Greetings colleagues

I am pleased to update you about the issues that were discussed and approved at the NWU Council meeting of November 2021. Once again, we had a successful Council meeting where, for the first time since 2021, we had a face-to-face meeting on the Potchefstroom Campus.

Since our last meeting, the NWU community has again lost family members 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. I cannot overemphasise the importance of getting vaccinated to protect ourselves from hospitalisations due to Covid-19.

The issues that our ordinary meeting of Thursday, 18 November 2021, dealt with are outlined below.
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Council approved the appointment of Prof Sonia Swanepoel as deputy vice-chancellor for assigned functions and Mahikeng Campus operations for a term of three years, effective 1 January 2022.

She has been serving as acting deputy vice-chancellor for community engagement and Mahikeng Campus Operations since May 2021. Before that, she was the executive dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for four years.
Council has full confidence in Prof Swanepoel's ability to lead this campus to even greater heights, and wishes her well in her new capacity.

The first term of office of Prof Robert Balfour will come to an end on 31 August 2022. After following the necessary processes, Council decided to reappoint Prof Balfour for another term of five years, ending in 2027.

Council congratulates him on the sterling job done in his first term, especially keeping in mind the changes which had to be made during the Covid-19 pandemic. We wish him well for his second term.
The first term of office of Mr Clement Manoko will come to an end on 31 July 2022. After following the necessary processes, Council confirmed the reappointment of Mr Manoko for a next term of four years, ending in 2026.

Council is satisfied with the way in which this portfolio is managed and has taken notice of the progress made to continuously profile the NWU as a leading institution. Council looks forward to further initiatives to ensure that the NWU continuous to shine.

Prof Dan Kgwadi resigned on 7 November 2021 to take up the position as vice-chancellor at the Vaal University of Technology. Council has compiled a timeline for the appointment of the above position, and trust that the process would be finalised during Council's meeting in March 2022. Prof Kgwadi will leave office on 31 January 2022.

Council conveyed its appreciation to Prof Kgwadi for the excellent job done since his appointment on 1 April 2014, and wishes him well in his new position.

Under his leadership, the NWU has moved from strength to strength, and his legacy will forever be remembered. Also being an alumnus of the NWU, he will always remain part of this institution.

Prof Linda du Plessis, current vice-principal, will act as principal and vice-chancellor until the appointment of a new office bearer has been finalised.

Management presented a report to Council, highlighting the achievements under the leadership of Prof Kgwadi. The report focused on the following:
  • Strategy review and implementation
  • Implementation of the unitary structure
  • Rebranding of the institution
  • Implementation of the NWU language policy
  • Infrastructure development
  • The Culture and Climate Project
  • Digital business strategy
  • Ethics survey
  • External review of Council
  • Transformation
  • Areas of improvement
  • Challenges including Covid-19
  • Rankings; and
  • International accreditation
Council commended Prof Kgwadi, management and all staff members on the progress made since 2015. Council is satisfied that the university is coping with challenges as they arise, the way in which mitigating actions are put in place to ensure the smooth running of the university. Click here to view the presentation.

Council again took note of the follow-up report regarding the declaration of interest by staff members, as supplied by the external auditors of the university, PwC. The matter is viewed in a very serious light and Council is satisfied that it is addressed with the seriousness it deserves.

The drafting of a training programme for managers and FAQs for employees which will be rolled out in 2022, will assist in addressing the matter.

The following policies and rules were approved and will shortly be available here:
  • Fundraising and Development Policy
  • Rules for the Appointment of Office Bearers
  • Policy on Students living with Disabilities
  • Policy on the Promotion of Academic Staff
The revised conditions of employment, effective 1 January 2022, were approved.

It will be published on the staff intranet soon, and will also be communicated to all staff.
Council noted the status report on progress made regarding ethics management, which follows the release of the risk and opportunity assessment, and the communication thereof to internal stakeholders.

Council considered and approved the draft NWU Strategic Ethical Intent as well as an Ethics Strategy and an Ethics Management Plan. Full communication in this regard will follow.
The size and shape of the Office of the DVC: Teaching and Learning portfolio has grown over time, making it complex to manage. In order to address this issue, Council approved the following:
  • The Career Centre to report to the Executive Director: Corporate Relations and Marketing (CRM). The reason for this being that the centre can fulfil a valuable marketing role with CRM, and can facilitate important stakeholder relations - internally with faculties, and externally with graduate students and employers.
  • Library Information Service (LIS) to report to the Office of the DVC: Research and Innovation, as many of the reporting functions of LIS center around research rather than teaching and learning.

  • The Business School and the Unit for Continuing Education (UCE) to report to the vice-principal given the strategic importance for third stream income generation for the NWU. Council had previously already resolved to have the UCE reporting line directed to the chief director of the Business School.
Council approved the university's Annual Performance Plan (APP) for 2022. The APP serves as an important input into the budget process and determination of strategic projects, and will soon be made available on the staff intranet.

The approved plan will be submitted to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
Council approved the 2022-2024 budget, subject to the principle that the budget will need to be adjusted when new information is received from the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation (specifically regarding the subsidy allocation and fee increase adjustment recommendation, as well as actual enrolments 2022).

Council further approved the infrastructure project list and funds allocated for macro-maintenance projects, as well as the projected minimum fees payable by students. Communication regarding the percentage increase for tuition and residence fees will follow as soon as the university receives recommendations from the Minister.

Council approved the mid-year performance report which will now be submitted to the DHET, together with the financial performance for the six months ending 30 June 2021.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has in some instances negatively affected the university's performance, Council is satisfied with the way in which management overcame most of these challenges.

During 2020, university management approved the process towards the review of the Transformation Charter of the NWU, which was previously approved by Council in 2012.

Following an extensive consultation process, Council approved the new Transformation Charter, which will shortly be available on the university's website.

Council approved the framework of the academic calendar for 2022 on 17 June 2021, indicating the commencement of academic activities on 7 February 2022.

However, based on the fact that the release of the 2021 National Senior Certificate results will be on 21 January 2022, the academic calendar had to be adjusted.

The implication hereof is that the framework for the 2021 academic calendar is to be adjusted with two weeks.

Although classes in the first semester would commence two weeks later, a one-week adjustment is made in respect of other milestone dates. Council approved that classes for the first semester of 2022, will commence on 21 February 2022.

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 NWU Vaccination Plan, the standard operating procedure for staff, the timeline for implementation as well as the guidelines for managers as approved by university management on 10 November 2021.

Council further took note of how the process, including the finalisation of risk assessments, will be concluded.

Council also noted the progress made in establishing a standard operating procedure for students to ensure the optimisation of the 2022 academic programme and the continuation of student life activities. Of great significance to Council are the measures put in place regarding the approach to the 2022 academic programme.

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, thus ensuring that the NWU can return to a situation as close as possible to normality.

Therefore, we urge all staff and students to cooperate in all efforts made by the university, and to get vaccinated so that we can get back to our campuses and resume with full face-to-face activities.

Council will continue to closely monitor progress regarding the situation, and is 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 a well-deserved rest, and may you come back in 2022 with renewed energy. I am optimistic that 2022 will again 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 in March 2022.