The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is fortunate to have widely respected leaders supporting its move forward to the next level of excellence in teaching, research and community outreach.
Leading the University community to become the institution it envisages, Prof Ihron Rensburg, Vice-Chancellor and Principal – assisted by a senior executive management team that comprises five deputy vice-chancellors – oversees strategic and institutional planning, finance, human resources and operations, academic matters and research, innovation and advancement. Together with the Registrar, the nine executive deans of faculties and the executive directors, these leaders constitute a team that guides UJ on its way forward.
Council Chairperson: Prof Roy Marcus
Prof Marcus graduated with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1972. In 1974 and 1978, he was awarded an MSc and a PhD respectively for research work conducted in the field of the pipeline transportation of solids. In 2004, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Technology from the Technikon Witwatersrand.
He was appointed as the Transvaal Industries’ Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 1980 and soon afterwards as Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering. In 1983, he was appointed as the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and, in 1985, as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. During his stay at the University of the Witwatersrand, he was responsible for the establishment of the Materials Handling Research Unit and was founding Director of the Science Park at Frankenwald.
In 1986, he joined Cargo Carriers, where he was appointed to the post of Managing Director in 1987. Since leaving Cargo Carriers, he has occupied senior executive positions in several local and international companies, in the fields of venture capital, property development, management consulting, manufacturing and mining.
From the inception of the new democracy until 2004, Marcus played an active role in the development of the new government’s science and technology initiatives, acting as the Ministerial Advisor on science and technology and the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council on Innovation.
He also chairs the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Belarus and the South African Power Utility Research Advisory Board. He is an honorary professor at the University of Warwick and the University of Johannesburg and a fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering.
Marcus has been appointed by the Deputy President to the technical working group of JIPSA and represents South Africa as a board member of the International Sustainable Trade and Innovation Centre.
Chancellor: Prof Njabulo S Ndebele
Prof Njabulo Ndebele was inaugurated as the Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg in November 2012. He is the second Chancellor of the University since the merger in 2005.
Prof Ndebele was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy by the University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland (now the National University of Lesotho) in 1973; a Master of Arts in English Literature by the University of Cambridge in 1975; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing by the University of Denver in 1983. He also studied at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, where he was the first recipient of the South African Bursary.
Prof Ndebele served as Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the University of Cape Town from July 2000 to June 2008, following tenure as a scholar in residence at the Ford Foundation’s headquarters in New York. He joined the Foundation in September 1998, immediately after a five-year term of office as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Limpopo in Sovenga, in the then Northern Province. Previously he served as Vice-Rector of the University of the Western Cape. Earlier positions include Chair of the Department of African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand; and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dean, and Head of the English Department at the National University of Lesotho.
An established author, Njabulo Ndebele recently published a novel The Cry of Winnie Mandela to critical acclaim. An earlier publication Fools and Other Stories won the Noma Award, Africa’s highest literary award for the best book published in Africa in 1984. His highly influential essays on South African literature and culture were published in a collection Rediscovery of the Ordinary.
Njabulo Ndebele served as President of the Congress of South African Writers for many years. As a public figure he is known for his incisive insights in commentaries on a range of public issues in South Africa.
Prof Ndebele is also a key figure in South African higher education. He has served as Chair of the South African Universities Vice-Chancellor’s Association from 2002–2005, and served on the Executive Board of the Association of African Universities since 2001. He has done public service in South Africa in the areas of broadcasting policy, school curriculum in history, and more recently as chair of a government commission on the development and use of African languages as media of instruction in South African higher education. He recently became President of the AAU and Chair of the Southern African Regional Universities Association.
He holds honorary doctorates from universities in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Japan, South Africa and the United States of America. The University of Cambridge awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Law in 2006, and he was made an honorary fellow of Churchill College in 2007. In 2008 the University of Michigan awarded him another Honorary Doctorate in Law.
Prof Ndebele married Mpho Kathleen Malebo on 30 July 1971. They have one son, two daughters and a grandchild.
Vice-Chancellor: Prof IL Rensburg
Prof Ihron Rensburg completed his undergraduate studies in 1981 and graduated from Rhodes University with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. He completed his Master of Arts (Sociology) in 1994, and Ph.D. (International Development Education, Dissertation with Distinction) in 1996, both from Stanford University.
Prof Rensburg has held the position of Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg since 2006, prior to which he was Chief Executive Strategic Corporate Services at the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Deputy Director General of South Africa’s Department of Education, and General Secretary of South Africa’s National Education Crisis Committee.
He is a Commissioner of South Africa’s National Planning Commission, where he chairs the working group on Social Protection and Human Capabilities. Rensburg is Co-Chairperson of Education Dialogue SA and Chairperson of the READ Foundation. Recently Prof Rensburg served as Chairperson of the Southern African Universities Vice Chancellors Association, Chairperson of Higher Education South Africa, Chairperson of the Ministerial Committee on Student Accommodation in South African Universities, Member of the Ministerial Committee on the Funding of South African Universities, Councillor of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and Chairman of the Human Resources Committee the Council of the prestigious St John’s College in Johannesburg. Previously he was President of the Southern African Broadcasters Association, Founder Member of the Pan African Broadcasters Union, Councillor of the Commonwealth Broadcasters Association, and Board Member of the Commonwealth of Learning.
Having successfully pioneered the University of Johannesburg through its first stages of
accessible global excellence and stature, Prof Rensburg is a regular key note speaker at prestigious national and global conferences where he is an avid contributor to internationalisation, change and transformation. He has won many awards, including the President’s Medal (University of Southern Carolina), the
Le Matinal Africa-India Education Leadership Award,Metropolitan Eastern Cape Education Leadership Award, WK Kellogg Foundation Global Fellowship, Ford Foundation Research Grant, HSRC Social Movement Research Grant, Merck, Sharpe & Dohme Fellowship and the Rhodes University Bursary.