The University of Venda Senior Management Committee hosted a fond farewell function in honor of its outgoing Vice Chancellor and Principal Prof Peter Mbati at a function held at the Porche-Villa hotel, outside Thohoyandou recently.

In his farewell message, Dean of the School of Human and Social Sciences, Prof Mokgale Makgopa said, anybody can become a “Boss”, however Prof Mbati hardly saw himself as a “Boss” but a visionary leader. Prof Makgopa further added that Prof Mbati has truly influenced many people. He said, Mbati possessed amongst other things, special talent, effort, humility, compassion and dedication for one to become a leader. “Prof Mbati’s leadership skills made it easy for him to manage the whole University, regardless of professional background. You led by persuasion rather than coercion.” Prof Makgopa further highlighted Prof Mbati’s open-door policy from which he had learned a lot. He further expressed that Prof Mbati has consistently proven to be a good listener, mentor and motivator. “Your wisdom and leadership has shaped the Univen to what it is today. Today Univen is favourably counted amongst the top Higher Education Institutions in South Africa.” Prof Makgopa said before Mbati’s arrival in 2008, Univen was not performing well, especially in research. However, everything changed for the better upon his arrival.

“Before your arrival, Univen was tiny, not so significant rural University. Today the University has become a construction site. Those who visited the University a few years ago now marvel at the new buildings. It is sad that you will exit your physical association with us while some of these buildings are yet to be completed. We can only hope that your successor will see through your infrastructural vision for the University,” concluded Prof Makgopa.

In his response, Univen Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Peter Mbati said when Univen community entrusted him with the responsibility of serving the University as its Vice Chancellor and Principal, he knew that he needed to work hard and develop strategies, with collective wisdom, the buy-in of the Council and staff at all levels form senior management, administrative and support staff, the unions, SRC and general student populace. Prof Mbati further said that above all, this position required a full support of Chairs of Council. He thanked Mr Serobi Maja and the previous Chairs that he worked with, Mrs Shirley Mabusela and Judge Yvonne Mokgoro.

Prof Mbati said the University’s strategic plan became an important sign post about where the University came from and where it need to go. He added that the introduction of decision registers allowed the University leadership to ensure that they deliver on previous commitments before setting new goals. “The future, through fraught with uncertainties especially as it relates to funding and sustainability of universities due to various factors such as inflation, global performance of the rand and #FeesMustFall campaign, present exciting possibilities.” He added that Univen will need to reimagine its governance and leadership to align to the new realities that demand increased third stream income funding; new and relevant curricula that repositions it into the new status of a top ten South African University; and most importantly, strengthened cohesion and unity purpose between all stakeholders to ensure a prosperous and successful Univen.

The University Registrar, Prof Edward Nesamvuni, in his opening, welcome and purpose of the event address told the audience that Prof Mbati has shown them what good leadership entails. He added that Prof Mbati will forever be missed for his splendid job that he has done during his two terms. Prof Nesamvuni wished Prof Mbati well in his future endeavors.

Prof Jan Crafford Proposed a vote of thanks and said Prof Mbati has positioned Univen to be a proper African University. “You have internationalized Univen on both African and global map. Your legacy is going to speak for itself,” concluded Prof Crafford.

Dr Robert Martin, Deputy Vice Chancellor Operations (Left), handing over a gift to Prof Peter Mbati (right)

Univen Senior Management Committee members and other Univen staff members posing for a photo during the SMC Farewell Function for Prof Mbati

Prof Mbati (Middle) and people who he has worked closely with since his arrival at Univen

During the farewell function, other members of staff had the opportunity to express their views about Prof Mbati’s leadership and his role in the advancement of the University of Venda.

Issued by: Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 24 December 2017

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