Mkhize appointed UKZN chancellor

2009-05-19 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Zweli Mkhize has been appointed chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mkhize, a former alumnus of UKZN, was chosen by the council to succeed Dr Frene Ginwala whose term of office ends on June 30.

At a media briefing at the Westville campus, council chair Mac Mia said that UKZN was honoured to have Mkhize as the chancellor and said that it was important for the university to have a strong link with government.

Vice chancellor and principal Professor Malegapuru Makgoba has been re-appointed for a second term.

Makgoba, vice chancellor since the establishment of the university in 2004, has been re-appointed for a further five-year period from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2014.

The university also revealed its newly formed Report of the Governance and Academic Freedom Committee, which was formed following negative publicity about academic freedom at the university.

Submissions were made by 103 individuals and groups who wanted to engage with the committee. The committee will deal with freedom of expression, dispute resolution mechanisms and racism and transformation issues at the university.

One of the findings of the report, which is based on the submissions received, was that there is no evidence of a threat to the right to teach, learn and research at the university. The report also found that race, racism and transformation are a major challenge at UKZN.

The committee recommended that a policy be implemented that will encourage relationship building.

Phumla Mnganga, the vice chair of council, said the committee will take responsibility for ra­cism and transformation and will facilitate within the university.

The UKZN council also called for the academics’ council to ensure that written and inter-personal exchanges are done in a civil way.

“Council re-affirms its unqualified commitment to academic freedom and the right to ... teach, learn and to research without undue interference and also to the academics’ right to freedom of expression,” said Mia.

On whether academics will be barred from speaking about UKZN’s policies, Mia said the university does not have a problem with academics speaking about the university provided it is done within university protocol.

“Council will ensure that a climate conducive to realising these rights is entrenched at UKZN, and that there are structures and rules in place that support this commitment,” said Mia.

“There has been no situation where academics have criticised the university,” said Makgoba.

More on Makgoba: page 2

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