HE is a leader par excellence. Nobody who has seen his work can dispute that, neither can a person who has come across him at work can doubt his skills.
A father, brother, a boss, a priestly figure, a friend, a visionary. He fits many shoes in the institution and has the ability to relate with everyone.
Maintaining an open door policy to his office, he has made it very easy for members of staff to work with him efficiently without following bureaucratic processes, which he feels slow down production.
He is always in a light hearted mood, slow to anger but frank in responses and thorough in execution of duties, Mr Gilbert Mzenzi Mabasa has brought the college to its current standing due to accepting nothing but excellence in work.
A multi-award winning leader, the principal has lifted Bulawayo Polytechnic to an institution fit for international students.
With a student population coming from across Africa, especially Botswana and Namibia, Bulawayo Polytechnic has proven itself to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) , Africa and the rest of the global community that it is an institution worth noting with many of its alumni being captains of industry in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Africa and beyond.
Under the capable leadership of Mr Mabasa, Bulawayo Polytechnic has risen and become the academic giant that it is in this day.
He is the man who has changed the landscape and shaped the trajectory of technical courses in Zimbabwe and beyond.
His impact and immense contribution is very conspicuous and is there for all to see.
Bulawayo Polytechnic is one of the oldest tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe. Having been incepted in 1924 as a technical school with less than 20 students and a handful of lecturers and few supporting infrastructures, the institution has grown from strength to strength since then.
The institution grew from a $1m institution to a $3m plus institution. There has been some remarkable growth in the revenue generation through resource mobilisation drive that he has spearheaded.
Under his leadership, income from projects rose from a mere $200 000 in 2012 to over $600 000 in 2017. This was informed by the motivation and acceptable reward system that the principal introduced.
In 1982, he assumed duty as a lecturer at the then Salisbury Technical College, now Harare Polytechnic. He was later transferred to Kwekwe Polytechnic where he was the first black lecturer. Mr Mabasa became the inaugural substantive Vice Principal in 1992 while with Kwekwe Polytechnic.
He was the first black Chairman of the Zimbabwe Further Education Examinations Board (FEEB)’s Craft Coordinating Committee from 1983 to 1988.
He was instrumental in the evolution and migration of Zimbabwe’s National Courses from City and Guilds of London to the Zimbabwean National Courses.
His involvement was integral in the establishment of the Gokwe Vocational Training
In 2004 he was transferred from Kwekwe Polytechnic to provide leadership at the Bulawayo Polytechnic. There he worked as Acting Principal, Vice Principal substantive from 2005 till 2013 when he was appointed Principal of Bulawayo Polytechnic.
The principal has seen the institution undergoing massive rehabilitation, face lifting and improvement of the ambience conducive to teaching and learning.
It is again quite evident to people in and around Bulawayo and comes as a surprise to those who have been at Bulawayo Polytechnic before to set eyes on the new set up reminiscent of world class tertiary institution.
Over $4 million has been used in the period under review to upgrade existing infrastructure to meet the changing demands of the clients, who are the students, staff and the interested members of the community.
The administration block, workshops, laboratories and hostels have been upgraded to world class standards.
Over the decades there had been a perennial challenge with transport for student and staff trips. Thanks to the leadership of Mr Mabasa, the institution prides itself of a fleet of 17 vehicles including two buses. This has eased the transport problems that were haunting the institution prior to 2013.
During the period under review, there has been a deliberate effort to equip the laboratories with new state of the art equipment and ICT material.
He is an engineer by profession, an undoubted leader who has changed the environment at Bulawayo Polytechnic.
He holds a Masters in Education and is a doctoral student with Nust. At the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala in 2013 he was awarded the second runner up in the Training and Development Category Leader of the Year awards.
In 2015 he was awarded the Megafest Best Leadership Award for Southern Region for the Training and Development.
In 2016 he got an International Kola Scholar Award in Pretoria, South Africa for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Africa in Technical and Vocational Education. He was also awarded The District 412 Governor Citizen Communicator of the Year 2016-17 for his commitment to reaching out to public through Motivational Speeches, Promotional Dialogue, through Digital Technology, by the Lions Clubs International.
Under his leadership, the institution also got the first and second runner up in Training and Development Megafest Awards in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Bulawayo Polytechnic was the best in RIOSET in 2013 and 2014 and was crowned overall best in TIFAZ in years 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.