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UCT Chancellor


UCT Chancellor

UCT Chancellor,


The chancellor is the titular head and representative of the university, and confers degrees in its name. The chancellor is elected for a 10-year term of office, by an electoral college. The electoral college is chaired by the president of convocation, and consists of 21 graduates or holders of diplomas, 6 academic staff, 6 administrative and support staff and 6 students, together with the president of convocation and the vice-chancellor.
Graça Machel was elected by the electoral college at its meeting on 18 September 1999. In 2010 she was elected unopposed as chancellor of UCT for a second term. Her name was the only one put forward following the call for nominations for the office. Her term of office will end in 2019.

Chancellor Graça Machel

Machel is the fifth chancellor of the University of Cape Town.
She was born in Mozambique’s southern Gaza province in 1945. She studied Germanic languages at Lisbon University.
During her country’s war of independence from Portugal, Machel worked underground for Mozambique’s liberation movement, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), which had set up schools in liberated territories and within their training camps in neighbouring Tanzania. She became deputy director of the Frelimo Secondary School at Bagomoyo, Tanzania, in 1974.
Upon her return to Mozambique at the age of 29, she was appointed state secretary of education in Mozambique’s interim government. When she married Samora Machel on 7 September 1975, she was minister of education and culture in the post-independence Mozambican government, and the only woman in the cabinet. She held the post for 11 years.
Passionate about education and the plight of children in the developing world, Machel has been a major force in increasing literacy and schooling in Mozambique, and has spoken for the rights of children, families and communities from platforms all over the world. After her ministerial appointment, she persuaded the Mozambican government to devote as much as 12% of the national budget to education – a rare feat in Africa. Within 5 years the illiteracy rate had been cut by 22%, and the school-going population increased from 400 000 to 1.6 million.
In 1994, the former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali appointed her to lead a study on the impact of armed conflict on children. Her report for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) led to a recommendation to approve a special representative of the secretary general on children in armed conflict.
Machel is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, chairperson of the National Organisation of Children of Mozambique and president of the country’s UNESCO commission.



The Vice-Chancellor is accountable to Council for the leadership of the university as a whole, and for determining the university’s strategic goals, and ensuring their implementation. This includes accountability for the university’s overall financial health, academic standing, transformation and social justice interventions.
She has executive oversight for Council accountability, fundraising and alumni initiatives, external relations, financial oversight, risk management and ceremonial functions.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng began her term of office as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town on 1 July 2018, where she had been serving as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation since January 2017. Previous to this appointment she served as Vice Principal for Research and Innovation at the University of South Africa (Unisa) for five years, after serving three years as Executive Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at the same university.
Her academic career began at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she started as a research assistant in 1996 and left in December 2007 as an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education – and Founding Director of the award-winning Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education – to take up the position of Executive Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Unisa in January 2008. She had a very successful tenure as Dean at Unisa and was promoted to serve as Vice Principal of a newly established portfolio of Research and Innovation on 1 July 2011. When her five-year term ended in 2016, she joined UCT.
Kgethi, as she is popularly known, obtained her first degree, majoring in pure mathematics, at the University of Bophuthatswana, now North-West University, in Mafikeng in 1987, obtaining a solid 74% for her final year pure mathematics module. She completed all her postgraduate studies, which ended with a PhD in Mathematics Education in 2002, at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she also served for five years as President of Convocation (2011–2016).
She is a highly regarded B1 National Research Foundation-rated scientist, with over 60 research papers and five edited volumes published. She has been invited to deliver over 40 keynote/plenary talks at international conferences, and has been invited as a visiting professor to universities around the world, including Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Senegal, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.
Kgethi has won numerous awards for her research and community work, including the Order of the Baobab (Silver) conferred on her by the President of South Africa in April 2016. In August 2014 CEO Magazine named her the most influential woman academic in Africa, and in August 2016 the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa awarded her the prestigious Businesswoman of the Year Award in the education category.
Her commitment to academia and research extends beyond personal advancement. She was elected as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in November 2007, an honorary member of the Golden Key International Honour Society in May 2009, and an honorary life member of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) in July 2009. In 2008 she was appointed to co-chair a study commissioned by the International Commission on Mathematical
Instruction titled “Mathematics and language diversity”, which was published as an edited volume, Mathematics Education and Language Diversity, in 2016.
She is member of the board of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) and currently chairs the Human Resource Development Council Standing Committee on Mathematics and Science Education. She served as member of the board of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and chaired its Research Development and Innovation Committee from January 2015 until September 2017.
She was elected in 2011 as the first woman President of the Convocation of the University of the Witwatersrand and served for five years until 2016. She led the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) as its first woman National President from 2002 to 2006, served as founding chairperson of the Board of the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) from 2004 to 2006, and as secretary and member of the executive committee of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) from 2003 to 2007.

UCT portfolio

The Vice-Chancellor is accountable to Council and to Senate for the leadership of the university as a whole, and for determining the university’s strategic goals in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, and ensuring their implementation. This includes accountability for the university’s overall academic standing, financial health, transformation and social justice interventions.
She has both direct responsibility for fundraising and public communication and oversight of the executive directors of the Development and Alumni Department and the Communication and Marketing Department.
She represents the university to its internal and external publics, which includes many ceremonial functions. She has executive oversight for risk management.
Portfolio responsibilities

  • Strategic leadership
  • Public relations, communications
  • External relations – other universities – bilateral and networks, government, corporate, international
  • Fundraising
  • Council accountability
  • Institutional financial sustainability
  • Risk management
  • Transformation
  • Ceremonial functions

Departments and individual reporting lines to VC (11)

  • Deputy vice-chancellors (3)
  • Chief Operations Officer
  • Registrar
  • Executive Director: Communication and Marketing
  • Executive Director: Development and Alumni
  • Director: Office of the Vice-Chancellor
  • Director: Special Advisor to the VC – Strategic Relations and Engagements
  • Director: Internal Audit
  • University Ombud (indirect report)

Committee membership

  • Council
  • Council Executive Committee
  • Senate (Chair)
  • Senate Executive Committee (Chair)
  • Senior Leadership Group (Chair)
  • University Strategy Forum (Chair)
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Management Advisory Group (VCMAG) (Chair)
  • Resource Allocation Advisory Groups (RAAG)
  • Employment Equity Forum (Chair)
  • Institutional Forum
  • University Finance Committee
  • Risk Management Committee (Chair)
  • University Audit Committee
  • University Development Committee (Chair)
  • Alumni Association Management Committee
  • University Foundation
  • Ukukhula Trust
  • Remuneration Committee
  • Joint Investment Committee
  • College of Fellows (Chair)
  • Admissions Committee
  • Teaching and Learning Committee
  • Academic Freedom Committee (AFC)
  • Appointments Committee
  • Honorary Degrees Committee
  • Baxter Theatre Centre Board

Committees and networks outside UCT

  • Universities South Africa (USAf)
  • Worldwide Universities Network (WUN)
  • Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC)
  • World Economic Forum
  • Global University Leaders Forum
  • UCT Fund: USA (Board of Trustees)
  • UCT Fund: UK (Board of Trustees)
  • Mauerberger Foundation Fund (Director)
  • Association of African Universities (AAU)
  • Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
  • Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls
  • Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) Standing Committee on Mathematics and Science (Chair)
  • FirstRand Foundation (Board of Trustees)

Email:  [email protected]

Pro vice-chancellors

At UCT a Pro vice-chancellor is responsible for strengthening and raising the profile (both internally and externally) of a particular major strategic area or initiative that crosses faculty and departmental boundaries.
Their role includes:

  • academic leadership
  • fostering co-operation between internal and external stakeholders
  • creating synergies between community interest and the existing research strengths of UCT
  • leading fundraising efforts
  • lending it central institutional support.

Professor Mark New | Professor Murray Leibbrandt

Professor Mark New

Professor Mark New is the pro vice-chancellor and director of the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI).
Acting on behalf of the vice-chancellor, New focuses on the climate and development challenges of Africa from an African perspective. He works to extend climate research at UCT, as well as continuing his own research.
New graduated from UCT with a BSc Geology in 1986 and completed his honours the following year. He received an MPhil in environment and development from Cambridge University in 1992 and a PhD in geography (climate change and hydrology) from the same institution in 1998.
Over the last 12 years, his experience includes:

  • lecturer with Oxford University’s master’s programme in Environmental Change and Management
  • academic director of Oxford University’s MSc in water science, policy and management
  • supervision of doctoral students.

He has an international reputation and track record and has attracted significant external funding for large research programmes.
In addition to cutting-edge research in the United Kingdom, New also has experience of climate and development issues through work in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and South America.

Professor Murray Leibbrandt

Professor Leibbrandt  is pro vice-chancellor for poverty and inequality.
Leibbrandt teaches in the School of Economics and is the director of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit. He holds the National Research Chair of Poverty and Inequality Research and is a research fellow for IZA – the Institute for the Study of Labour in Bonn, Germany.
His research focuses on South African poverty, inequality and labour market dynamics. He is currently one of the principal investigators on the National Income Dynamics Study commissioned by the Presidency. He is a past president of the African Econometric Society and of the South African Economic Society.
A graduate of Rhodes University, where he obtained his BSocSc and honours degrees, and Notre Dame where he graduated with an MA and PhD, Leibbrandt has held academic posts in South Africa and abroad. He began his career as a lecturer at Rhodes University and came to UCT in 1994. He has held a visiting fellowship at Cornell University, and visiting professorships at the University of Michigan and Yale University.
Leibbrandt has participated in a number of committees tasked with poverty reduction, as well as uplifting and improving the standards of living in South Africa and internationally.
He was a member of

  • South Africa’s first post-apartheid Labour Market Commission
  • the international panel evaluating World Bank Research into poverty and inequality
  • the international panel on population growth and human welfare in Africa.

Professor Leibbrandt has been the recipient of numerous honours, scholarships, bursaries and awards.
He has written extensively on the subject of poverty and inequality, with a wide range of journal articles, book chapters and books published under his name.



Deputy vice-chancellors

UCT’s deputy vice-chancellors (DVCs) are:

  • Institutional Innovation: Professor Anton le Roex (acting)
  • Research and Internationalisation: Professor Michael Kyobe (acting)
  • Teaching and Learning: Associate Professor Lis Lange
  • Transformation: Professor Loretta Feris

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Institutional Innovation)

Professor Anton le Roex
Professor le RoexProfessor Anton le Roex was appointed as acting DVC for institutional innovation on 1 February 2018, after completing his 7-year tenure as dean of science at the end of December 2017.
Le Roex was appointed as dean of the science faculty on 1 January 2011.
In addition to posts at UCT, he held teaching and research posts at the University of Hawaii and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
Although Le Roex grew up in Pietermaritzburg, he travelled south to earn his BSc cum laude (geology, geochemistry) from the University of Stellenbosch (1975), his BSc Hons, first-class (geochemistry), at UCT in 1976 and his PhD (geochemistry) at UCT in 1980.
In addition to his teaching and research duties at UCT, Le Roex has held numerous administrative posts. He headed the Department of Geological Sciences from 1991 to 2005. He has been a member of the Senate since 1991, and was a student advisor in the Faculty of Science from 1986 to 2002. Since 1998 he has served on 17 UCT and science faculty standing committees and he remains active on at least 10.
Le Roex is or has been active on the following scientific committees and working groups:

  • South African Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SASCAR – Earth Sciences Committee
  • Council of the Geological Society of South Africa
  • NRF Open Research Programme Earth Science Evaluation Committee
  • NRF National Isotope Working Group
  • Southwest Indian Ridge Working Group of the International InterRIDGE Programme
  • NRF Proposal Funding Committee (2001 to 2004)
  • editorial boards of the Journal of African Earth Sciences and the Open Mineralogy Journal.

He is a member of the Geological Society of South Africa, the American Geophysical Union, the Electron Microscopy Society of South Africa, the Mineralogical Society of South Africa, the Royal Society of South Africa and the Geochemical Society.
In addition, Le Roex has authored or co-authored 86 articles in peer-reviewed journals; 2 chapters in books; 23 extended abstracts and 95 abstracts. His collaborations with other academic institutions and colleagues extend to the US, France, Germany, England, Botswana and Kenya.
Portfolio responsibilities

  • Faculty affairs
  • Information and Communication Technology Services (including classroom facilities)
  • UCT Libraries
  • Human Resources
  • Academic and PASS staff negotiations

Departments and individual reporting lines

  • Faculty deans
  • Director: Graduate School of Business
  • Executive Director: Human Resources
  • Executive Director: Information and Communication Technology Services
  • Executive Director: UCT Libraries

Committee membership

  • University Human Resources Committee
  • Deans’ Forum (Chair)
  • Ad hom promotions committees (all faculties)
  • Honorary Professors Standing Committee (Chair)
  • Consultative Forum on Academic Staff Matters (Chair)
  • Employees Union Consultative Forum (Co-chair)
  • Employee Relations Management Committee
  • Job Evaluation Committee (Chair)
  • Staff Development Committee (Chair)
  • PASS Forum (Chair)
  • Senior Staff Management Advisory Group (SSMAG) (Chair)
  • Operations Management Advisory Group (Opsmag) (Chair)
  • University Information and Communication Technology Committee (Chair)
  • Graduate School of Business Advisory Board

Committees outside UCT

  • African Scholars’ Fund (Trustee)
  • Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (Director)
  • Freedom under Law (Director)
  • Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Member of the advisory council)

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Internationalisation)

Professor Michael Kyobe
Michael KyobeProfile
Professor Kyobe is currently the Deputy Dean of Research and Internationalisation in the Faculty of Commerce. He joined the University of Cape Town as Associate Professor of Information Systems in 2004. In 2014 he was promoted to full professor. He is an NRF-rated researcher. In addition to his responsibilities in the Research and Internationalisation portfolio in the faculty, at institutional level, Professor Kyobe also serves as a member of the following committees: University Research Committee (URC), Committee for Research Reviews (CRR), Postgraduate Student Funding Committee (PSFC) and the eRA Project Implementation Committee. He also serves on a number of external national and international bodies.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning)

Associate Professor Lis Lange
Prof Lis Lange
Associate Professor Lis Lange’s term of office began on 1 February 2018.
Lange joined UCT from the University of the Free State (UFS), where she has held the same position. Before that she headed UFS’s Institutional and Academic Planning and Research Department from 2011 to 2014. She was an executive director for the Higher Education Quality Committee in the Council on Higher Education (CHE) from 2006 to 2010 and was acting CEO of the CHE from 2007 to 2008. During her service in the CHE, she secured funding for research projects on higher education from the following international funders: Fulbright, Nuffic, Carnegie Corporation and Ford Foundation.
Lange was born in Argentina and is a permanent resident in South Africa. She earned a BA(Hons) in history from the University of Buenos Aires in 1984, an MA in African studies from El Colegio de Mexico in 1988, and a PhD in history from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1998.
Lange’s research interests focus on the philosophy and politics of education. She has done research on change in higher education as well as on the meanings and possibilities of the notion of transformation, especially at curricular level. Her current work is on higher education curriculum and pedagogy in the context of the call for decolonisation of the curriculum.
She has participated on a number of national task teams of higher education, including

  • University Fees, Council on Higher Education, 2016
  • Transfer of the Colleges of Agriculture from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to the Department of Higher Education and Training, 2016
  • Funding of Higher Education, Department of Higher Education and Training, 2012
  • Consensus Group on the Humanities, South African Academy of Science, 2009–2010
  • Quality of Academic Journals, South African Academy of Sciences, 2006–2008.

Lange is the author of White, Poor and Angry: White working class families in Johannesburg (Ashgate, UK, 2003) and co-editor with Leonhard Praeg of #MustFall: Understanding the moment (UKZN University Press, forthcoming 2018). A small sampling of the policy research she has conducted on South African higher education includes, among other reports

  • “Teaching and learning beyond formal access: Assessment through the looking glass” (Higher Education Monitor, No 10, 2010)
  • “Access and throughput in South Africa: Three case studies, 2006–2008” (Higher Education Monitor, No 9, 2010)
  • “Postgraduate studies in South Africa: A statistical profile” (Higher Education Monitor, No 7, 2009).

Portfolio responsibilities

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Institutional Planning
  • Properties and Services (including Space and Physical Infrastructure)
  • Finance

Departments and individual reporting lines

  • Dean: Centre for Higher Education Development
  • Executive Director: Properties and Services
  • Director: Institutional Planning Department
  • Executive Director: Finance

Committee membership

  • Austerity Steering Committee (Chair)
  • University Building and Development Committee
  • Space Allocation Committee (Chair)
  • Physical Planning and Landscape Sub-Committee
  • Senate Teaching and Learning Committee (Chair)
  • Teaching Awards and Grants Committee (Chair)
  • Distinguished Teachers’ Award Sub-Committee (Chair)
  • University Finance Committee
  • Quality Assurance Committee (Chair)
  • Adult Learning Sub-Committee (Chair)
  • Programme Accreditation and Approval Sub-Committee (Chair)
  • Examinations and Assessment Committee (Chair)
  • Risk Management Committee
  • Admissions Committee

Ad hoc committees

  • Budget Review Task Team (Chair)
  • Size and Shape Task Team (Chair)

Committees outside UCT

  • DVC representative on Council on Higher Education: Quality Enhancement Project Coordinating Committee
  • African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (Council Chair, and trustee)
  • Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS): Academic Advisory Board


  • InterAcademy Partnership (Steering Committee member)
  • International Council for Science (President-elect and executive board member)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Transformation)

Professor Loretta Feris
Prof Loretta FerisProfessor Loretta Feris took up her portfolio as DVC for transformation on 1 January 2017.
Feris is primarily responsible for the student affairs and transformation portfolios and provides direction with respect to policies, processes and procedures that are pertinent to decolonisation and transformation as it affects both the student and staff experience. These include institutional culture, discrimination and harassment, HIV/AIDS, disability services, employment equity, student demographic change and student financial aid policies.
She currently chairs the Rapid Response Task Team (RRTT), which was set up to monitor and respond to issues that arise as a result of the implementation of the 6 November agreement with students. The RRTT is also leading the research and engagement project on fee-free higher education.
Feris’s research focus has helped shape her for the transformation portfolio. She is a National Research Foundation-rated researcher whose work is aimed at shaping conversations around environmental law and human rights, accountability and social justice – both in South Africa and around the globe.
Before joining UCT she was associate professor of law at the University of Pretoria (2004–2009), where she was instrumental in developing a master’s programme on trade and investment law in Africa. Her career also includes a stint at the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington DC, USA, first as International Legal Studies Fellow (2000) and later as Assistant Director of the International Legal Studies Program, Assistant Coordinator of the Humphrey Fellowship Program and Adjunct Professor of Law (2001–2004).
Feris joined UCT in 2009 as associate professor in the Faculty of Law, where she was director of the Institute for Marine and Environmental Law before her appointment as DVC. She lectured in pollution law, natural resources law and international environmental law.
She has served UCT in a number of positions. Within the Faculty of Law, she held the chair of the Higher Degrees Committee and, until the end of 2015, she was the director of research, during which time she also served on the Faculty Management Board.
She has been a member of the University Research Committee and held the position of deputy chair of UCT’s Conference and Travel Committee (2012–2015) and chaired the committee in 2016. Until early 2016 she was the vice-chair of the Black Academic Caucus.
Feris advises the United Nations Environment Programme on priority areas for the environmental law agenda. She is a law commissioner of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and a member of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, where she served on the teaching and training committee (2007–2009) as well as on a task team on innovative teaching of environmental law (2009).
Portfolio responsibilities

  • Institutional Forum
  • Institutional culture
  • Discrimination and harassment, HIV/AIDS, disability services
  • Employment equity

Departments and individual reporting lines

  • Student Affairs
  • Transformation Services Office
  • Disability Services
  • Safety and Violence Initiative

Committee membership

  • Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) (board member)
  • University Council
  • Senate
  • Nominations Committee
  • Admissions Committee
  • Institutional Forum Committee
  • College of Wardens
  • Residence Committee
  • University Student Affairs
  • University Transformation Advisory Committee
  • Sports Council

Committees outside UCT

  • Biowatch (board member)
  • Natural Justice (board member)

Previous vice-chancellors

UCT’s vice-chancellors from 1918 to the present are listed below.

  1. Sir John Carruthers Beattie (1918–1938)
  2. AW Falconer (1938–1947)
  3. TB Davie (1948–1955)
  • RW James (in an acting capacity, 1956–1957)
  1. JP Duminy (1958–1967)
  2. Sir Richard Luyt (1968–1980)
  3. Stuart Saunders (1981–1996)
  4. Mamphela Ramphele (1997–2000)
  5. Njabulo S Ndebele (2000–2008)
  6. Max Price (2008–2018)
  7. Mamokgethi Phakeng (2018–)