UCT Council elects female chair and deputy in a historic vote

South Africa’s premier higher education institution, the University of Cape Town (UCT), wiil for the first time in its history have women holding the roles of chair of Council and deputy chair simultaneously.

This is after Babalwa Ngonyama was appointed as new chair of Council and Nazeema Mohamed as her deputy at the first Council meeting of the 2020/2024 term held on Saturday.

UCT vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng who is accountable to UCT Council, in a letter to students and staff said the appointments were historic on many levels. “The election of Ms Ngonyama and Ms Mohamed is a significant occurrence as it will be for the first time in UCT’s history that these two key roles on the oversight structure of the university are simultaneously occupied by women. Even more historic, it is for the first time that UCT has a female chair of Council,” Phakeng wrote.


“Furthermore, the election of Ms Ngonyama as chair also means that the university now has women leaders at the helm in the crucial governance, ceremonial and executive roles, with the latter two being the chancellor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe (chancellor) and myself,” she added.

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