Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe has been elected as the next chancellor of the University of Cape Town (UCT), starting 1 January next year.
She takes over the reins from Graça Machel, who was first elected in 1999. Machel’s second term will finish at the end of 2019.
Moloi-Motsepe was elected by an electoral college consisting of holders of UCT qualifications, academic and Pass (professional, administrative support and service) staff, and students on Friday 30 August.
Making the announcement, UCT’s chair of council, Sipho Pityana said: “The university is privileged to have her serve as the chancellor of one of the leading institutions in the country and on the African continent. On behalf of UCT, I would like to thank the outgoing chancellor, Graça Machel for serving the university with remarkable distinction and great commitment for two 10-year terms, which spanned complex moments and incredible milestones.”
Moloi-Motsepe is a businesswoman and philanthropist who started her career in medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). She worked in various public hospitals in South Africa as well as at the Medical College of Virginia in the United States of America (USA).
Together with her husband, Dr Patrice Motsepe, she founded the Motsepe Foundation in 1999, and in 2013 they became the first couple from Africa to join The Giving Pledge. In addition to its development work in South Africa and across the African continent, the foundation has international partnerships with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the Harvard Kennedy School, the Milken Institute and various other philanthropic organisations. She established African Fashion International (AFI) in 2007. AFI’s mission is to aggregate the fragmented fashion and clothing industry on the African continent to make it commercially viable and sustainable.
UCT’s vice-chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said UCT’s board is looking forward to working with Moloi-Motsepe in moving the university to the next level and achieving excellence in transformation, research, teaching and learning, and social responsiveness. “I would like to congratulate Dr Moloi-Motsepe on being elected as our next chancellor, we are delighted to have her join the university. I look forward to working closely with her, the council and leadership in steering the academic project at this special institution.
“Mrs Machel has been such a support and leader for me and the executive of UCT and I would like to express our deepest thanks to her,” she said.
The chancellor is the titular head of the university and presides at graduation ceremonies, confers degrees, and awards diplomas and certificates in the name of the university. The role of chancellor requires an individual of stature with exceptional personal qualities and integrity.
Moloi-Motsepe holds an MBBCh and a diploma in child health from Wits, as well as a diploma in women’s health from Stellenbosch University. She authored a resource guide for women across South Africa, The Precious Little Black Book, and has produced the Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative South Africa.
Her professional associations include the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women’s Leadership Board and Centre for Public Leadership Council, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council, and the Cancer Association of South Africa (past president).