takes over Council reins
Dr Mzubanzi Bismark Tyobeka, one of the leading nuclear power experts in the world, is the new chairperson of the NWU Council.
Elected at the Council meeting on 16 March 2017, Bismark will steer the Council for the next three years. This follows the expiry at the end of March 2017 of the term of office of the previous chairperson, Adv Johan Kruger SC – Johan did not make himself available for re-election.
Bismark, the fifth chairperson of the NWU Council, has been a Council member since November 2014. He currently serves as chairperson of the Council’s Transformation Oversight Committee, and was recently appointed to its Student Oversight Committee as well.
Expertise at his fingertips
This proud NWU alumnus has held the position of CEO of the National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa (NNRSA) since 2013 and plays a major role in various initiatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
He serves on the IAEA’s International Advisory Committee on Nuclear Safety, is the vice-chairperson of the International Nuclear Regulatory Cooperation Forum, and also serves as the vice-chairperson of the Forum for Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa, among others.
Prior to his appointment as CEO of the NNRSA, he worked as a nuclear engineer at the IAEA in Austria for about five years. In the five years before that, he was a senior reactor physicist at Penn State University, and held the same position at Eskom for two years from 2000.
Despite his international prominence, Bismark has not forgotten his roots and keeps close contact with many former students who now work in the nuclear power industry in South Africa.
He obtained the degrees BScEd (1999) and MSc (2001) at the former University of North West and in 2004 another master's degree in Nuclear Engineering at Penn State University in the USA.
In 2005 he obtained a master's degree in project management at the Colorado Technical University in the USA and in 2007 his PhD in Nuclear Engineering at Penn State University.
Bismark was honoured with an NWU Alumni Award of Excellence in 2013 for his personal and career achievements, in particular for his huge contribution to nuclear science across the world.
Dr Mzubanzi Bismark Tyobeka is the NWU Council’s newly elected chairperson.
Flying the flag high
In his acceptance speech as chairperson, Bismark thanked the Council for the opportunity to serve the NWU and its communities and for the trust placed in him.
He intends to build on the excellent work, cohesion and momentum of his predecessors. “I am under no illusion that it will be an easy task, but I am confident that with the cooperation of all members, and the shared commitment to see the NWU succeed, we will make it happen.
"I take over the reins of council chairpersonship at a very critical juncture for the university. The monumental task of the Triple ‘S’ – Strategy, Structure and Statute – has been successfully concluded by Council under the stewardship of Adv Johan Kruger. I commend my colleagues in Council and the management team for a job well done.
"The next phase is the implementation phase. It is my view and intent that this phase will be executed under the close and watchful eye of Council and its subcommittees, to ensure that all stakeholders are taken on board. I also commend management for making sure that the restructuring will have minimal impact on staff as far as job losses are concerned.
"The era of a truly unitary NWU is upon us, and it is my vision to have the NWU claim its place at the top of the academic rankings in the country and internationally as one united university. There are lots of benefits in seeing this new phase through so that we continue to make our stakeholders proud to be associated with a world-class university such as ours.
“I look forward to walking the path with the NWU, and together we will be flying this institution’s flag high,” he says.
Adv Johan Kruger SC is the outgoing NWU Council chairperson.
Outgoing chair salutes NWU
Adv Johan Kruger SC has served as chairperson of the NWU Council since November 2014, leading the university through difficult times.
“The NWU's new strategy and restructuring process has been a complicated and sensitive matter, but my term as chairperson was assuredly also one of the most enriching experiences of my life,” he says.
“The quality of the people with whom I worked and served, fills me with hope for the future of our country and our institution. That goes for all those involved: Council members, management (institutional and campuses), and also the academic and support staff. I had the great privilege of dealing formally and informally with a wide variety of staff members and students. I will always cherish that. “NWU, I salute you, you have made my task an easy one,” he concludes.
On 16 March 2017, during the last meeting that Johan attended, Prof Dan Kgwadi, vice-chancellor, thanked him on behalf of management, staff and students, for his guidance during his term as chairperson of the NWU Council.