Water cannon were used against protesting students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Westville campus. Photo: Jacques Naude

Durban - Dr Albert van Jaarsveldt, the chief executive of the National Research Foundation, is set to become the vice-chancellor and principal of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

The announcement was made by Phumla Mnganga, the chairwoman of the university's council.

Van Jaarsveldt will take up his post in February 2015, replacing Professor Malegaouru Makgoba, who has headed up the institution since 2004.

“Dr Van Jaarsveldt brings with him a wealth of experience and new ideas on how to keep the university on an upward trajectory, building on its record of excellence through transformation,” she said.

UKZN, with 44,000 students, was formed from the merger in 2004

from the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville and the former Edgewood College of Education.

Makgoba was the first chancellor to head up the new institution.