Greetings to everyone

It is again an honour and privilege to update you about Council's work. Once again, we had a successful Council meeting where we used a blended approach to our meeting.

Since our last meeting, much has happened at the university, among others the inauguration of Dr Bismark Tyobeka as third principal and vice-chancellor during an auspicious event held on 26 August. Council has with sadness taken note of several Council members, staff and students who have passed away since the previous Council meeting.

We express our sincere condolences to the bereaved families as well as the respective campus communities.

On Tuesday, 7 September, during a cocktail event, Council honoured 18 outgoing Council members for their contribution during their respective terms.

During the same event, Dr Adele Broodryk, a senior lecturer in the School of Human Movement Sciences at the Faculty of Health Sciences, was also recognised for being the first South African woman to cross the line during the recent Comrades Marathon. She claimed the overall third position in the women's race category.

Mr Tete Dijana, winner of the men's race, was also recognised for his achievement. He is a familiar face on the university's Mahikeng Campus where he is providing security services for the Mi7 National Group, an external services provider. These winners' strength and resolve are a testament of the resilience of the human spirit. The NWU is proud to be associated with them. They are true brand ambassadors.

The issues that our ordinary meeting of Thursday, 8 September 2022, dealt with are outlined below. Please view my message here.

Management presented a report to Council, highlighting the activities and achievements since the last Council meeting, with specific focus on the goals of the university:
  • Goal 1: Promote excellent learning and teaching and reposition the NWU to attain the size and shape required by the market direction decisions.
  • Goal 2: Strengthen research and innovation with a strategic focus on internationalisation.
  • Goal 4: Develop a clearly differentiated student value proposition.
  • Goal 5: Attract, develop, and retain excellent staff by creating an environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.
  • Goal 6: The development and implementation of a digital business strategy to create a competitive advantage for the university and ultimately unlock alternative revenue streams.
Also included is feedback on the recent Council on Higher Education audit of the university.

Council noted the good work and progress made and congratulated the vice-chancellor on his 100th day in the office. View the presentation here. Council also took note of his vision as announced during his inauguration.

The following policy was approved and will shortly be available here:
  • Revision of the Rules for the nomination, election, designation and appointment of Council members and the revised Council equity targets
Council further approved the repeal of the Policy on Governance Oversight and Management Control.
Council approved that the unit will in future be known as the Unit for Data Science and Computing (UDSC). This research unit focuses on basic and applied research in the broad areas of applications of data science and computing. Research is done in close collaboration with partners from the financial services providers and telecommunications sectors, and focuses on risk analytics and decision modelling.

Council approved the relocation of Public Administration from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences to the Faculty of Humanities. Although the rationale for the placement of Public Administration in the Faculty of Humanities is predominantly academic, the decision was guided through thorough and well-researched academic arguments, consultation within and between the two faculties, as well as practical considerations.

During the previous Council meeting, management was requested to consider a hotline for the reporting of irregularities at the university. Council took note of the suggested amendments to the NWU Policy on Maladministration, Irregularities and Protected Disclosure, to account for the inclusion of an independent external service provider for whistle-blowing purposes. Once this has been approved by Council, further communication will follow.

At the Council meeting held on 23 June, Council requested management to investigate the issue of worldwide ranking and rating systems.

Management then presented its views regarding the strategic role that participation in ranking and rating systems play in the higher education sector. Council agreed with management to focus on the ones that are considered strategic and focus on key issues that support the university's strategic objectives.

It must be noted that some of the agencies rank or rate universities without the universities' submission of data but use publicly available information.

The Minister of Higher Education Science and Innovation has published a call for public comment on the Draft Policy for the Recognition of South African Higher Education Institutional Types on 8 August 2022. The purpose of the policy is to give effect to the institutional types provided for by the Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997, as amended). The policy provides criteria for the recognition of higher education colleges, university colleges, and universities.
The three types are defined in the Act in terms of scope and range of their activities, and governance – as an important element in the establishment and operations of higher education institutions that forms part of institutional criteria.

Council noted that NWU stakeholders were requested to assess the impact of the draft policy on the NWU, and that the NWU views/comments have been submitted to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.

I once again want to thank all members of the university community for their diligence in ensuring that the NWU remains one of the top universities in the country. Council has full confidence in the way that management is steering the university.

Best wishes


Bert Sorgdrager
Chairperson: NWU Council

For more information please contact Amanda van der Merwe.
The next NWU Council meeting will take place in Mahikeng on 17 November 2022.