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Executive directors

UCT’s executive directors are:

Executive Director: Alumni and Development

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

He worked for the previous 5 years at the Ford Foundation, an endowed, non-profit grant-making foundation based in New York. As Ford’s programme officer for Southern Africa,  Ally oversaw the Governance and Civil Society Programme in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

A UCT alumnus, Ally started his career as a history teacher at the John Bisseker Senior Secondary School in East London. He obtained his master’s 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 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, Ally served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Human Rights Violation Committee, chaired by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

As the Executive Director, 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
  • tapping into philanthropic and corporate social investment goals of foundations and corporations 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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Executive Director: Communication and Marketing

Gerda Kruger
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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Executive Director: Finance

Ashley Francis
Ashley FrancisAshley Francis, who has been appointed executive director of 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.

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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Executive Director: Human Resources

Miriam Hoosain
Miriam HoosainMiriam Hoosain was appointed as executive director of human resources (HR) from 1 January 2011.

Hoosain has many 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 United States.

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Executive Director: Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS)

Richard van Huyssteen
Richard van HuyssteenRichard van Huyssteen has been the Executive Director: Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) since 1 November 2018.

Mr Van Huyssteen is not new to the University of Cape Town (UCT), having served as the Director: Systems Division within ICTS since 2014. In this role he was responsible for the provision (identification and selection, implementation, incremental enhancement and integration) and support of application systems that support identified aspects of university administration, teaching and learning, and research.

With a BCom (hons) in information systems management (first class) from UCT and an eye for identifying areas for improvement, he initially joined UCT as manager of the Faculty of Science in 1994. Three years later he was seconded as user representative to the Project to Revolutionise Information Systems and Management project. His valuable input led to him becoming project manager of the Integrated Student Information System project from 2003 to 2006.

In 2006 he established the Student Systems Support section within the Office of the Registrar, which ensures that UCT makes effective use of its student administrative systems. Under his leadership, changes to the degree certification process resulted in this key business process becoming faster and more secure. Other upgrades included putting a system in place to support the postgraduate memorandum of understanding, which improved the readmission application process, and developing an early warning system to assist with the identification of students who are struggling academically.

Mr Van Huyssteen is a founder member and past chair of the Southern African Higher Education User Group (SAHEUG), which aims to foster collaboration between a group of software customers in the southern Africa region. Through this collaboration, UCT and three other South African universities co-developed the revised functionality required to enable them to integrate with the new student-centred process implemented by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. He is also a member of the Oracle Global Education and Research Industry Strategy Council.

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Executive Director: Properties and Services

Mughtar Parker
Mughtar ParkerMughtar Parker has been appointed as the executive director of Properties and Services with effect from 1 July 2018. Mughtar has a BCom degree in accounting from the University of the Western Cape and two diplomas from Corenet Global in Atlanta, USA. Both Corenet's Diplomas entitles him to hold the professional designations of Master of Corporate Real Estate (MCR) and Senior Leader of Corporate Estate (SLCE), making him the first person to hold such designation within Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mughtar’s career spans over two decades of senior management roles at several listed companies including KPMG, Old Mutual, Telkom, Liberty and the University of the Witwatersrand. His industry class experience includes financial services, telecommunications, government/parastatals and academia. Asset class experience includes corporate campuses, branches, malls, telecoms masts/towers, network buildings and data centres. He has managed real estate portfolios spanning various countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

Mughtar has exceptional experience in all facets of the corporate real estate services suite. At a strategic level this includes real estate strategy development, property services strategy, property development, organisational change, operating model design and real estate supply chain/procurement strategy.

He has worked with global consulting firms such as Accenture and McKinsey and has also consulted for state-owned enterprises such as Public Works and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

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Acting Executive Director: Research

Christina Pather
Christina PatherChristina Pather has been appointed as acting executive director from 1 January 2020 until a substantive appointment is made.


Dr Linda Mtwisha has been appointed as the new executive director of research with effect from 1 October 2020.
Read the announcement.

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Executive Director: Student Affairs

Dr Moonira Khan
Moonira 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 oversees:

  • Student Development
  • Student Financial Aid
  • Student Wellness
  • Student Housing
  • 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 4 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 organisation. Her work experiences included clinical practice, education, organisational development, human resource management, human resource development, management and administration.

Khan has a doctoral degree in (public) administration, a master’s degree in education, bachelor’s and honours degrees in administration and education, 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 part of the team that started the Perinatal Education Programme (PEP) during which time 2 manuals were written to support medical and nurse practitioners.

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Executive Director: University Libraries

Ujala Satgoor
Ujala SatgoorMs Ujala Satgoor has been appointed the Executive Director: Libraries, effective from 1 January 2019.

Ms Satgoor brings with her years of experience in the higher education environment. She has previous experience as the director of library services at Rhodes University, and as the deputy director of library services at the University of Pretoria.

Her current leadership roles include being the chair of the Committee of Higher Education Libraries of South Africa (CHELSA), deputy chair of the South African National Library and Information Consortium (SANLiC), chair of the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) Professional Body Advisory Committee, and a member of the Council on Higher Education Reference Group: Library and Information Science. She is also the former president of LIASA (2012–14) during which time she accepted the bid to host and co-chaired the National Committee for the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) held in August 2015 in Cape Town.

Ms Satgoor believes that the greatest asset of an institution is its diversity and human capital, and that success depends on a work environment that values and develops its employees. As a leader she recognises the importance of staff development as a strategic imperative for institutional alignment and responsiveness.

Beyond academia she has served as a partner to the Mortenson Centre for International Library Programs, University of Illinois, and a consultant to various international and national organisations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries project, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ Building Strong Library Associations (BSLA) programme, the African Library Associations and Institutions (AfLIA), the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the World Library Partnership and the Goethe-Institut.

Her research has focused on the South African library and information services landscape from both a historical and current perspective (post-1994), looking at the context within which libraries function, library governance, government funding for redress, library technologies, library and information services education and the professional association. She believes that libraries are important in meeting the goals of the national development agenda towards entrenching a strong democracy and an educated and informed nation.

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