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Attracting top talent is critical - Ngonyama

UCT council chairperson Babalwa Ngonyama says attracting top talent is critical for the advancement of the university.

UCT council chairperson Babalwa Ngonyama says attracting top talent is critical for the advancement of the university.

Published Dec 3, 2021


Edwin Naidu

In its quest to continue to attract top talent both at leadership positions and across the institution since she was appointed vice-chancellor on July 1, 2018, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng has overseen 13 appointments to the senior leadership team or, as it is better known within the institution, the Leadership Lekgotla.

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The Leadership Lekgotla comprises the vice-chancellor, the deputy vice-chancellors, the chief operating officer, the registrar, the deans, and the executive directors.

The key appointments that were made are:

Mr. Pura Mgolombane, executive director: Department of Student Affairs with effect from February 1, 2021. He has 20 years of experience working with students and is well versed in higher education.

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Dr Linda Mtwisha, executive director of research with effect from October 1, 2020. Dr Mtwisha was senior director of strategic initiatives and administration at Wits. She has a strong background and extensive experience in the research sector.

Dr Catherine Duggan, director of the Graduate School of Business with effect from September 1, 2020. Dr Duggan is an accomplished academic with more than 20 years of work in Africa and extensive experience at top global business schools.

Associate Professor Lionel Green-Thompson, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences with effect from March 15, 2020. He served as dean at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and assistant dean at the University of the Witwatersrand.

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Associate Professor Shose Kessi, dean of Humanities with effect from November 15, 2019. She, too, has a wealth of institutional knowledge and experience, having joined UCT's Department of Psychology in 2011. She is also the founder and first chairperson of the UCT Black Academic Caucus.

Professor Maano Ramutsindela, dean of the Faculty of Science with effect from March 1, 2019. Having served on critical faculty committees, the UCT Council, and the Senate Executive Committee, Professor Ramutsindela represented UCT in the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN)and is founding co-chair of the WUN Global Africa Group.

Dr Reno Morar, chief operating officer with effect from February 1, 2019. The role of COO was a new position created to improve the efficiency of the university's operations.

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Professor Danwood Chirwa, dean of the Faculty of Law with effect from January 1, 2019, held various leadership positions in the faculty, including acting dean in 2014 and head of the Department of Public Law from 2009 to 2014.

Ujala Satgoor, executive director: Libraries with effect from January 1, 2019, bringing years of leadership in libraries in the higher education environment; one facing the challenges of digitisation.

Richard John van Huyssteen, executive director: Information and Communication Technology Services with effect from November 1, 2018. Van Huyssteen brought a wealth of institutional experience, having served as the director: Systems Division within ICTS since 2014.

Associate Professor Linda Ronnie, dean of the Faculty of Commerce with effect from October 22, 2018. An award-winning teacher and researcher, and crafter of African business case studies, she joined the UCT in 2002.

Mughtar Parker, executive director: Properties and Services with effect from July 1, 2018. Parker has exceptional experience in property services and development and has held senior management roles at several top companies since June 1995.

Eleven of these key appointments were made from the designated groups, supporting UCT's commitment to inclusivity, transformation, and excellence in alignment with Vision 2030.

"These appointments are a great addition to a dynamic, talented and diverse leadership team which demonstrates UCT's commitment to achieving Vision 2030 and its purpose of unleashing human potential for a fair and just society," said Council chairperson Babalwa Ngonyama.

"We are looking forward to the new appointments joining the UCT senior leadership team and contributing towards taking UCT to greater heights."