South African University (Unisa) has appointed former president, Thabo Mbeki as its new chancellor.
This was announced after Judge Bernard Ngoepe, who served as Unisa’s chancellor for fifteen years, stepped down earlier this week.
The university said selecting and appointing Mbeki as the new chancellor was possible through a careful consideration of his attributes and qualities.
It’s also in line with the university’s Strategy Vision 2030 to become “The African University Shaping Future in the Service of Humanity”.
“Thabo Mbeki is the foremost proponent of the African Renaissance and he is still involved in a range of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.
“He has even been utilised by the United Nations to look into illicit trade in Africa and examine ways of resolving this challenge. We have observed his consistency, passion and dedication in the educational and intellectual engagement programmes. This is in line with and helps to reinforce our academic and research project,” Unisa said in a statement on Thursday.
The university also said it is in a process of transformation and it is re-positioning itself as an ‘African University’ with a range of Africa-focused programmes already on offer.
Vice-chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya described Mbeki as a person with great value and intellectual standing who will add to the university at the time where the prospects of the Africa Rising narrative seem to be “realistic enough for the continent to claim its prominent place in the global community,”
We have observed his consistency, passion and dedication in the educational and intellectual engagement programmes. This is in line with and helps to reinforce our academic and research project,” Makhanya said as he reiterates that Mbeki’s appointment would give impetus to Unisa’s partnership with the African Union Commission which was formalised in a memorandum of understanding signed in October 2013.
Unisa also paid tribute to the outgoing chancellor‚ Ngoepe‚ describing him as a distinguished legal luminary selflessly served with integrity‚ dignity and honour in a manner that enhanced Unisa’s profile and reputation even during the difficult times of university mergers.