By Kyle Robinson & Mpho Raborife
Vice-Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat has added R200 000 from his own salary to the Jakes Gerwel Rhodes University Scholarship Fund. Badat personally established the fund two years ago in order to provide financial assistance to needy students from the Eastern Cape.The fund was also started due to concerns about how Vice-Chancellor salaries were rising disproportionately to that of academics and administrators. He said the community of scholars should not be differentiated by salary, and that there shouldn’t be extra benefits for the Vice-Chancellor. “I thought it’s much more productive and valuable to take the money and put it into a fund,” he said.
Badat also chooses to relinquish his privilege of flying first-class, contributing the surplus money to the fund as he thought the difference would be enough to pay for someone’s tuition. Other individual contributors to the fund include Margaret Nash, a church activist, who donated R20 000, and the former Rhodes Dean of Students Dr Moosa Motara who contributed R10 000.
Badat predicts that the fund currently sits at R450 000. It has fortunately not been used yet, and is stored away in an investment account where it continues to grow. Badat said “We are deliberately trying to build a relationship between this university and the Eastern Cape. Those who live in the Eastern Cape community must realise Rhodes is open and welcoming of students from needy backgrounds.”Badat himself comes from humble beginnings. He once stated that “those who are wealthy should avoid crass materialism” as it is a “poor model of leadership”. Rather, he believes that “one must not lose sense of perspective of the society we live in, and the fortunate should provide opportunities for those who are less fortunate”.