Greetings to everyone

I am once again pleased to update you about Council's work. For the third time now, we had a successful Council meeting where we used a blended approach to our meeting to comply with all Covid-19 protocols and directives. Some of our Council members joined the meeting in person at the Mahikeng Campus, while others joined the meeting virtually.

Since our last meeting, the NWU family has lost staff members, colleagues, close relatives, and friends due to Covid-19. We trust that the Lord will continue to guide and give all the affected individuals and families strength during these difficult times. Please let us heed the calls to protect ourselves and those around us.

The issues that our ordinary meeting of Thursday, 17 June 2021, dealt with are outlined below.
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The current Conditions of Service have been in place since January 2005. Much has changed since then in terms of legislation and best practice. Council approved the process that has been initiated by the University Management Committee (UMC) to amend the conditions of service. Council noted that some of the necessary amendments are legislative while others are for operational reasons. In terms of the NWU Statute, Council must oversee the process towards the finalisation and approval of the conditions of service.
Due to the passing away of Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa, the process to fill the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Assigned Functions and Mahikeng Campus Operations will commence as soon as possible.
Prof Dan Kgwadi, the principal and vice-chancellor, presented a report to Council and highlighted the following aspects:
  • Macro-indicator trends in Post-School Education and Training (PSET)
  • Performance assessment report for 2020
  • Residence report; and
  • Infrastructure investment
Council commended Management regarding the progress made to sustain the university's core business amid the current challenges. Council is satisfied that Management will continue to monitor and address all challenges efficiently and effectively. Click here to view the VC's presentation.

Council approved the amendments on certain sections of the Statute. The revised statute will be submitted to the Department of Higher Education and Training for approval and promulgation. In broad terms the see the amendments include the following:
  • That, Council has the authority to determine the requisite skills and diversity targets to ensure that due sensitivity to race, gender and disability (must be observed in the election, designation and appointment of) are reflected in the membership of Council and its committees.
  • Council may request the specific constituency to consider the desired diversity, competency requirements and skills as it has determined.
  • That, the chairperson and deputy chairperson of Council hold their respective offices for a period of three years, and may be re-elected for one consecutive period of three years in accordance with the rules.
  • That, between meetings of Council, the executive committee may dispose of any urgent business as defined in the terms of reference of the executive committee, on behalf Council and that Council at its first ensuing ordinary meeting may consider, note and must record (review) and, where applicable, confirm all business so disposed of.
  • That, the following two functionaries be included as members of Senate.
    a) the deputy registrar, and
    b) the chief director of the NWU Business School.
  • The rules must provide for the manner and election of a Students' Campus Council (SCC) on each campus, the designation of members to the SRC, the term of office, and the functioning of the SRC; and
  • That, as determined by the constitution of the Convocation, a general meeting must be convened by the president at least once every three years at the seat of the university or another place determined by the president, taking into account the multi-campus nature of the university.
Once the amendments to the Statute have been promulgated, the new Statute will be published on the university website.

Council discussed the report from Management regarding the NWU public artwork and resolved as follows:
  • The construction of the tree artwork will continue
  • This artwork will not be placed on prominent locations as previously proposed by Management
  • A new process to determine and develop a public artwork that can serve as a demonstration of the NWU's unitary model will be embarked upon, and
  • Council will be represented in the Committee that will be driving the process.
The following policies and rules were approved and will shortly be available here:
  • Policy on Academic Integrity
  • Academic Promotions Policy
  • Smoking Policy
  • Information Governance Framework
  • Personal Information Policy
  • Reporting of Irregularities and Maladministration
  • Gender-based Violence Policy
  • Breastfeeding Policy
  • Rules on the nomination, election, designation, and appointment of Council members
Council noted that the process for the compilation of the academic calendar for 2022 has commenced and approved the 2022 draft framework for the academic calendar.

Council noted that the Presidency announced that 27 October 2021 will be a public holiday set aside for the election of leadership and public representatives at metropolitan, district, and local level. Therefore, Council approved that the day be cleared from our academic calendar.

Council approved that:
  • Afrocentric Governance of Public Affairs (AGPA) be established as a focus area.
  • Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR) continue to operate as research unit.
  • Centre of Excellence for Nutrition (CEN) continue to operate as centre of excellence.
  • Chemical Resource Beneficiation (CRB) continue to operate as focus area.
  • Community-Based Educational Research (Comber) be upgraded to a focus area.
  • Food Security and Safety (FSS) be upgraded to a focus area.
  • Optentia be upgraded to a research unit.
  • Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhASRec) continue to operate as focus area.
  • Social Transformation continue to operate as focus area.
  • UPSET continue to operate as a focus area; and
  • Unit for Reformed Theology and the development of SA Society (URT) continue to operate as a research unit.
The Regulations for Reporting by Public Higher Education Institutions (GG37726, 9 June 2014) determine that the Annual Integrated Report must be recommended by the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee to Council for approval. Council approved the 2020 Annual Integrated Report, as recommended, for submission to the DHET by 30 June 2021. We appreciate the determination and dedication of all involved in the compilation of the report. The stakeholder version of the report will be made available on the university's website as soon as it has been finalised.

Council approved the 2020 financial overview as well as the audited financial statements. Council appreciates the measures that are been implemented to address the impact of Covid-19.

Council noted the report regarding progress made by the university at various levels of operation to counter the impact of Covid-19. The report focused on the continuation of the 2021 academic year amid the uncertainty regarding NSFAS funding and the resultant students unrest, the adjustment of the NWU's teaching and learning strategy according to the identified needs as well as the adjusted alert levels of the country. The report also focused on ensuring the finalisation of the first semester of the 2021 academic year, while still ensuring adherence to national regulations and NWU protocols.

Various efforts have been put in place to ensure that our vibrant student life continues within the current limitations.

Council expressed its concern regarding the rising numbers of Covid-19 positive cases within the NWU community.

Council expressed appreciation for efforts taken to address the effects of the pandemic, and urges all stakeholders including students to cooperate with management to curb the spread of the virus.

The NWU can be proud of the way it had continued with the core business amid this crisis. Council will continue to closely monitor progress regarding the situation.

We are satisfied with the way in which the university is conducting its business, especially during these challenging times.

Once again, I want to congratulate the university management and Council for ensuring that the NWU remains focused on its objectives. I wish all members of the university community strength and resilience as we continue with the 2021 academic year. I am optimistic that it will continue to be another successful year for the NWU.

Please take care.


Dr MB Tyobeka
Chairperson: NWU Council

For more information please contact Amanda van der Merwe.
The next NWU Council meeting will take place on 9 September.