The Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State, is searching for a suitable candidate to fill the position of vice-chancellor and principal.
The institution announced this on Thursday (30/09), following the departure of Prof. Henk de Jager, who had been in this influential role for longer than four years, on the same day.
He left nine months before his contract was set to expire. No explanation has been given for this.
De Jager had been placed on precautionary suspension by the university twice, in November 2020 and in March this year, to allow for investigations into numerous allegations against him.
He assumed the position in May 2017, when he succeeded Prof. Thandwa Mthembu, who had left the CUT in September 2016.
Matthew Rantso, chairperson of the CUT council, said the candidate who would be suitable to fill the position next should be capable of realising Vision 2030 of the university to be a leading African university of technology, shaping the future through innovation.
He has praised De Jager for his enormous contribution.
“The CUT council is proud of his contributions, especially his sustained efforts in building external partnerships with government, business and industry,” said Rantso.
“He served under extraordinary challenges. The CUT wishes Prof. de Jager every success with the future and hopes he continues to have a positive impact on education.”
De Jager’s association with the institution dates back to 2012, when he took up the position of deputy vice-chancellor academic and research until 2015. Later on he served as deputy vice-chancellor for research, innovation and engagement.
He is being credited for significant strides made at the CUT, including increasing permanently appointed academic staff with doctorates to 40%, as well as adding numerous academic, research and innovation programmes to the institution’s offerings.
“I will always be thankful for the work we, as a collective, have achieved at the CUT and the meaningful relationships that we have developed over the years,” said De Jager.
He has conveyed his appreciation to the CUT and its council for allowing him to lead the university under complex challenges brought about by Covid-19.
“I am optimistic that the CUT will continue to impact the lives of all South Africans positively,” he said.