The University of Mpumalanga (UMP) will on Tuesday toast its first female chancellor when the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) Justice Mandisa Maya is installed to the position at the Mbombela campus.
Maya will replace the outgoing chancellor, President Cyril Ramaphosa.
She is also the first woman to hold the position as president of the SCA.
Maya, who has accumulated a string of “firsts” over the years, is also in line for the position of chief justice to succeed the outgoing Mogoeng Mogoeng, having been short-listed with the likes of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Zondo has an advantage over the other candidates due to expectations that he should naturally succeed Mogoeng.
But if President Cyril Ramaphosa considered addressing the gender imbalance in the judiciary, Maya is an obvious choice.
Maya, who was appointed as chancellor by UMP Council in July, welcomed it.
“It is most heartening to be part of this intelligent institution that recognises and affirms the ability of women to lead and participate competently in all spheres of society.
“I look forward to the journey with the UMP community over the next few years in service of our shared goals to create opportunities for young people and the surrounding communities through the powerful tool of education.”
Ramaphosa became its first chancellor, but was then appointed as the country’s president.
Maya’s contribution to the country’s democratic institutions and jurisprudence dates back from 1994, when she served as a case investigator for the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) during the first democratic South African elections.
Subsequently, she practised as an advocate until she was appointed as a judge in 1999.
Maya held various positions since she launched her law career an attorney’s clerk in Mthatha from 1987, including being a law lecturer at the University of Transkei until she became a judge of appeal in the SCA in 2006.
She was appointed as SCA president in May 2017 after serving a stint as deputy president.
The University of Mpumalanga was established in 2013 and enrolled its first 169 students in 2014.
Over the years, it grew from offering three undergraduate programmes in 2014 to 32 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes this year, with 5 392 registered students.
The university received accreditation from the Council on Higher Education this year to offer its first three PhDs, bachelor of laws (LLB) and 13 other new programmes.
In the academic year 2022, it will be offering 49 programmes from higher certificate to PhD.
“This positive development is in line with the strategic objectives of the university to conceptualise, develop and launch new qualifications that will both stand alone and support articulation within UMP and between institutions as outlined in strategic plan, UMP Vision 2022,” the university said in a statement.