Rhodes vice-chancellor Badat steps down

Rhodes University vice-chancellor Saleem Badat (centre). (Gallo)

Rhodes University vice-chancellor Saleem Badat (centre). (Gallo)

Rhodes University's first black vice-chancellor Saleem Badat has announced he will be stepping down from his position.

Rhodes University's first black vice-chancellor, Saleem Badat, has stepped down from his position, the university announced on Monday.

"There are no specific reasons that compel me to leave Rhodes. I have enjoyed the intellectual and institutional challenges of the past years and hope that I leave the university a better place," he said.

The demands on him had, however, been great, he said.

"The 80 hours plus per week that I have worked these past eight years have taken a toll on my family and I wish to devote more time to my partner and sons. I also look forward to time to write a personal yet hopefully dispassionate and critical account of my eight years at Rhodes, including the travails of being the first black vice-chancellor in 102 years."

Rhodes University spokesperson Zamuxolo Matiwana said Badat had served a first seven-year term from 2006 to 2013 and was offered a second five-year term last year.

"He will leave later this year. The precise date will be negotiated with the Rhodes University Council," Matiwana said.

An announcement would be made soon "as to the institution that I will join later this year", he said.

Director of Rhodes's Institute of Social Economic Research Robert van Niekerk said the decision was a "big disappointment".

"He is the vice-chancellor who has most significantly contributed to transforming the institution in a more egalitarian direction … And society in general. He did that with complete commitment to academic excellence."

He said it was a "sad day for many of us", but he could understand the context in which he thought Badat had made his decision.

"He has been here for [eight] years and like all of us wants to explore other challenges."

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