Statement by the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, MP, at the inauguration of Trevor Manuel as Chancellor of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
29 August 2008
Chair of CPUT Council, Dr Lionel Louw,
Vice Chancellor and Principal, Professor Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga
Members of the Council
Vice Chancellor and Principals of other institutions
Minister of Finance, Mr Trevor Manuel, MP
Premier of the Western Cape
Mayor of Cape Town , Ms Helen Zille
Ex-Vice Chancellors and Principals of CPUT
Students, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
It's a great honour to be part of this special occasion, the inauguration of my colleague and friend, Trevor Manuel, as the first Chancellor of the Cape University of Technology.
The Chancellor trained to be an engineer in his youth.
He is a true son of the Cape . He was a leader in the UDF, a leader in the negotiations process, a leader in the ANC and our democratic government. Minister Manuel has executed all these roles with integrity and distinction.
In installing him as Chancellor, the university gains in several ways.
First, you receive a political leader who has survived stringent political tests on ethics, values and ability.
Second, you receive a hard committed worker, who has shown sceptics that a black South African leader of the liberation movement would and could lead South Africa to a path of economic growth and a stable respected post-apartheid business destination.
The Chancellor is also familiar with the challenges of a transforming system of higher education.
He was part of the team that gave shape to the 2001 National Plan for Higher Education. Thus, he is aware that the sector is grappling with its toughest test yet - the restructuring of higher education to ensure it responds to the human resource demands of an increasingly complex, knowledge-driven society.
This knowledge of higher education means that in the Chancellor the university has a leader who understands the hope and expectation we have of the various institutions of technology in South Africa.
Universities of technology are a new, exciting addition to the higher education architecture; they are reshaping themselves in a context that has come to appreciate the potential they have for South Africa.
All of us are aware that South Africa has to perform well in a number of areas.
First, it must expand success rates in the fields of science, engineering and technology.
Second, it should ensure that his expansion is supported by high quality, modern institutional facilities and lecturers, fully acquainted with modern technology and industrial innovation.
Third, universities of technology must offer students and staff a different type of academic training from that offered by traditional universities.
Chancellor, your university and other universities of technology should focus on the links between practice and theory and promote applied research. It is important to emphasise that we would not prohibit a focus on theory, but this should not be the sole interest of universities of technology in an attempt to acquire academic respectability.
Chancellor, we hold the view that the tendency to seek to ‘mirror' traditional universities has served to delay the full development of universities of technology into highly relevant and responsive 21 st century scientific institutions.
The new lease of life that has resulted from the process provides new impetus to this university and I am sure your leadership role in partnership with the Vice-Chancellor and council will see this university offering quality technology programmes and building research capacity as leaders in applied science and technology.
My warm congratulations to you, comrade Trevor. I know for every graduate who will kneel before your stool your presence here signifies excellence, opportunity, success.