Tawana Kupe. Picture: SUPPLIED
Tawana Kupe. Picture: SUPPLIED

The University of Pretoria (UP) has announced the appointment of professor Tawana Kupe as its new vice-chancellor and principal.

Kupe is currently the vice-principal of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)‚ where his responsibilities include the daily running of the university and the co-ordination of operations across all executive portfolios.

He has held numerous senior positions. Before joining Wits‚ Kupe lectured at Rhodes University between 1999 and 2001. His academic credentials include a BA honours degree and a master's in English from the University of Zimbabwe‚ as well as a PhD in media studies from the University of Oslo in Norway.

“Universities have a responsibility to develop educated‚ well-informed and professionally skilled people who can address local and global challenges and contribute towards creating successful and thriving societies‚” said Kupe.

Futhi Mtoba‚ the chair of the UP council‚ congratulated Kupe. “We believe that Prof Kupe comes to the position with considerable experience at executive level and is the best candidate to lead the university into the future‚” she said.

Also welcoming Kupe’s appointment was the South African Students Congress (Sasco)‚ which hailed it as a significant step towards transformation in the institution.

“We believe that this appointment at UP … is a major milestone in the broader transformation project that students have envisioned‚” said Sasco provincial chair Luvuyo Barnes.

Barnes said he hoped Kupe would engage students and embark on a comprehensive and expanded notion of transformation issues at the institution.

Kupe emerged victorious after being shortlisted for the position alongside five other candidates.

His appointment was made official on Wednesday following the resignation of professor Cheryl de la Rey‚ who, according to university spokesperson Rikus Delport, will take up the position of vice-chancellor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.