20 March 2019


To bring you up to speed with key issues that were discussed and decided during Council’s meeting on 18 March.

1. Nomination and appointment process of an NWU chancellor

2. Policies and rules
3. Renaming of the Law Centre on the Mafikeng Campus

4. Progress on staff and student culture review

5. NWU enrolment plan 2020-2025

6. Management report

7. Preferential procurement

8. Progress: investigation of allegations of plagiarism


Nomination and appointment process of an NWU chancellor

The second term of office of Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi as the chancellor of the NWU will expire on 26 September 2019.

Council has resolved to keep the nomination process open until further notice. Nominations for the filling of the vacancy may come from the following:

  • Council members
  • University Management Committee
  • Senate
  • Academic staff
  • Members from recognised trade unions
  • Support staff
  • Students
  • Convocation













    Click here for more information on the nomination process and to access the nomination form.

    Policies and rules

    The following policies and rules were approved and will shortly be available on http://www.nwu.ac.za/content/policy_rules:

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy
  • Admissions Policy
  • Policy and rules in regard to declarations of interest and of gifts
  • Policy on gatherings and demonstrations
  • Renaming of the Law Centre on the Mafikeng Campus

    The Faculty of Law operates legal assistance centres at our Mafikeng and Potchefstroom campuses and in Mbombela in Mpumalanga. The centre at our campus in Mahikeng is referred to as the Community Law Centre.

    Council has approved that this centre at Mahikeng be forthwith referred to as the Law Clinic Mahikeng in order to align the names of the legal assistance centres across all sites and to prevent confusion.

    Progress on staff and student culture review

    Council took note of the progress made regarding the NWU staff and student culture review project. The project aims to create a shared culture among staff and students, aligned to the university's strategy. The project has four phases: (i) to assess the NWU's existing culture, (ii) to craft the new NWU culture, (iii) to design the NWU change journey, and (iv) to institutionalise the new NWU WAY across the three campuses. Currently the project is in phase one which involves conducting culture conversations (30 sessions) with staff and (25 sessions) with students.

    The outcome of these conversations is envisaged to be a detailed picture of the current prevailing NWU culture.

    NWU enrolment plan 2020-2025

    The draft enrolment plan served at the Senate meeting of 29 August 2018 after which it was submitted to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The DHET hosted a national enrolment planning workshop in November 2018 to discuss the various aspects that universities must consider in their enrolment planning process. This was followed by a meeting between the NWU and DHET representatives on 27 November 2018.


    After consultation with the faculties and the University Management Committee (UMC), the final enrolment plan will be presented to Senate. Due to time constraints (as the plan must be submitted to the DHET on 15 April 2019), Council took note of the process as well as the proposed final enrolment targets. After approval by Senate, Council will still have to approve the final enrolment plan.

    Management report

    Council noted progress regarding the implementation of the university's strategy and congratulated management on the achievements.


    These achievements include the following:

    • The NWU remains one of the top seven higher education institutions in South Africa in terms of research outputs – the only institution without a medical school in this category.
    • In 2018, the NWU ranked sixth in South Africa for the number of National Research Foundation- (NRF-) rated researchers. The university had 236 NRF-rated researchers.
    • 14 national and international research awards
    • The NWU was named the top university for innovation in South Africa (SARIMA Report, 2017).
    • African Union honours DST/NRF SARChl Chair
    • NRF prestigious award in space research
    • Five out of five stars in the QS rating for teaching-learning, innovation and the employability of our graduates
    • Various top positions in the global Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)
    • National recognition for a range of our academic programmes

    Management's focus areas during 2019 include:

    • Investment in the NWU culture to enhance and consolidate implementation of our strategy.
    • Driving the development of staff and curriculum towards the integration of technology in teaching-learning and a blended learning experience for contact and distance students.
    • Creation of a conducive, sustainable and supportive environment to advance research excellence.
    • Pursuing the planning and implementation of multilingual support for students and multilingual pedagogies development for staff.
    • Diversification of income streams and improvement of operational cost-effectiveness and efficiency.
    • Improvement of the student administrative system to enhance service delivery, reduce support service transaction cost and improve turnaround time.

    Preferential procurement

    The NWU is currently at level 8 in terms of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) compliance and this poses challenges when the university tenders for external projects in order to increase its third stream income. Therefore, Council has resolved to introduce measures to address the problem in order to ensure the financial sustainability of the university. To this end, Council approved the following principles:


      1. The inclusion of the CIDB grading system within the tender process for building construction tenders.
      2. The inclusion of company share certificates as validated by the CIPC in the tender process.
      3. Use of the governmental central supplier database in the procurement process.
      4. Validation of the BBBEE certificate for the service provider that is recommended within the final steps of the procurement process (i.e. when evaluating the top three to five tenders).
      5. The reaffirmation that NWU procurement advertisements be placed widely to ensure that advertisements were received widely and the inclusion of advertisements on the Purchasing Consortium ("PURCO") website.
      6. The inclusion of Black Owned percentages in Tender Committee reports.
      7. The establishment of a target of 50% to 60% of total procurement spending to be for preferential procurement (black owned) but with no compromise on price and quality.
      8. The supplier and enterprise development spend of R10,8m per annum to train and develop black owned supplier and enterprise owners.
      9. A panel of professional consultants for construction projects should be selected and then appointed per project.
      10. 30% of procurement should be allocated to small local suppliers situated in the city/town where the specific campus is located.

    The university will communicate with stakeholders regarding these principles. A revised NWU Procurement Policy informed by these principles is expected to serve at the next Council meeting.

    Progress: investigation of allegations of plagiarism

    On 10 May 2017, the NWU received allegations of plagiarism against some of its academics from the Council on Higher Education (CHE). These allegations were viewed in a very serious light, especially when media articles were published in July of the same year that implicated members of staff other than those the university became aware of through the CHE. Vigorous processes were instituted to determine the authenticity of the allegations.


    Owing to the sensitivity of the matter, the university commenced with an investigation and has established a rigorous process involving various phases. These phases are a technical investigation by a plagiarism expert, establishment of a subject-matter expert panel to consider the technical report, and the involvement of an external review panel under the independent chairpersonship of a former acting judge. Support was also provided by an independent legal expert.


    During the Council meeting on 18 March 2019, Council took note of the progress into the investigation involving 21 current and former staff members. In regard to 10 persons who have been implicated and who are in the employ of the NWU, no prima facie evidence was found that pointed to plagiarism. These staff members have been informed accordingly.


    A prima facie case was made in regard to misrepresentation and plagiarism against two persons who have been implicated and who are in the employ of the NWU. The process in regard to these staff members had been concluded by the university. In taking all evidence and circumstances into account, it was resolved to reprimand these staff members, and to instruct them to refund the NWU in regard of the page fees paid in respect of the publication of the implicated article.


    Regarding five other staff members who have been implicated and who are in the employ of the NWU, sufficient evidence was found that pointed to misconduct. However, owing to the fact that the technical report pointed to alleged networks of possible academic collaboration among groups of researchers, the panel advised that the technical investigation be extended. The follow-up technical investigation has been concluded and would now be made available to the subject-matter expert team that would need to consider the report and would report accordingly to the external review panel.


    Prima facie evidence of plagiarism and falsification was also found against another staff member who had been implicated and who is in the employ of the NWU. This was in an article written in the time before the person had been employed by the NWU. Against the background of the preceding, the panel advised the vice-chancellor to note the evidence. The executive dean who reported the case had been informed of the advice by the external review panel.


    With regard to three other individuals who have in the meantime left the employ of the university, prima facie evidence was found pointing to academic misconduct, including plagiarism. Council endorsed the suggestion by the external review panel that the registrar brings to the attention of national higher education structures, the possible appropriateness of establishing a platform for information sharing on matters that violate academic integrity at the respective universities. The registrar will pursue this avenue.


    Council again emphasised that any acts that violate academic integrity by anyone associated with the university are condemned in the strongest possible terms, and if proven true, the involved parties will be dealt with in accordance with university disciplinary measures. Council also extended its appreciation to management for the rigor displayed in handling the matter.

    The next Council meeting will take place on 20 June 2019.

    For more information please contact Amanda van der Merwe