King IV came out in the middle of world turmoil, serial meddling with the fate of SA and the #FeesMustFall transformation protests at universities.
A pause is required for us to focus again on governance. Like Google, the term has been overused to the point that we seldom stop to think what it really means.
Governance is the process of governing; it is not about controlling, manipulating or fiddling the facts and events. Governance includes balancing the powers of the members of an organisation and holding them accountable while dealing with the legitimate needs, interests and expectations of stakeholders in the best interest of the organisation.
Governance requires critical thinking and engagement, which is what universities were established to produce.
There are enough top-quality people in higher education to maintain the excellence for which many South African universities are renowned. But everyone in higher education and beyond needs to get back to the basics of governance and the role of governance structures.
Critical to this in university structures is that all stakeholders – from the senate to the students — need to commit to a process of leadership development and training. This is the only way they can begin to have constructive engagement on transformation issues.