VUT WELCOMES PROF NTATE DAN KGWADI – New Vice-Chancellor and Principal
By: Tandi Maputaka 04 February 2022
Vice- Chancellor & Principal: Professor Ntate Dan Kgwadi
The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) is under new leadership.
On Tuesday, 01 February 2022, Professor Ntate Dan Kgwadi assumed duties as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of our beloved institution. This marks the second step towards stabilising governance and management at VUT, following a two-year administration era which ended in August 2021. The first step was the induction of a new Council in October 2021.
Soon after induction, the VUT Council, chaired by Ms Refilwe Buthelezi, appointed Professor Maggie Linington to serve as Acting Vice-Chancellor until 31 January 2022.
To honour its new VC, the university organised an intimate welcome ceremony which was attended by members of the Executive Management Committee (ManCom) as well as representatives of all internal stakeholder groupings.
Handing over the reins
Prof Linington opened the ceremony and conveyed words of encouragement on behalf of ManCom. She pledged Management’s continued support to the new VC and Council and also thanked the university community for their cooperation while she was the Acting Vice-Chancellor.
Prof Linington has returned to her substantive role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Teaching, Learning and Student Support Services).
Council Chairperson – Ms Buthelezi and Vice- Chancellor & Principal: Professor Ntate Dan Kgwadi
Ushering in the Vice-Chancellor – Chairperson of Council
Council Chairperson – Ms Buthelezi – formally ushered the VC into his new seat. She conveyed Council’s confidence in his ability to take over the reins and lead the institution to higher levels.
“I now hand you the compass to steer the VUT ship to calmer waters”, said the Chair. She also encouraged the VC to take VUT people along on his journey of rebuilding and refocussing the institution.
“I assure you VC, there is no skills vacuum at VUT, there is no grit vacuum and there is no commitment vacuum. Despite the challenges of operating under administration, staff have remained steadfast and supported the Administrator and the newly appointed Council in efforts to stabilise VUT. As Council, we have rolled up our sleeves and are ready to support Management.”
Reiterating Council’s commitment to the cause, Ms Buthelezi said: “my door will always be open for you. Please use it. Let us engage as frequently as necessary in order to lighten your load and propel you further”.
Addressing staff and students, the Chairperson pleaded for cooperation. “Please VUT, let us give Prof Kgwadi a chance. Let us give VUT a chance to fix itself with Prof Kgwadi in the lead”.
Ms Buthelezi concluded her address by thanking Prof Linington for holding the fort and keeping things steady during her tenure as Acting Vice-Chancellor.
VC Response – Working as a Collective
As stated in his profile, Prof Kgwadi is passionate about teaching and mentoring budding academics and leaders. He is committed to academic excellence, community services and partnerships with the public and industry.
In his response, he thanked the VUT Council for the opportunity to serve. From the outset, he stated his belief in working as a collective.
“All the success I achieved at North West University and elsewhere was accomplished as a collective effort. Even at VUT, I intend to work collectively with stakeholders (both internally and externally), to change the narrative about VUT”, said the VC.
Culture of Transparency
The VC wants to do justice to the institution. He is neither here to find fault nor walk around with a red pen. Prof Kgwadi’s wish is to build together. He believes in transparency and encouraged everyone to conduct their business in a manner that is transparent to all, in order to escape the shade of corruption that has been unfortunately associated with the VUT.
Prof Kgwadi was emphatic that in his research about the VUT, he was encouraged by the lack of negative reporting concerning the institution’s core business (teaching and learning). “There are no allegations of selling certificates or other related shadiness with regards to the academic project. That legacy is still intact and must be protected at all costs. Challenges may have emanated from support services, and we must correct that”, he said.
He invited everyone to join hands in “diagnosing the problem and then finding solutions together. If you understand the problem, you are halfway towards solving it”.
Decisive and Engaging
The VC made it known that he has a low tolerance threshold for engagements where no decisions are taken. Addressing management directly, he said: “Be decisive and engaging. Rather deal with the consequences of your bad decisions than being indecisive. An indecisive leadership is a waste of university resources”.
VC’s Vision for VUT
In addition to the above, the VC articulated his vision for the institution as follows:
· Corruption is behind us
· No more administration.
· We must believe in our worth as an institution. Let us dispel the myth that nothing good can come out of VUT
· VUT must become a study destination of choice and a preferred employer
· VUT should become the pride of the continent and beyond
· The VUT community must work in a synchronised fashion
· Stop devaluing the VUT brand. Stop hanging our dirty linen in public. We must treat the institution like our mother because of the brand’s role in nurturing our individual careers.
Messages of Support
As part of ushering in the VC, the following leaders of internal stakeholder groupings were afforded an opportunity to address Prof Kgwadi:
· Ms Kimberley Kempkes (NTEU),
· Mr Joseph Radebe (NEHAWU),
· Mr Maanda Masendi (SRC President),
· Ms Kediemetse Mokotsi (Dep Chairperson – Institutional Forum), and
· Mr Ikaneng Maphalane (Convocation President).
Prof Riana van der Bank – Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation, Commercialisation and Internationalisation) delivered the closing remarks.
VUT wishes Prof Kgwadi a pleasant stay at our institution. We support his determination to #changevut.