Professor Mosa Moshabela to be announced as UCT Vice-Chancellor

Professor Mosa Moshabela to be announced as UCT Vice-Chancellor

University of Cape Town (UCT) council president Norman Arendse is expected to announce Professor Mosa Moshabela as the university’s new chancellor on Friday.

Moshabela, whose name was proposed by the UCT Senate, is currently deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

He is also a faculty member at the Global Health, Infectious Diseases and HIV Implementation Research Institute at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, United States.

In his role at UKZN, Moshabela oversees a large portfolio at an institutional level, including research management, development, ethics, integrity, capability development, innovation, entrepreneurship, technology transfer and commercialization.

Read more at Daily Maverick: UCT council still in talks to elect new VC, but Moshabela is Senate favorite

Other positions he holds or has held include Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Research Foundation, former Chairman of the Standing Committee on Health of the South African Academy of Sciences and former member of the Board of Directors of the South African Medical Research Council.

According to his resume, Moshabela is a doctor who works as a specialist. His qualifications include Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery obtained at UKZN in 2001; Diploma in HIV from South African Medical Schools in 2006; Master of Family Medicine from the University of Limpopo in 2009; Doctor of Philosophy from Wits University in 2012 and Master in Demography and Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom in 2017.

He will replace Professor Dayanand Reddy, who has been acting as acting vice-chancellor since the departure of Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng on March 3, 2023.

An independent panel tasked with investigating governance failures at the University of Cape Town published a report in November last year that painted a picture of a deeply divided and traumatized university.

He was ardent in his condemnation of both former Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng and former UCT Council President Babalwa Ngonyama, stating: “To conclude that the conduct of Ngonyama and Phakeng during this period amounted to a failure of governance would be an understatement.”

The report by an independent panel investigating governance failures at UCT in recent years harshly criticized Phakeng. She painted a picture of a thin-skinned, narcissistic leader who exploited and encouraged racial divisions, speaking a narrative of racial empowerment in public while she kept some of her worst abuses against black women private.

Read more at Daily Maverick: Independent report blasts recent UCT leaders, criticizes Mamokgethi Phakeng

There is no doubt that Moshabela will have to prioritize the recovery of the institution.

Also competing for the top job at UCT is Professor José Frantz, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of the Western Cape (UWC); and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Postgraduate Studies at the University of Venda, Professor Nosisi Nellie Feza.

The trio presented to the university community on April 4 on the topic: “UCT is ranked as the leading African university. What would be your priorities, with specific actions, in your first two years as VC to consolidate this status, taking into account emerging opportunities and challenges, as well as the constant need for transformation of the institution?

UCT announced the position on December 19, 2023 and applications closed on January 31. The position is for five years, renewable subject to a satisfactory performance review.


The three shortlisted candidates for the top UCT job are (left to right) Professor José Frantz of the University of the Western Cape (Photo: UWC/Wikipedia); Professor Mosa Moshabela from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Photo: Supplied/Spotlight); and Professor Nosisi Nellie Feza from the University of Venda (Photo: University of Venda / Wikipedia).

Rival candidates

Frantz has a Bachelor of Physiotherapy obtained at UWC in 1993; a degree in Orthopedic Manipulative Care from Stellenbosch University in 1997; a Master of Science in Physiotherapy awarded in 2000 from UWC and a Doctorate in Physiotherapy from UWC awarded in 2004.

This is in addition to a University Leadership and Management Training Course (2016) at the University of Oldenburg, Germany; Values-Based Leadership (2019) at UCT, and a Strategic Leadership Program (2019) at the University of Oxford, UK.

Previously she worked at UWC as Dean of the Faculty of Health and Community Sciences; She is vice dean of Research at the same faculty, and was Head of the Department of Physiotherapy.

Feza holds a PhD in Mathematics Education (2009) from the State University of New York, Buffalo, and was also a teaching and research assistant at the university.

He holds a Master of Education in Mathematics (2005) from Nelson Mandela University (NMU); a Bachelor of Education with honors in Science and Mathematics Education (2002) from NMU; a Bachelor of Science and Mathematics Education (2001) from NMU; a Higher Diploma in Mathematics Education (1999) from Rhodes University; a Diploma in Education with a specialization in Primary Education (1999) from the South African College of Teacher Education, Pretoria; and a Diploma in Primary Mathematics Education (1998) from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, among others.

She was chancellor of the Walter Sisulu University campus; Dean of Humanities of the Central Technological University; Head of the Institute of Science and Technology, University of South Africa; Senior Research Specialist, Human Sciences Research Council; Researcher at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, USA, and professor of Mathematics Education at NMU. DM