THE Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State, will bid farewell to Prof. Thandwa Mthembu. He will step down as vice-chancellor and principal at the end of September, according to an announcement by the institution. Mthembu will end his illustrious tenure after nine years at the helm of the institution. He has occupied the post of vice-chancellor and principal of the CUT since 2007. Mike Mohohlo, chairperson of the CUT council, believes Mthembu had laid a solid foundation for the institution to continue as one of the leading institutions of higher education in the country. “A solid foundation has been laid by Prof. Mthembu to position the CUT as the institution of choice when it comes to social and technological innovations. We assure all our partners that we will continue to build on this vision to be the preferred University of Technology in South Africa,” said Mohohlo.He said the institution was yet to name Mthembu’s successor. Mohohlo stated that during his tenure at the CUT, Mthembu had been mandated to pursue goals of the council’s transformation agenda to move the university forward. “He managed to achieve all of these. On top of this, he won several awards, the most recent being one which he received at the World Education Congress in Mumbai, India, for his contribution to education. He has truly moved the university new heights of achievement.” On an international level, he said, Mthembu had led many sterling initiatives which had helped to revolutionise the CUT’s curriculum, thereby making the CUT’s programmes unique and sought-after by several industries. “Through his strategic thinking approach, and as a result of his innovative spirit, he managed to lead the university towards developing a breed of graduates that were entrepreneurially orientated, to start their own companies and create jobs for others.”Mohohlo said Mthembu had joined the institution at a tumultuous stage, during which time it was experiencing financial challenges. “He managed to turn these challenges around by introducing a new vision and by revising financial management systems, policies and procedures.” Mthembu has expressed his gratitude to the institution. “I will forever be grateful to each one of you for this great opportunity I have had. As I leave to share the lessons and skills with others in the sector who are interested in the CUT, please know that you are the ones sharing them, but through me,” said Mthembu.Madam Justice Mahube Molemela, the CUT’s newly-inaugurated chancellor, thanked Mthembu for progress made in his tenure.“We have been very fortunate to have had his leadership for so long,” said Molemela.