SAnews.gov.za Tshwane Pretoria
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

Former President Thabo Mbeki has been appointed as the new Chancellor of the University of South Africa (Unisa), as the institution repositions itself to be a transformed African university.

Mbeki takes over from Judge Bernard Ngoepe who stepped down this week after serving as a chancellor for 15 years.

In a statement, Unisa said the university had a rigorous process of selecting a new chancellor and there was consensus in selecting Former President Mbeki, an outstanding African intellectual giant and the most recognizable 21st century proponent of the African Renaissance, who is highly regarded internationally.

« He has been involved in various leadership roles in the anti-apartheid liberation struggle and post-apartheid nation-building programme for almost six decades. He continues to be involved in a range of conflict-resolution and development initiatives in Africa, » said Unisa Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya

Makhanya said in selecting and appointing a new chancellor, the institution carefully considered attributes and qualities that resonated with its vision and mission as articulated in its Strategy Vision 2030 to become « The African University Shaping Future in the Service of Humanity ».

Makhanya said that Unisa is in a process of transformation and it is repositioning itself as the African University, and it already has a range of Africa-focused programmes as well as a solid footprint on the African continent.

« Thabo Mbeki is the foremost proponent of the African Renaissance and he is still involved in a range of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction efforts. He has even been utilised by the United Nations to look into illicit trade in Africa and examine ways of resolving this challenge.

« We have observed his consistency, passion and dedication in the educational and intellectual engagement programmes. This is in line with and helps to reinforce our academic and research project, » said Professor Makhanya.

He added that Unisa’s partnership with the Thabo Mbeki Foundation is one of the institution’s flagship strategic relationships that have assisted in profiling the university globally and also led to the hosting of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI), the launch of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library as well as partnership with the South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET).

« The partnership with the Thabo Mbeki Foundation has greatly enhanced Unisa’s continental and global standing through a range of programmes. Unisa’s endeavours to be an intellectual home of African thought leadership and its repositioning to be a transformed African university playing a leading role in the realisation of the African Union Agenda 2063 will be greatly enhanced by this appointment of President Mbeki as our new Chancellor, » said Professor Makhanya.

He said this will also give impetus to their partnership with the African Union Commission which was formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in October 2013.

« As we welcome Former President Mbeki as our new Chancellor, we are excited about the value his stature and intellectual standing will add to our university at the time where the prospects of the Africa Rising Narrative seem to be realistic enough for the continent to claim its prominent place in the global community, » said Professor Makhanya.