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CHE > Media and Publications > Other > Statement by Mr Saki Macozoma, Chairperson of the Council on Higher Education
October, 2005

Dear CHE Members and Members of the CHE Secretariat

Late yesterday, the Council of Rhodes University resolved to invite the Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Higher Education (CHE), Prof. Saleem Badat, to become the new Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University as from 1 June 2006.

Rhodes announced that the invitation 'comes after months of planning and an intensive selection process'.

Saleem has informed me and the Rhodes Council of his acceptance of the invitation, subject to the finalisation of certain routine contractual matters around which there should be no impediments.

From the outset of communication between Rhodes and himself, Saleem has kept me fully informed of all developments in this regard. The circumstances, in brief, are as follows.

Saleem did not apply for the post of Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University. However, in July 2005 he was contacted by a number of constituencies with the request to avail himself for the post, an indication of widespread support for him within the Rhodes community.

He accepted the nomination and was short-listed for an interview in mid-September 2005.

Five out of nineteen nominees/applicants were short-listed for interviews.

He was thereafter informed informally by the Chair of the Rhodes Council that the Selection Committee had unanimously agreed that he was the preferred candidate and that he should prepare himself to be invited to assume the Vice Chancellor post.

On 3 October 2005 the Rhodes Senate overwhelmingly endorsed (with some 95% support) that Saleem should be invited to head Rhodes.

I deeply regret that Saleem must leave the CHE in mid-2006 but I am also truly pleased by the invitation that has been extended to him by Rhodes University.

I believe the offer from Rhodes is an acknowledgement of his leadership qualities and also recognition of the achievements of the CHE under his leadership. Rhodes is fortunate to have a successor of his integrity, vision, outstanding abilities and extensive knowledge and expertise on higher education.

I have no doubt that he will make a tremendous contribution at Rhodes. I served as one of Saleem's referees and very strongly motivated his selection.

I should indicate that during his performance review early this year, Saleem informed me that he felt that his task of building the CHE was complete and that after seven years as CEO he wished to pursue new intellectual and organisation challenges within higher education.

As you are aware there is a process underway within the Council to ensure a smooth leadership transition and to find a successor to Saleem. I have requested Saleem to revisit the dates that were agreed at the last Council meeting in consultation with the Task Team on this matter and to table a revised proposal for the Council meeting on 17 October 2005.

Coincidentally, on the day that Saleem was informed of the impending invitation from Rhodes, the Oppenheimer Trust advised him that they had approved a fellowship for him to spend a three-month sabbatical in the United Kingdom (UK) to begin research and writing on a book on the political economy of higher education change in post-1990 South Africa.

During his performance review Saleem had requested a sabbatical and in the light of his over six years of unbroken service I had in principle agreed to the sabbatical on the condition that it would be undertaken in the period November 2005 to early 2006.

Saleem is scheduled to deliver the inaugural A. B. Xuma Memorial Lecture at the University of Oxford on 10 November 2005 and it makes sense for him to thereafter remain in the UK on sabbatical until 3 February 2006. I have requested him to table a proposal on the sabbatical arrangements for consideration and approval at the CHE Executive Committee meeting on 17 October 2005

I am confident that I speak for all of you in extending our gratitude to Saleem for his tremendous contribution to the CHE over the past seven years and in wishing him wisdom, courage and strength on his assumption of the post of Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University as from 1 June 2006. I am also certain that he will be able to continue to count on your support in his demanding new post.

Statement by Mr Saki Macozoma,

Chairperson of the Council on Higher Education



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