61409528 2342469542483184 361386549809512448 n e1559648246961 300x226After almost nine hours of hard bargaining by delegates in efforts to elect a new convocation president, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi emerged victorious at the WSU Convocation AGM held in Mthatha recently.

Following what was an emotionally-charged and hotly contested race for the top seven executive positions, Nkgcukaitobi outmuscled his nearest opponent, then sitting president Zincedile Tiya, by a handsome margin to relinquish his predecessor off his duties.

“I love this University! I love Unitra and I love WSU – I’ve always loved this institution. However, today I learnt that you must fight for the things that you love. I did not fight alone, and all thanks must go to the incredible solidarity and support shown to me by my fellow convocants,” said Nkgcukaitobi gleefully.

Making an observation about the hallmarks of good leadership, he identified two key components essential for successful leadership – vision and conflict resolution.

After being at ringside for most of the day, listening and analysing comments made by his predecessor Tiya in voicing his displeasure regarding University management, Nkgcukaitobi expressed grave concerned about the seemingly antagonistic relationship between Convocation and management.

“Sometimes conflict is necessary! But the problem of conflict is the unnecessary and toxic conflict, the kind of personalized and childish conflict – a kind of conflict that is dilapidating and takes you away from your focus of skills development, eradicating unemployment and poverty alleviation through education,” he added.

In an effort to help the university overcome some of its most invasive challenges, Nkgcukaitobi has highlighted five pillars upon which to propel the intervention into the University’s state of affairs.

He said issues such as academic integrity; reputation management; restoration of the LLB degree; student experience; improved working relations between management and resuscitation of convocation chapters.

“What we want is a vibrant convocation! We want to own this convocation – a change of attitude to days gone by when I used to look at this convocation from a distance. I didn’t feel like part of it until I decided that enough is enough and I’m going to fight to participate in the betterment of our students,” said Nkgcukaitobi.

In his State of the University address, Vice Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley gave a detailed account of the status quo within the university, including the challenges with the LLB programmes.

He said the university’s efforts in restoring the LLB accreditation were paying off, this after the Department of Higher Education and Training gave its approval for the programme to be submitted to CHE.

“We now wait for the CHE feedback and given that we have followed the same processes as we did for Psychology and Social Work, we remain hopeful that the CHE will also be satisfied with this submission and that our LLB programme will be accredited.

By: Thando Cezula