CPUT installs new Chancellor
THE Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) welcomed its new Chancellor, Thandi Modise, in a ceremony resplendent with the pomp and academic pageantry befitting her position as ceremonial head of the university.
Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Modise succeeds former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel as Chancellor, and in doing so becomes the first woman, and only the second person to ascend to this office at CPUT.
Modise said she felt honoured to lead the largest tertiary institution in the Western Cape. Referring to the difficulties all tertiary institutions have been facing since 2015, she says, “Although it is a challenge, I have always welcomed getting into difficult spaces, if only to prove that women are capable. It is also an awesome task because with the economy slowing down some of the issue bedevilling CPUT – issues of high salaries and properly catering to students are going to take longer to address because the fiscus is strained.
“Even though the job of a Chancellor is very ceremonial, I am taking the challenge to engage and try to mediate between the students and management. For me this is important because the only way forward is if there is stability. The challenges we are facing with a university like this one, which must push innovation, is that you must produce and produce fast to mitigate the risks. I will be taking up the challenge and am very, very honoured.”
Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Chris Nhlapo in his welcome address spoke of Modise’s proven track record as a competent and capable leader, “I look forward to the ways you will assist us in creating futures and making this university into a world-class institution.”
Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, who witnessed Modise’s installation at CPUT’s Bellville campus, says the institution was gaining a highly principled Chancellor.
“One of the most important things precisely during these challenging times in the higher education, sector, generally, and at CPUT, specifically, is that we need more government leadership to work together with student and worker leadership. It becomes therefore very important that she joins the higher education community at this point because we need her wisdom and dedication. She’s a very principled person and we need those like her to act as examples,” he says.
Modise’s installation was the high point of a week of institutionary celebrations at CPUT. It was preceded by an inaugural lecture delivered by Professor Victoria Jideani on how indigenous foods and knowledge could be the key to ensuring food security in Africa. The week ends today with the Spring Graduation, where the students and their achievements take centre stage.
Modise was first elected as an MP in 1994 and served as Speaker of the North West Provincial Legislature from 2004 to 2009. A former ANC deputy secretary-general, she also served as Premier of the North West from 2010 to 2014, when she was elected as chairperson of the NCOP.
‘Even though the job of a Chancellor is very ceremonial, I am taking the challenge to engage and try to mediate between the students and management’ – Thandi Modise, CPUT Chancellor
DIGNIFIED: (From left) Registrar Nikile Ntsababa, Nogolide Nojozi the Chair of Council, Thandi Modise newly installed Chancellor with Dr Blade Nzimande the Minister of Higher Education and Dr Chris Nhlapo, Acting Vice-Chancellor
CONGRATULATIONS: (From left) Thandi Modise, Chancellor, Dr Chris Nhlapo, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Anthony Staak, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Prof Marshall Sheldon, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Chancellor Thandi Modise