Wits university has confirmed the appointment of its first black female chancellor following a controversial election period in which allegations of unfairness and favouritism were levelled against senior members of the institution’s management.
Dr Judy Dlamini, a prominent businesswoman, will take up the role of chancellor from December 1, 2018 replacing former deputy chief justice, Dikgang Moseneke.
The announcement was made on July 31, bringing an end to a heated contest between Dlamini and the other candidate, Dr Anele Mngadi, an academic and business strategist.
Dlamini told Wits Vuvuzela, “I will spend the next few months before I officially take over understanding what we have and how we can improve on it as guided by other stakeholders and my convictions.”
In a statement released by the university, acting vice-chancellor Tawana Kupe said, “The university is privileged to have Dr Judy Dlamini serve as the chancellor of one of the leading institutions on the African continent. She is a public figure of very high distinction and personal calibre and reflects the university’s commitment to intellectual integrity and academic excellence.”
Mngadi, who had spoken to Wits Vuvuzela on Tuesday, July 24 accusing Kupe and university registrar Carol Crosley of impropriety, issued a statement congratulating Dlamini on the appointment. “I wish to congratulate Dr Judy Dlamini on being elected chancellor of the university and wish her the best in shaping the university to achieve its full potential as a knowledge and innovation-based institution,” she said.
Dlamini is a medical doctor by training, businesswoman, philanthropist, entrepreneur and author. She has an MBA from Wits and a PhD in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa which she completed in 2014.
The university acknowledges it has been “hopelessly late in honouring” Robert Sobukwe.
The Wits SRC have raised R1, 7 million after Wits chancellor Dikgang Moseneke and ten of his friends donated R50 000 each at the “One million, One month” launch earlier today.
The “One million, One month” campaign was officially launched by the Wits Student Representatives Council (SRC) at the Great Hall today even though the campaign reached its initial target of R1-million last Friday. The SRC was joined by the campaign’s ambassadors whose contributions today saw the total amount rise to R1,7 million.
Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, one of the ambassadors, donated R50 000 and arranged for ten of his friends to match his contribution.
“I have phoned a number of my friends and I said to them I will make a commitment on my feet today … and at least 10 of them said they will match me”, Moseneke said.
“One of my friends was moved by young comrades thinking in a very revolutionary way. They have a deep grievance but they find a positive way to address it”, Moseneke added.
Wits vice-chancellor, Professor Adam Habib, said he hopes that the campaign raises one or two million more.
“I will not lie to you. We are hoping to make R2 or 3 million … I will not have enough money to fund all students,” Habib said.
Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini pointed out that he was no longer talking to the Department of Higher Education (DHE), about the problem but he refuses to see 2788 students go back home.
“One of my friends was moved by young comrades thinking in a very revolutionary way. They have a deep grievance but they find a positive way to address it”
“Our wish is to take all 2788 students to class because that is the future of the nation. I can’t lose 2788 students, I cannot,” Dlamini said.
LEGACY: Advocate George Bizos, attended the Wits SRC’s One Million, One Month launch at the Wits Great Hall. Photo: Tendai Dube
Advocate George Bizos, who was the first official ambassador of the campaign, shared a moving story of a young woman he knew who struggled financially and recalled his promise to “never let anyone in [his] generation go through the same thing”.
Mpendulo Nkosi, a first year civil engineering student from rural KZN spoke of his difficulties in securing accommodation and funding for his studies at Wits. He was later surprised by the announcement that he was to be fully funded by a donor, the Thusanani Foundation, a youth-led non- profit organisation.
Nkosi said, “I am really thankful, they have done great for me and my family.”
“I am really thankful, they have done great for me and my family”.
Another significant donation was that of R100 000 from the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF).
Amongst the ambassadors who joined Bizos and Moseneke on stage was poet Lebo Mashile, and singer, Thandiswa Mazwai, both of whom congratulated Wits and the student leadership for their positive reaction to the funding crisis.