THE president of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), Judge Lex Mpati, has been appointed as Rhodes University’s new chancellor.
He takes over from Professor Jakes Gerwel, who died late last year.
Although Mpati spends much of the year in Bloemfontein at the SCA, he has deep roots in the Eastern Cape and in Grahamstown in particular. He has retained his home in Grahamstown where he still spends as much time as possible.
Rhodes vice-chancellor Dr Saleem Badat said Mpati had achieved much in life despite a disadvantaged background.
“A humble man of great intellect and wonderful integrity, who personifies the Rhodes motto of ‘Strength, Virtue, Truth’ and the Rhodes slogan ‘Where Leaders Learn’, Judge Mpati is a superb role model for Rhodes students,” Badat said.
The position of chancellor is both a ceremonial and advisory one and Mpati will preside over the university’s graduation ceremonies and grace special occasions.
Badat said he would also provide wise counsel to the university.
Mpati, who matriculated from Mary Waters High School in Grahmastown in 1967, graduated with an LLB from Rhodes in 1984.
After graduating, he worked as an attorney in Grahamstown until 1989 when he became in-house counsel at the Legal Resources Centre. He was elevated to the bench in 1997, has been a Judge of Appeal since 2000, and president of the SCA since 2008.