Professor Peter Mbati is new head of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
The university announced that Mbati would, as of yesterday, be assuming his role as the captain of the institution at a critical time when the university was in the process of re-imagining its academic project in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and focusing on health sciences, science and technology fields.
He takes over from acting vice-chancellor Professor Olalekan Ayo-Yusuf, who was has since been appointed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura to serve on the Covid-19 Advisory Committee.
University spokesperson Dr Eric Pule said Mbati was joining the institution at a time when it would embark on the roll-out of a massive infrastructure renewal programme, with a view to improving student life and experience and also creating a conducive working environment for staff.
Mbati indicated that his intention in taking the helm was to ensure that the institution was even more sustainable and stable.
“I am excited to be joining Sefako Makgatho as vice-chancellor on a five-year term. I would like to thank the council of the university for having bestowed its trust in me, and will do my very best to lead the institution guided by the values of diligence, commitment, humility, respect, integrity, relevance and transformative leadership.
“Together with all of you I intend to build on the good work and foundation laid by my predecessors, while seeking to improve the university's operating model to be financially sustainable; and changing the institutional culture to be more inclusive for staff, students and alumni.”
Mbati’s appointment, however, remains a sore point for The Higher Education Transformation Network, which has filed legal papers in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, against the council of the university. Organisational executive director Mothepane Seolonyane said their matter against the university council was enrolled on the normal court roll in the high court and they would continue with the bid to have Mbati’s appointment reversed.
Seolonyane said they would challenge Mbati’s appointment as they believed the university process was flawed and did not comply with the Development Plan Vision 2030, which stated that the higher education sector was to ensure black South Africans and women made up 50% of the teaching and research staff of universities.