University bosses still rake in millions

2012-01-22 18:30
Johannesburg - The heads of the country’s public universities continue to rake in millions of rands in salaries despite government’s promise to cap their pay.

Professor Malegapuru Makgoba of the University of KwaZulu-Natal is the highest-paid serving vice chancellor in the country, with a salary of more than R3.4m a year.

Until his retirement in December 2010, the University of South Africa’s former boss, Professor Barney Pityana, was the highest paid at R3.7m.

Controversial former Mangosuthu University of Technology vice chancellor Aaron Ndlovu was previously the highest paid – at R3.68m six years ago.

The University of Johannesburg’s Professor Ihron Rensburg’s salary of R3.3m is not far behind.

Makgoba and Rensburg earn more than their boss, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, who earns R1.9m a year.

Even President Jacob Zuma (R2.5m) and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe (R2.2 m), are paid less than many vice chancellors.

Though the University of Pretoria has more students than the University of KwaZulu-Natal, its vice chancellor, Professor Cheryl de la Rey, earns R2.2m - about R1.2m less than Makgoba.

Unisa is the country’s biggest university, with about 300 000 students.

The University of Pretoria has more than 57 000 students while the University of KwaZulu-Natal has about 42 000.

Top universities

Rensburg’s institution has about 50 000 students.

Only Cape Town (ranked 103), Stellenbosch and Wits feature in the 2011/12 Times Higher Education’s list of the world’s top universities. Stellenbosch and Wits are in the top 300.

In another list, the 2011 QS Top 500 Universities, the University of Cape Town (UCT) is at 156 while Stellenbosch makes it into the world’s leading 450 universities.

However, UCT’s Dr Max Price and Professor Loyiso Nongxa of Wits both earn R2.2m, while Professor Russel Botman of Stellenbosch University is paid R2.4m.

UCT has about 25 000 students, Wits has 30 000 while Stellenbosch has about 28 000.

Nongxa also set up the Mosa Limakatso Nongxa Memorial Scholarship Fund, now worth about R150 000, which he personally funds.

A R30 000 scholarship, named after Nongxa’s daughter who died at eight, is awarded to Wits mathematical sciences students from modest backgrounds.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said Nongxa started the R2.7m Vice Chancellor’s Bursary Fund in 2007. It is funded by Wits staff, including Nongxa.


In April 2010, Higher Education Minister Nzimande promised to establish guidelines for each university council to follow in setting executive remuneration.

“The salary gap between managers and academics [as well as between the vice chancellors and the lowest-paid workers] has grown enormously over the past 15 years,” Nzimande said at the time.

He said there was no consistency in the criteria used to determine executive salaries among institutions.

Muzi Khumalo, Nzimande’s spokesperson, did not respond to City Press’ questions on progress made on the guidelines.

SA Students Congress president Ngoako Selamolela said the salaries could be used to improve student services and open the doors of learning for poor students.

“High salaries for vice chancellors are not justified. Capping the salaries of managerial staff in universities might be a better option.”

According to Selamolela, the value added by university bosses is not equivalent to the exorbitant salaries they are paid.
Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  barney pityana  |  max price  |  kgalema motlanthe  |  jacob zuma  |  russel botman  |  education

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

How much food do you need to concentrate?

We have been taught that we need three meals a day in order to make it through the day and while most of us indulge in more than our fair share there is a large portion of South Africans who are living off barely enough to sustain them.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.