Thursday, 13 February 2020 was another important milestone in the history of the University of Venda as the new Council of the University participated in a very successful induction workshop. The new Council comprises of a host of experienced and capable members who are committed to take the University to another level. 

The Induction workshop took place at Euphoria Golf and Lifestyle Estate, outside Mookgophong. The purpose of this Induction workshop was to share and educate Council members about the roles and responsibilities of council in the institutions of higher learning and what is expected from them as council members. The Induction session received presentations from Dr Phillia Vukela, Director University Governance Support from the Department of Higher Education and Training; Mr Ahmed Essop, Consultant and Research Associate from Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Staff and Students, University of Johannesburg; Mr Nishan Pershad from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC); Dr Bernard Nthambeleni, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Jan Crafford Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Dr Robert Martin and Adv. Edward Lambani, Acting University Registrar. 

Dr Phillia Vukela

When addressing Council members, Dr Phillia Vukela, Director University Governance Support from the Department of Higher Education and Training spoke about the Co-operative Governance; Roles of councils in the higher education sector; Governance of Universities; Institutional statute and rules; Responsibilities of council in the higher education sector; governance of resources (human , finance and infrastructure); Public Accountability; Council Performance; Delegation of Authority; Governance vs Management; Composition of Council; Council Membership; competency framework for a council; competency framework for individual members of council; expectations of councils and its members; Council Committees; Minister and Council Relationships; Competency framework for the Chairperson; Ministerial directive; Appointment of Independent Assessor (IA); Functions of IA; Appointment of an Administrator, Guidelines of Good Governance; Current and Future Projects. 

Dr Vukela said, “Section 21(1) stipulates that the council of a public higher education institution must govern the public higher education institution, subject to the Act and the institutional statue.” She further explained that the council should always make sure that the institution is well managed. Council should be able to oversee and monitor the academic activities of the University.

Mr Ahmed Essop


Mr Ahmed Essop, Consultant and Research Associate from Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Staff and Students, University of Johannesburg highlighted that the society is entrusting that you will be able to take care of the University’s resources. “This is about how to manage the finance, infrastructure and the rest of the resources of the University.” He further spoke about the operations of the University and how a University should be managed. “The council should make sure that it protects the institution from outside operational interferences.” He also indicated the difference between the duties of Council members and that of Executive/Senior Management. “As Council Members, you have an important role to play of protecting, supporting and acting in the best interest of the University. It is your duty to operate as the overseers of the University”. Mr Essop said the Council should ensure that an institution is run ethically and is always financially sustainable. 

Mr Nishan Pershad from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC)

Mr Nishan Pershad from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) presented about University Council Governance. He indicated that a University should stick to its ethics, vision and mission in order to achieve its intended goals. Some of the issues he touched on included Integrated Governance Framework; Risk Management; Leadership and Ethics and Governance of Risks. 

Dr Bernard Nthambeleni, Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Dr Bernard Nthambeleni, Vice-Chancellor and Principal gave a high-level overview of the University of Venda: historical background of the University, achievements and its operations including the new strategic direction of the University. Among other things, Dr Nthambeleni spoke about the current status of the University of Venda; current Senior Management Structure; Review of UNIVEN Strategic Plan 2016-2020; the University’s Context; positioning UNIVEN for impact; UNIVEN strategic Plan 2021-2025; new Vision and Mission; Strategic Thrusts and Strategic Objectives 2021-2025; Infrastructure Development and completed buildings which include lecture halls, offices, standby power generators, water reservoirs and student residences including Buildings that are still under construction. 

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal indicated that the new strategic plan 2021-2025 is yet to be approved by Council in April 2020 and submitted to DHET in December 2020. “This will enable the University to be able to start to implement the new Strategic Plan 2021-2025 from the beginning of the year 2021”, concluded Dr Nthambeleni. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford among other things spoke about what the University will focus on henceforth. He said some of the focus include Ministerial Targets for Enrolment; Growth in Student Enrolments vs Growth in Academic Staff 2011 to 2020; UNIVEN size and shape directive from DHET; How Student Enrolments and Size and Shape determine Funding of the University; Ministerial Targets: Teaching Output; Student success rates from 2012-2018 (Ministerial target); Research at the UNIVEN; Ministerial Targets: Research Output; Research Publications Output 2008-2018; Growth in weighted per capita Research Output (including Masters and PhD Graduates). Prof Crafford further talked about Journal Publications Outputs by index between 2013 and 2014. Community Engagement Flagship Projects (Mukondeni Women Pottery Project and Vuwani Science Resource Centre) are some of the projects that Prof Crafford spoke about. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Operations, Dr Robert Martin talked about the Operations Division and Directorates under his Division that are Human Resources, Finance, Facilities Management, Information and Communications Technology (ICT); Student Affairs and Protection Services. He also highlighted their main challenges and mitigation factors thereof. He further spoke about the Operations Division plans. 

Acting University Registrar and Director Legal Services, Adv. Edward Lambani spoke about the Composition of Council; Functions of Council; Election of Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and Other Office Bearers of Council; Duties of Secretary of Council. He said Council operates through committees and currently UNIVEN has six existing Committees which are: Executive Committee of Council (Exco); Audit Committee; Finance Committee; Human Resources Committee; Student Affairs Committee; and Appeals Committee. 

Executive Committee of Council

Executive Committee of Council Front row L-R: Evans Selomo, Ndanduleni Makhari (Deputy Chairperson of Council), Juneas Lekgetha (Chairperson of Council), Dr Bernard Nthambeleni (Vice-Chancellor and Principal) and Beauty Mutheiwana. Back row L-R: Bhekumuzi Thompson, Mapotene Mangena, Dr Ryneth Mbhele, Dr Oscar van Heerden, Thovhele MPK Tshivhase and Adv. Edward Lambani 

During the induction workshop, the fundamental role of Council was made very clear. The Council, through its oversight and governance role is expected to be the pillar of strength in the University. 

The importance of understanding the roles and responsibilities of other stakeholders in the management of the University was noted. Understanding of these roles would enable Council to work smoothly with other internal stakeholders to ensure the growth, effective management and development of the University. 

Issued by: Department of Communications & Marketing, University of Venda, 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 , Date: 18 February 2020 

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