What vice-chancellors at South Africa’s top universities earn

The vice-chancellor and Principal at Wits University, professor Adam Habib, has committed to give any performance bonus that is due to him for 2015, to ‘deserving students’ amid a fee protest at South Africa’s major tertiary institutions.

It raises the question: how much do the heads of the country’s top universities earn?

A university’s vice-chancellor is akin to a company CEO. He or she is accountable to council for the leadership of the university as a whole, while also setting out a university’s strategic goals, and ensuring their implementation.

Wits’ annual report for 2014 indicated that Prof Habib was paid a basic salary of R2.4 million, with R809,000 in employment benefits, and R152,000 towards other allowances for a total of R3.353 million.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande was expected to hold talks with vice chancellors at higher learning institutions across the country on Tuesday.

Watch: Wits students clash in strike over university fees

It follows widespread student protests against fee hikes, with the protest at Wits turning violent, leading to its closure on both Monday, and Tuesday. Additional protests were reported at UCT, Rhodes, Stellenbosch University, and UKZN.

BusinessTech looks at the remuneration of the heads of South Africa’s top universities for the year ended 2014 – unless stipulated otherwise.

Data was taken, where available, from the 2014 annual financial report of each institution.

The selected top universities are determined through numerous global rankings.

Top Universities in South Africa

VC / Principal University No. of students Pay
Prof MS Makhanya Unisa 400 000 R4.2 million
Prof IL Rensburg University of Johannesburg 48 500 R3.9 million
Prof MW Makgoba University of KwaZulu Natal 40 000 R3.8 million
Prof A Habib University of Witwatersrand 32 700 R3.4 million
Prof HR Botman Stellenbosch University 30 150 R3.1 million*
Dr M R Price University of Cape Town 26 300 R2.9 million
Prof ND Kgwadi North-West University 74 300 R2.8 million
Dr S Badat Rhodes University 7 000 R2.4 million
Prof Cheryl de la Rey University of Pretoria 50 000 R2.2 million**

*2013 **News24

Prof Russel Botman passed away on 28 June 2014. Prof Wim de Villiers, Dean of the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Health Sciences, was appointed as the university’s new rector and VC, assuming his new role in April 2015.

Dr Albert van Jaarsveld was appointed vice-chancellor and principal of UKZN, and assumed duty on the 2 February 2015, following the retirement of Prof Makgoba.

Dr Badat was replaced by Dr Sizwe Mabizela, as Rhodes VC in October 2014, after the former stepped down for ‘no specific reasons’.

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