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New UCT vice-chancellor to start earlier than planned

 Image: University of Cape Town

Mosa Moshabela will assume leadership of top South African research university in August

University of Cape Town’s incoming vice-chancellor, Mosa Moshabela (pictured), will start on 1 August, two months earlier than planned, the university said this week.

“I am pleased to confirm that Professor Moshabela is available to take up the appointment earlier than 1 October 2024,” said UCT council chair Norman Arendse in a statement on 8 July.

He added that Daya Reddy, who has served as interim vice-chancellor since the departure of Mamokgethi Phakeng in March 2023, would stay on to support Moshabela on a part-time basis “for a period of time that is to be determined”.

“UCT owes Professor Reddy a debt of gratitude for taking on the responsibilities of vice-chancellor at a very challenging time for our institution, and making a significant leadership contribution when it was most needed,” said Arendse.

Challenging times

Phakeng left under a cloud after accusations that she lied to the university’s council about the reasons a senior executive departed during her tenure.

At the time of her exit, Phakeng denied any wrongdoing. But an investigation led by a retired judge later found she had misled the council, and also that her abrasive management style had led to several leaders at the university leaving their posts.

Late last year, Arendse apologised on behalf of the council for failing to act earlier regarding governance issues at the institution.

Senior appointments

A number of vacancies remain at the university’s executive level. These include the chief operating officer post, as well as a deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation, and for teaching and learning.

This week, interim vice-chancellor Reddy said the recruitment process for a chief operating officer has yet to be initiated, and that the term of the interim incumbent, Mughtar Parker, has been extended until the end of this year. 

The selection committee and job description for appointing a deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation have been approved by council and the position will be advertised “in due course”, he said. The interim incumbent in this role is Jeff Murugan.

The appointment of a deputy vice-chancellor of teaching and learning is at the shortlisting stage, Reddy added. Linda Ronnie, who has been in the post since July last year in an acting capacity, has had her appointment extended to the end of the year.