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Executive Directors

Dr Russell Ally - Executive Director - Alumni and Development | Ashley Francis - Executive Director: Finance | Miriam Hoosain - Executive Director: Human Resources | Dr Moonira Khan - Executive Director: Student Affairs | Gerda Kruger - Executive Director: Communication and Marketing | Dr Marilet Sienaert - Executive Director: Research | André Theys - Executive Director: Properties and Services | Gwenda Thomas - Executive Director: University Libraries | Izak Janse van Rensburg - Executive Director: Information and Communication Technology

Dr Russell Ally
Executive Director - Alumni and Development

Dr Russell AllyDr Ally was appointed Executive Director of the Development and Alumni Department (DAD) from 1 August 2013.

He has worked for the past five years at the Ford Foundation, an endowed, non-profit grant-making foundation based in New York. As Ford's programme officer for Southern Africa, Dr Ally oversaw the Governance and Civil Society Programme in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

A UCT alumnus, Dr Ally started his career as a history teacher at the John Bisseker Senior Secondary School in East London. He obtained his Masters at Rhodes University and a Doctorate from Cambridge University, both in History. He then worked as a senior history researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand where he served on Senate and Council and was founding chairperson of the Academic Staff Association.

Before joining the Ford Foundation Dr Ally was the Country Representative and Executive Director of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in South Africa and worked for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Earlier, Dr Ally served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Human Rights Violation Committee, chaired by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

As the Executive Director, Dr Ally is responsible for the formulation, implementation and monitoring of all strategic and operational activities regarding UCT's development and fundraising endeavours. These include strengthening donor and alumni relations, developing fundraising and capital campaigns and bequest programmes and tapping into philanthropic and corporate social investment goals of foundations and corporate in Africa and abroad. DAD is tasked with ensuring that fundraising strategies yield adequate resources to achieve the university's mission at a time when higher education funding streams face significant risks.

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Ashley Francis
Executive Director: Finance

Ashley FrancisAshley Francis, who has been appointed Executive Director: Finance from 1 January 2016, has a BCompt (Honours) CA(SA).

His career spans auditing, manufacturing, real estate, renewable energy and consulting – all in senior financial roles.

He completed a five-year article period after matric and then expanded his auditing and accounting training as audit manager with another medium-sized auditing practice. The following seven years were spent in the fishing industry in various financial positions, including systems accountant, management accountant and financial manager.

In January 2001, he joined the V&A Waterfront group as chief financial executive where he played a pivotal role in finalising the initial sale of the Waterfront Group. 

In October 2005, he left the V&A Waterfront to form Biotech Fuels (Pty) Ltd, a company producing wood pellets from waste material for export to be used to generate electricity as an alternative to coal. He held the position of managing director and public officer of the group.

At the start of 2011, he sold the company and formed Ashley Francis Consulting, an entity creating business and financial solutions for companies. He has consulted widely in the areas of accounting, finance, business and strategy.

He serves on numerous university and faculty committees and is also a director on the board of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.

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Miriam Hoosain
Executive Director: Human Resources

Ms KhanMiriam Hoosain was appointed as executive director: Human Resources from 1 January 2011.

Hoosain has 11 years of experience in management and human resources at UCT. She started in the university's HR Department in 1999, when she was employed as an employment equity officer. She rose steadily up the ranks over the years and served as senior HR advisor to the Faculty of Health Sciences after June 2004.

In August 2010 she took over as acting executive director of HR.

Before moving into the field of human resources, Hoosain worked as a scientist at the Centre for Epidemiological Research in the Medical Research Council, as a researcher for the Gender Equity Unit and as a lecturer in the Psychology Department at the University of the Western Cape. She also worked as a researcher in the New York Psychiatric Institute in the US.

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Dr Moonira Khan
Executive Director: Student Affairs

Ms KhanDr Moonira Khan was appointed as the Executive Director of Student Affairs in March 2005. She is responsible for overseeing the provision of support and development services to the UCT student body.

As executive director, Khan's mandate is to oversee the provision of the service portfolios for Student Development, Student Financial Aid, Student Wellness, Student Housing and Residence Life.

Khan's key focus is to provide a responsive and progressive student-centered support service for the UCT's students and to facilitate the development of students into well-rounded individuals who will make a significant contribution to society as leaders and good citizens.

Khan's work experience includes having served as the Director of Human Resource Development (HRD) in the Western Cape Provincial Government's Department of Health. During this time, she also served as the director of four nursing colleges, which were later consolidated to become the Western Cape College of Nursing (WCCN).

Khan served as the chairperson of the Health and Welfare Sector Education Training Authority (HWSETA) Board and played a key role together with others in establishing the HWSETA from concept to organization. Her work experiences included clinical practice, education, organizational development, human resource management, human resource development, management and administration.

Khan has a doctoral degree in (public) administration (UKZN), a master's degree in education (UCT), bachelor's and honours degrees in administration and education (UNISA), as well as postgraduate qualifications. She commenced her career in the nursing field during which time she qualified and worked in general nursing, midwifery, psychiatry, community health and neonatology. She was one of a team of six who started the Perinatal Education Programme (PEP) during which time two manuals were written to support medical and nurse practitioners.

Her educational exposure includes having studied at UKZN (SA), UCT (SA), UWC (SA), Emory University / Centre for Disease Control (USA), ILO ITC (Italy), and Wits / Harvard Business Schools (SA / USA).

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Gerda Kruger
Executive Director: Communication and Marketing

Ms KrugerGerda Kruger is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring professional and strategic communication and marketing across UCT and to all stakeholders to ensure the appropriate positioning of the university in South Africa and internationally.

She holds a BA (Hons) in psychology and a national higher education diploma from the Rand Afrikaans University. She has a Master's degree from UCT.

Kruger spent most of her working career as a journalist for Nasionale Pers and later Independent Newspapers.

She joined AngloGold as a senior communications officer and in 1999 joined UCT as the director of communications.

She was later appointed as executive director of communications and marketing.

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Dr Marilet Sienaert
Executive Director: Research

Dr Marilet Sienaert

Dr Marilet Sienaert is responsible for grants management; benchmarking and reporting; evaluation and monitoring of units, centres and institutes; research internationalization; brokering of partnerships; and delivering a comprehensive framework of support for the research development of current and future academic staff. Her management remit for executing this portfolio spans the Research Office, the Office of Research Integrity, the Director of Postgraduate Studies & Researcher Development, and the Postgraduate Centre & Funding Office.

At the strategic level, she works closely with the cluster of research committees and supports the Deputy Vice Chancellor for research, to position UCT effectively to meet on-going challenges and to seize opportunities in the evolving research and policy environments at the national and global levels.

An active member of the South African Research & Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) and the International Organisation for Research Management Societies (INORMS), Sienaert has delivered many papers at national and international conferences on research management. She has also served as panel member on the Council for Higher Education's national quality assurance audits of universities and on reference groups of the National Research Foundation.

Sienaert holds a PhD in Literary Studies from the University of Natal, and prior to moving into her research management career was a professor in the Department of Modern Languages at Durban-Westville University.

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André Theys
Executive Director: Properties and Services

André Theys

André joined UCT in 2001. He was initially employed in Properties & Services as a Project Engineer and more recently, held the position of Head: Engineering Services before being appointed as the Executive Director. More than 19 years work experience, spanning engineering and building maintenance, services design, new build infrastructure and contracting developed his awareness around different stakeholders in higher education institutions.

In his time in the Maintenance Department he made inroads into the large deferred maintenance backlog, brought stability to the department and decreased the university's net energy usage rate by some 7% despite an increasing real estate. He has a knowledgeable understanding of the workings of higher education facilities management and his studies, which include a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Cape Town, bring a strong business acumen to the position.

He holds a National Higher Diploma and Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Peninsula Technikon. He is a Certificated Engineer, holding a Mechanical Engineer's Government Certificate of Competency (Factories) and is a registered professional with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). He is also accredited by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and has served on the Executive Committee of the Higher Education Facilities Management Association (HEFMA) of Southern Africa.

Prior to UCT, he was employed at Eskom's Peaking Generation division and before that at Luwa (South Africa), formerly a Swiss industrial engineering group, now ACTOM HVAC. André holds professional memberships with the Institution of Certificated Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, South Africa (ICMEESA), the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE), the Institute of Professional Engineering Technologists (IPET) and the South African Institute of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (SAIRAC).

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Gwenda Thomas
Executive Director: University Libraries

Gwenda ThomasGwenda Thomas took office as executive director, UCT Libraries on 1 November 2011 after five years as director of the Library Services Division at Rhodes University, In her position, Thomas contributes to the strategic vision for the provision of academic information services at UCT. She is responsible for UCT Libraries, a system consisting of the Main Library (Chancellor Oppenheimer), seven branches among which are the Law and Medical Libraries and several special collections, including the African Studies Libraries and Manuscripts and Archives.

Prior to her position at Rhodes, she held the position of general manager and director in a higher education and library consortium, Foundation of Tertiary Institutions of the Northern Metropolis (FOTIM), comprising 11 institutional and library members across three provinces, namely, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West.

For the greater part of her professional career, Ms Thomas held senior management positions in the Department of Library Services at UNISA in different capacities between 1990-2000. At international level, she is the elected representative for the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region at the Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC) Global Council (2008-2011) and is currently the Chair for the EMEA Regional Council (July 2010 - June 2011).

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Izak Janse van Rensburg
Executive Director: Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS)

Mr van RensburgIzak (Sakkie) Janse van Rensburg joined UCT as executive director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on 1 February, 2009.

Prior to his appointment Janse van Rensburg was director of ICT at the University of the Free State (UFS). He holds an MBA from UFS and has more than 25 years' experience in the ICT sector. He spent 22 years in the private sector, during which time he built a private business that was sold to a JSE-listed company in 1998.

He has a strong track record of developing ICT strategies in the higher-education sector and of aligning these with the university's systems.

While at UFS, Janse van Rensburg facilitated key technology decisions, and oversaw the successful implementation of various systems, all of which improved service to the university. As UFS' strategic advisor, and reporting directly to senior management, he developed the university's ICT Strategic Plan and saw to its implementation. Part of his mandate was to align and harness technology for the benefit of the university's academic, administrative and research functions.

He is also the co-ordinator of the Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing for South African universities.

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