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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
Ms HoosainMiriam Hoosain was appointed as executive director of human resources (HR) 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 United States.

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Executive Director: Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS)

Izak Janse van Rensburg
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 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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Executive Director: Properties and Services

Mughtar Parker
Mughtar ParkerMughtar Parker has been appointed as the Executive Director: Properties and Services with effect from 1 July 2018. Mughtar has a BCom in accounting from the University of the Western Cape and a master’s in corporate real estate from CoreNet Global, Atlanta, USA. He also holds a post master’s (senior leader in corporate real estate) and is the first person to hold this 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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Executive Director: Research

Dr Marilet Sienaert
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
  • delivering a comprehensive framework of support for the research development of current and future academic staff.

She is responsible for:

  • the Research Office
  • the Office of Research Integrity
  • the Director of Postgraduate Studies and Researcher Development
  • the Postgraduate Centre and Funding Office.

At the strategic level, she works closely with the cluster of research committees and supports the deputy vice-chancellor for research. Her aim is position UCT effectively to meet on-going challenges and to seize opportunities in the evolving research and policy environments.

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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Executive Director: Student Affairs

Dr Moonira Khan
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 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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Acting Executive Director: University Libraries

Dr Reggie Raju
Dr Reggie RajuDr Reggie Raju is the acting executive director of UCT Libraries from 1 March until September 2018.

Raju joined UCT Libraries at the end of 2013 as Deputy Director: Research and Learning, having come from Stellenbosch University where he was the director of client services.

He has a PhD in library and information science and has worked in academic libraries for more than 30 years. His research area is research librarianship, focusing on open access and library publishing.

He has served as an executive member of the professional association of South Africa for a number of years and is currently a fellow of the Library Publishing Coalition, holds the chair of SPARC Africa and is a member of the ARL Standing Committee of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

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