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Thursday, 15 May 2008

CPUT elects Dr Trevor Manuel as its first Chancellor

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Minister of Finance and Cape Peninsula University of Technology alumnus Dr Trevor Manuel has been elected as the first Chancellor of the University. This was announced by the University’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga and members of the Council at a press conference held on the University’s Cape Town Campus on Tuesday 6 May 2008.

Referring to the election of the Chancellor as a “great moment for the University,” the Vice-Chancellor introduced Dr Manuel and invited him to respond to questions from the floor.

Dr Manuel has had an association with the University since 1975 when he studied Civil and Structural Engineering at the Peninsula Technikon. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by this institution in 2002. Peninsula Technikon later merged with the Cape Technikon to form the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

“It is a distinct honour to have been elected through this process partly since I am an alumnus,” Dr Manuel said.

Commenting on his long-standing relationship with the University, Dr Manuel remarked that the association could “be in my DNA.” He spoke of a distinct passion for the kind of education offered by Universities of Technology and the importance of supporting such institutions in order to address South Africa ’s skills deficiency. “We are painfully aware of the skills shortage in our country. We need to generate far more skills in this economy. The contribution of this university can make a difference,” said Dr Manuel.

Responding to a question about how he sees the Cape Peninsula University of Technology maintaining its current financial soundness without marginalising students with few financial resources, Dr Manuel stated that he had discussed the matter with other Government Ministers, including Naledi Pandor. Norms need to be set for fees, but allowances need to be made so that students with high academic potential remain in the education system. Dr Manuel and Professor Mazwi-Tanga both emphasised their support of using academic incentives to reduce student debt.

Dr Manuel indicated his happiness with the fact that as an institution CPUT goes out of its way to encourage cooperative education through corporate partnerships. “An institution that places its student for absorption is preparing them for the economy,” he said. Dr Manuel indicated that he will play a role in helping Council to raise funds for the University.

As Chancellor, the Minister will become the titular head of the University with the primary responsibility of conferring all degrees and awarding all diplomas and certificates in the University's name. Remarking on misconceptions about the role of a Chancellor, Dr Manuel said, with characteristic good humour, that if people think he will only appear twice a year at graduation ceremonies, “they will have a few surprises.”

The University plans to officially inaugurate the new Chancellor before the Spring Graduation.

By Ilana Abratt

Photograph: Left to right: Chairperson of the CPUT Council Dr Lionel Louw, Minister of Finance and Chancellor-Elect Dr Trevor Manuel, Deputy Chairperson of the CPUT Council Justice Siraj Desai and CPUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga

Written by CPUT News

Email: news@cput.ac.za