The Nelson Mandela University Council announced today the appointment of Ambassador, Ms Nozipho January-Bardill and Mr Siya Mhlaluka as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, respectively, of the institution’s highest decision-making body.
The appointment of Ms January-Bardill and Mr Mhlaluka, as well as five other new members, was made at University Council meeting of 13 October, where Dr Sibongile Muthwa was unanimously selected as the incoming Vice-Chancellor.
Ms January-Bardill’s appointment as Council Chair is as momentous, as she too, is the University’s first black African female to take up the position. She takes over from Judge Ronnie Pillay, who has served as Chairperson of Council with distinction for more than a decade.
Dr Claudia Beck-Reinhardt, Mr Vuyo Mosana, Rev Madika “Dix” Sibeko and Mr Simpiwe Somdyala are ministerial appointments to Council, while Ms Maureen Manyama was appointed in accordance with the University statute.
Ms January-Bardill has extensive experience in the public, private, education and non-governmental sectors, and currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of the United Nations Women’s Organisation and UN Global Compact Local Network.
She serves as a non-executive director on the boards of a number of blue chip companies that include Anglo Gold Ashanti (AGA), Credit Suisse Securities, Mercedes Benz South Africa (MBSA) and the MTN Foundation. She is the Chair of the AGA Social, Ethics and Sustainability Sub-Committee, a member of the Remunerations Committee and the MBSA Social and Ethics Committee.
Ms January-Bardill, who was appointed to Council by the Minister of Higher Education and Training in September 2016, says she feels particularly privileged to serve on a Council of a University whose vision is both inspirational and aspirational and resonates with her own hope for a prosperous future for South Africa.
“I have a good understanding of the vision of the University. It is a vision that is aligned with my own sense of where higher education should be heading,” she said.
“Both Prof Derrick Swartz and Dr Muthwa have the kind of leadership skills and trust that are germaine to realising the vision of the university, one that is steeped in the values espoused by Tata Nelson Mandela. The change of name to Nelson Mandela University was, says the new Chairperson, a “very wise decision” as it afforded the institution and the entire university community a new opportunity to align its identity and goals with the values of its iconic namesake.
“It is an opportunity to live Madiba’s values and build on his commitment to young people in whose future he was so vested. He understood that education was the silver bullet that offers them tools to make a meaningful difference in their own lives and that of their communities and our society.
“It is this combination of factors,” she adds, “that excited me about being part of the University. I am very optimistic about the future and believe it is in the hands of young people. This institution, the Mandela University, can play a critical role in enabling all our students and staff from South Africa’s diverse communities, to change the current trajectory. They have to take inspiration from Madiba’s powerful legacy and live his values rather than just talk about them.
“I look forward to working with all my colleagues on the Council, the academic and non-academic staff and of course the Student Representative Council.”
Deputy Chair of Council Mr Mhlaluka, a former teacher, is currently the General Manager of the Transnet Port Terminals in the Eastern Cape Region and boasts a record of experience in business development in the state enterprise sector.
He joined the parastatal in 1999 as a junior manager and worked his way up the ranks, scooping numerous leadership accolades along the way.
Mr Mhlaluka had a two-year tenure as president of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and remains a board member.
On his appointment, Mr Mhlaluka, who has been a Council member since 2008, said he was humbled by the honour and privilege to continue serving the University.
“As the Nelson Mandela University community, we are poised for an exciting and challenging era which presents a great opportunity to reposition the University to be relevant and top of our game in emerging niche markets, such as the oceans economy and the fourth industrial revolution in digital revolution,” he said.
“I am humbled by the honour, privilege and responsibility to continue to serve the University community in the capacity of deputy chair and remain committed to working as part of the team to make Nelson Mandela University a centre of excellence in all facets of our existence.”