Former President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi
Former President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Thabo Mbeki to seek second term as Unisa chancellor

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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FORMER president Thabo Mbeki is seeking a second five-year term as chancellor of the University of South Africa (Unisa).

Mbeki was first elected and appointed following nominations by members of the institution’s council, staff, students and its convocation to be its ceremonial and titular head in December 2016. He assumed office the next month, replacing retired Gauteng Judge President Bernard Ngoepe.

Unisa registrar, Professor Steward Mothata, has invited the institution’s students to submit nominations for the office of the chancellor.

The new chancellor of the country’s largest open distance-learning institution will be elected on November 25.

”Being eligible for re-election, Dr Thabo Mbeki has made himself available to serve as a chancellor for a second and final term, if nominated and elected. Nominations are, however, open for any eligible nominee as contemplated in the Institutional Statute,” Mothata said.

Mbeki’s current term of office ends on December 31.

According to Mothata, a university chancellor is a distinguished person whose service, contributions, reputation, and record of excellence in his or her field of endeavour must support the mission, vision, and values of the institution.

A chancellor must also have a positive influence on society to the benefit of the university.

”The chancellor plays a supporting role to the principal and vice-chancellor and council from time to time. S/he should be available and committed to carrying out this role and operate independently,” he said.

Other functions performed by a chancellor or his or her nominee include conferring all university qualifications on the institution’s behalf, opening and dissolving its congregation.

The chancellor also performs such other functions as are assigned to him or her by the council and duties in the interest of the university and does not receive remuneration for performing his or her duties.

Mbeki has previously stated that African universities, including Unisa, have a special responsibility to strive to occupy the front trenches in terms of producing ideas and knowledge, cadres and activists who will drive the continent’s quest to realise its renaissance.

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Political Bureau

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