It is an honour and a privilege to be asked to lead the University of Cape Town. I have met and worked with many of you in the past two years, and so I know the hard work and dedication that are hallmarks of this world-class institution. I’m proud to be leading a team of such talented and committed people.
I wish to assure you that I will continue to work very hard to advance UCT. I will work tirelessly with colleagues and students all over campus to ensure that we make progress on critical elements of our vision.
Our vision is to be an inclusive, engaged and research-intensive African university and it is my intention to draw on our collective strengths to make it a reality.
I have stated before that three key cornerstones of my vision are to promote the transformation of our institution, to ensure excellence in all we do, and to work tirelessly to guarantee the sustainability of our institution for generations to come. I invite you to recommit to these three pillars.
Despite the many challenges we currently face, I believe that this is a great time to be at UCT. Across South Africa, higher education is seeking ways to be more inclusive, to fund students so that its opportunities are available to everyone, irrespective of their background. This is a time that brings the prospect of making real change happen, of contributing to solutions that might guide other institutions across our nation to do the same. UCT’s place in the world is to be at the cutting edge, to forge into the unknown and the unfamiliar.
There is a lot of work to do. I appreciate fully that staff across UCT play a significant role in making ours the great university that it is. The next five years will demand much from us. I will rely and depend on you, and I thank you in advance for your dedication and commitment.
We all have something to contribute to UCT’s growth. I want you to know that your concerns about UCT are important to me. I have come into this office with a particular interest in contributing towards making the institution more sustainable, while we seek to transform and improve its excellence in research, teaching and learning, and social responsiveness.
I invite you to partner with me as we tackle the critical challenges that face us and our students. For many of us, the past few years have been more difficult than usual. But I believe that we have to tackle our issues so we can collectively make a difference.
I have set several meetings around campus already in order to share more deeply my vision for the next few years and to open the discussion on the way forward.
I thank you again for your confidence in me. I will honour your trust in me by working hard and doing all I can to strengthen excellence at UCT, to tackle our challenges head-on and to advance the causes we are committed to as a community.
This is an edited version of the message sent to University of Cape Town faculty, staff and students by the incoming vice-chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, this week