Advocate Abram Malose McCaps Motimele, SC, chaired the Unisa Council between 1999 and 2002.
Motimele’s time as Chairperson of the Unisa Council reflects many of the growing pains of Unisa’s first decade of democracy. He chaired a reconstituted Council where students and unions were represented for the first time. He motivated for racial transformation and successfully championed Professor Barney Pityana’s appointment as Unisa’s first black Principal and Vice-Chancellor. This was an era of unprecedented change that the Pietersberg-born Motimele could perhaps not have imagined as a student in the 1970s and early 1980s. He had studied at the University of the North, a so-called “black” university which was a centre of resistance to apartheid. During his time there, he chaired the Student Body Steering Committee and its boycott against Bantu Education. He went on to complete an LLM at Georgetown University, USA, and rose through the ranks, becoming a public prosecutor and court assessor, then an attorney and finally an advocate. Motimele resisted what he perceived to be government interference in Unisa affairs in 2002 leading to disagreement with the minister for of higher education, Kadar Asmal. Motimele faced sexual harassment charges and resigned from Unisa in 2002.