg.

School of Accounting, Economics and Finance Research Day participants.

Winning the annual Ellie Newman Moot Court competition, beating 320 participants by showcasing outstanding legal skills, is a sure sign that fourth-year Law student Mr Elisha Kunene is equipped for success in the legal profession.

Kunene competed in the Moot final - hosted by the School of Law in Durban - alongside finalists Ms Jolene Thompson, Mr Andile Mabaso and Mr Connor Alexander.

The finalists displayed their legal prowess in front of judges, Law School academics Professor Karthy Govender, Ms Lindiwe Maqutu, Professor Tanya Woker and Mr Vishal Surbun as well as family and friends.

A highlight at the final was third-year Law student Mr Andile Mcineka being awarded the Yunus Mohammed Public Interest Law Award by Madam Justice Dhaya Pillay for his article: “Winnie Getting the Short End of the Stick”, which was published in The Sunday Tribune.

The award recognises Mcineka’s valuable contribution to knowledge in the field of public law.

‘There was depth in his argument; he drew on judgments in a coherent manner; it was a pleasure interacting with him…’ these were some of the comments made by the judges on Kunene’s performance before his announcement as the winner which was greeted with resounding applause and a standing ovation from the audience.

‘Winning the Ellie Newman award means the world to me. It’s literally a dream come true. My time in ‘varsity has been quite difficult in a number of ways but I was determined to finish strongly and I sort of viewed this year as a rebuilding period,’ says Kunene.

‘Earlier in the year a good friend of mine and I won the Southern African National Debating Championships and I ranked first in the country. So I really feel like God is with me on this winning streak.’

The great debater who used his skills to coach school debating teams to generate funds for his university tuition got academic merit scholarships from UKZN for his first and second year. However, monetary challenges nearly saw Kunene being financially excluded in his second year.

‘In a remarkable turn of events I was able to stay and complete my studies thanks to a generous intervention by Norton Rose Fulbright. The firm and I parted ways this year but I will always be grateful to them and to everyone else who have contributed to keeping me going,’ he said.

Looking to the future, Kunene said: ‘I have been granted the great privilege of being accepted to clerk for Justice Raymond Zondo at the Constitutional Court next year.’  His long-term plans include becoming an advocate.

Thandiwe Jumo
The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF) began the 2017 academic year on a productive note with the hosting of its Annual Research Day and Biannual Postgraduate Research Seminar at the Ascot Conference Centre in Pietermaritzburg.

The seminar, championed by the School’s Academic Leader for Higher Degrees and Research, Dr Harold Ngalawa, featured 38 presentations from the School’s academic staff and PhD candidates, covering a broad range of topics in accounting, economics, finance and education, including health, environment and business matters.

‘Against a background of a difficult academic year highlighted by #feesmustfall demonstrations, we managed to organise the most successful research day in the history of the School.

‘The number of presentations nearly doubled, the participation by Accounting staff was overwhelming, and attendance was very high, compared to the previous year,’ he said.

The School’s Acting Dean and Head, Dr Mabutho Sibanda, who received an award for being the School’s top researcher, said it was heartening to see that staff and students were prioritising research.

‘This marks the fourth consecutive year that the School has hosted a Research Day and I am proud to say that this year we have almost doubled the number of presentations compared to 2016. I appreciate the effort made by academics and support staff in making this venture a success as research enables this School to move forward,’ said Sibanda.

Other research award recipients included Dr Claire Vermaak, who was recognised for graduating the most students in 2016, and Ms Mishelle Doorasamy and Dr Farai Kwenda who were named second and third top researchers respectively.

To find out more about the papers presented at the conference visit:

http://saef.ukzn.ac.za/Libraries/General_Docs/SAEF_Research_Day_2017_-_Book_of_Abstracts.sflb.ashx

Thandiwe Jumo

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