Dear SPU Community
It was great sadness that I must inform you that Professor Vishnu Padayachee, a former member of the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) Council, passed away on Saturday, 29 May 2021.
In June 2013, Professor Padayachee was appointed by the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, to the Interim Council of SPU, which was then being established as one of two new universities, post-1994. He was the Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee and a member of the Human Resources Committee of the SPU Interim Council. In September 2014, he was appointed to the full Council of SPU as a representative of the Minister of Higher Education for the period 2014 to 2018. He was re-elected as the Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee of the new Council.
Professor Padayachee, regrettably, resigned from the SPU Council and Committees of Council in April 2016 and in his farewell message to me he said: “Few engagements in my experience of corporate governance work, have been more rewarding and satisfying on so many levels, including the unique privilege of being involved from the very beginning in the project to establish one of the first two universities of our democratic era, as well as the sheer pleasure of my professional and social contacts with all members of both the Interim Council, the full Council and executive management. I remain truly grateful to the Minister of Higher Education and the government for allowing me the opportunity to serve the University, the people of the Northern Cape and my country through this appointment as a member of both the Interim and full Council of Sol Plaatje University since 2013”.
At the time of his passing, Professor Vishnu Padayachee was a Distinguished Professor and the Derek Schrier and Cecily Camron Chair of Development Economics in the School of Economic and Business Sciences at WITS University. He also held the position of life-time fellow, and Professor Emeritus in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He was a life-time fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies and a life-time fellow of the Society of Scholars at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore and Washington DC).
Professor Padayachee was renowned for his research in economics, economic history, economic transformation, and development. Through his work he made invaluable contributions to the development of post-apartheid economic policy. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Economics from Rhodes University in 2018 for making “an exceptionally distinguished contribution to the post-apartheid transformation of South African economic policy in ways that serve the economic and social needs of all South Africans and marginalised black South Africans, in particular.”
I convey our deepest sympathies to his family, colleagues, friends and students. We have lost a great friend and staunch advocate of SPU.
Judge Yvonne Mokgoro
Chair of the Sol Plaatje University Council