Job Details

  • Reference number: AP 598
  • Province: Gauteng
  • Type of engagement: Fixed term contract
  • Posted: September 10th

Background to Position

The Chief Operations Officer (COO) actively supports the Vice-Chancellor in the leadership and management of the University. S/he will govern and lead the support services of Human Resources, Information and Communication Technology, Student Affairs and Residences, the Built Environment and Security Services for the University. The incumbent reports to the Vice-Chancellor and must meet the requirements, competencies and be responsible for the key performance areas below.

Job Description

·         Govern and lead the support services of the University, namely


o    Human Resources

o    Information and Communication Technology

o    The Built Environment

o    Student Affairs

o    Security Services

Institutional Human Resources (HR) Leadership

·        Accountable for strategies and plans for HR and gains approval from Governance Committees

·        Accountable for overseeing amendments, maintenance and implementation of HR policies and procedures

·        Maintains a cost effective Organisational structure of positions for the University

·        Accountable for fair remuneration practice, and monitors the remuneration budget

·        Accountable for the sourcing and recruitment competent staff; actively participating in the recruitment and placement of senior positions

·        Leads a learning and development culture aligned with the University’s performance management objectives

·        Accountable for succession planning of senior positions in the University 

·         Facilitates an institutional culture in alignment with SMU values, where people are valued and performance is rewarded

·         Reports on HR metrics, skills shortages and gaps

·         Empowers staff to succeed to enhance a performance driven culture

·         Puts agile HR process and systems in place

·         Facilitates sound employee relations to foster a healthy institutional climate and work environment

·         Communicates regularly to the University regarding HR issues, projects and initiatives

·         Cultivates an internal HR service and “internal customer” orientated culture

Institutional Built Environment Leadership

·       Accountable for plans and strategies for the University’s infrastructure, including high value infrastructure implementations

·         Accountable for the University’s compliance to Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1994

·         Accountable for the state of SMU built environment-both internal and external built environment

·         Actively seek to develop partnership for the generation of 3rd stream income to alleviate the burden on the University.

·         Accountable and takes every measure to ensure the safety of infrastructure

·        Collaborates with the Academic Project and Institutional Support functions, such as Finance, Student Affairs and Advancement to facilitate strategic goal achievement

·         Conducts infrastructure audits

·      Puts effective and constant monitoring systems in place to ensure compliance to infrastructure rules and safety of staff

·         Monitors built environment maintenance

·         Produces standards consolidated management reports on infrastructure (inclusive of metrics and costs)       Signs off legislated reports

Institutional Information Communications Technology

·         Accountable for the information and communication strategy of the University

·         Staying abreast of latest technology trends in broad terms (eg, cloud services)

·         Accountable for Information and Communication Technology policies, procedures and practices

·         Accountable for technical architecture applications systems, data storage, system security, ICT communications, redundancy and physical assets.

·         Actively seeks partnership for 3rd party income streams and to reduce ICT costs via negotiated agreements

·         Monitors that sound ICT governance is in place

·         Removes barriers to smooth functioning of the ICT function

·         Accountable for the technology business continuity and disaster recovery strategy

·         Inculcates a service and customer-oriented culture, such as the implementation for help desk functions and training for ICT staff

Institutional Security Leadership

·         Remains abreast of issues pertaining to security trends, systems and new technologies in broad terms

·         Accountable for all security strategies, plans tenders and implementation

·         Accountable for all policies, procedures and rules governing security, access control and security of staff and students

·         Analyses and understands requirements for electronic security systems

·         Determines needs for physical security, control-room and guarding services

·         Resolves complex problems and issues relating to security and security breaches and propose new initiatives/projects/procurement contracts to address issues/problems

·         Implements policies for zero-tolerance for violence/criminal offences

·         Puts confidential communication mechanisms and procedures in place for whistle blowing

·         Collaborates with other stakeholders in protection of staff and students who feel their physical safety is/was threatened


Inherent Criteria

·         A Master’s degree in Commercial or Business Management discipline (MBA) supported by a relevant honours degree  Fifteen (15) years total minimum experience must include exposure in the HR, ITC or Infrastructure (Built Environment) disciplines

·         Inclusive of the fifteen years’ experience, at least ten (10) years must be in a leadership capacity with a proven track record in the management of support services

·         Experience in a higher education context is an added advantage

·         The successful candidate must demonstrate a track record of managing a complex portfolio, directing at least two disciplines in a similar environment.

·         Possess a thorough understanding of managing complex projects, critical to the transformation of the university

·         Highly proficient in latest systems trends and technology

·         Understands institutional cultural transformation and organizational alignment Computer skills (MS Office suite)


·         Technical/ professional knowledge and skill

·         Strategic and visionary leadership

·         Manage complexity and ambiguity, and think strategically under pressure

·         High personal energy

·         Ability to work independently

·         Comfortable with technology

·         Personal impact, stature and credibility, with an intrinsic value set of honesty and integrity

·         High work ethic and standards

·         People management with the ability to inspire, mobilise and empower people of diverse backgrounds to larger scale transformation or innovation

·         Build strategic alliances and partnerships

·         Emotional intelligence and political sensitivity

·         Management of transformation and change

·         Decision-making and problem solving in the face of ambiguous, uncertain and conflicting situations

·         Team player

Application Requirement

Ø  A letter of motivation.

Ø  A comprehensive CV.

Ø  An abridged CV.

Ø  Names and contact details for at least 3 referees.