CPUT’s Virtual Open Day is now open! Click here to visit >>>


History of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology was established on 1 January 2005, when the Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon merged. This merger was part of a national transformation process that transformed the higher education landscape in South Africa.

Today, this institution is the only university of technology in the Western Cape and is the largest university in the region, boasting more than 30 000 students, several campuses and service points and more than 70 programmes.

However, the institution has humble beginnings in the Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon, which dates back to the early 1900’s.

The Cape Technikon

The Cape Technikon has its roots in the Cape Technical College, which was established in Longmarket Street in 1920. The establishment of the college followed more than ten years of petitioning by the community for the consolidation of technical courses that had been offered in various venues in Cape Town.

In the late 1960’s this institution had its status changed to a College for Advanced Technical Education and was renamed the Cape College for Advanced Technical Education. However, a decade later, the Technikons Act was promulgated and in 1976 the institution become known as the Cape Technikon and was allowed to offer degree programmes.

During the apartheid era, all educational institutions were forced to serve a specific race group. The institution offered courses for white students; however, in 1987 the makeup of the student population changed after the institution applied for and was granted permission to have the Government’s regulation lifted on the quota for black students.

The 1990’s would usher in a new era for the Cape Technikon. This institution launched its new organisational structure, which featured six faculties, a new corporate identity as well as a new vision and mission statement. In 2001 the Boland and Mowbray Education Colleges were incorporated into the Cape Technikon, forming the Faculty of Education at sites in Wellington and Mowbray.

The Peninsula Technikon

In 1962 the Peninsula Technical College was established to cater for the steady growth in the number of coloured apprentices in a variety of trades. Classes were conducted in Cape Town until the relocation to a site in Bellville in 1967, which today is the administrative campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

In the 1970’s the institution had its status changed to a College of Advanced Technical Education and was rebranded as the Peninsula Colleges for Advanced Technical Education. However, this name and status change was short-lived and in 1979 the college was legally established as the Peninsula Technikon.

Primarily offering education to coloured people during the apartheid era, the institution opened its doors to all races in 1987. The 1990’s also ushered in more changes for the institution, which was empowered to offer degree programmes. The year 1997 saw the restructuring of the institution’s academic programmes into the faculties of Engineering, Business and Science.

The Merger

During March 2001, the Minister of Education, Kader Asmal, announced the National Plan on Higher Education. This plan saw the merger of various higher education institutions across South Africa and the formation of Universities of Technology.

After lengthy processes, which involved the setting up of merger task teams and a renaming process, the Minister in 2003 approved the name, Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

In 2005, Cape Peninsula University of Technology was officially launched and on 1 February 2006, Prof Lineo Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga was appointed as the first Vice-chancellor of the institution.

In May 2008 Dr Trevor Manuel was elected as the first Chancellor of the University.

Previous Vice-Chancellors

Prof Lineo Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga

Prof Lineo Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga was CPUT's first Rector and Vice-Chancellor. From 2006-2013, Prof Mazwi-Tanga took on the challenge of transforming the merged institution into a dynamic, modern African institution of the future.

Her experience as an educationist began in the Eastern Cape , where she taught mathematics and geography several high schools during the volatile 1980s. In 1987 she joined the University of Fort Hare as a lecturer in Geography where she also completed her Master’s degree and was later awarded a certificate in Higher Education Administration from Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania. Further development in her research work in geography saw her accepting a research award that took her to Durham University in the United Kingdom to read for an MSc in Climatology. That same year she was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.

An invitation to Peninsula Technikon as Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Affairs introduced her into another challenging portfolio which she carried with zeal and dedication for ten years. Involvement in national bodies like the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, HESA, NACI give her an opportunity to share with other leading men and women in the various facets of higher education nationally.

An invitation to serve in the Department of Education as a Ministerial Adviser introduced Prof Mazwi-Tanga to systems in national higher education, something which served her well when she assumed the position of leadership of CPUT.

Watch Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga's tribute video below.