Professor Antony Patrick Melck became Acting Principal of Unisa in 1998 and was Principal and Vice-Chancellor from 1999 to 2001.

Cape Town-born Antony Melck was a graduate of Stellenbosch and then Cambridge, and was appointed Unisa’s Registrar for Finance in 1988. He was attracted to the post by Unisa’s comparatively multiracial demographics (Unisa’s student body was approximately 50% black) and the opportunity to “make an impact”. A decade later, Melck would become the first Unisa Principal to be appointed under a democratic government and through a fully transparent process. Melck was a talented economist; his doctoral thesis had initiated the system of government subsidisation for articles published in accredited academic journals, and in 1994, he had helped establish democratic South Africa’s Financial and Fiscal Commission. As Principal and Vice-Chancellor, he brought Unisa in line with modern business management practices that stabilised Unisa’s dire financial position by 1998. He also improved relations with unions and student bodies and was noted for his approachability and his decidedly dry humour.