Farewell to Executive Director: CMD: Gerda Kruger

08 January 2024 | Emer Prof Daya Reddy

Dear colleagues and students

I write to bid farewell to Ms Gerda Kruger, who has decided to take early retirement from the University of Cape Town (UCT) after many years of serving as the Executive Director for Communication and Marketing.

Ms Kruger joined UCT from AngloGold in 1999 as director of communication. She was later appointed as executive director of the Communication and Marketing Department (CMD). In this position her responsibilities included development, implementation, and monitoring of professional and strategic communication and marketing across UCT and all its stakeholders, and ensuring the appropriate positioning of the university publicly in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world.

This portfolio fell under the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, to whom she reported directly, thus she worked closely with a number of vice-chancellors over the years.

Some of the highlights during Ms Kruger’s time at the helm include:

  • Leading a team that was responsible for hosting and managing high-level visitors to UCT, including South African and international heads of state such as the late Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Barack Obama as well as members of the Norwegian and British Royal families.
  • Navigating the UCT communication and marketing portfolio during the #RhodesMustFall period at UCT and the subsequent #FeesMustFall period at all South African universities.
  • Ensuring sensitive management of communications during the COVID-19 period, when the university was grappling with having to implement rapid response plans in light of this pandemic.
  • Providing leadership during the UCT fire of April 2021, which resulted in damage to UCT buildings – including the Jagger Reading Room, and two residences on upper campus.
  • Leading a department that scooped many Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education (MACE) excellence awards – the flagship communication and marketing awards for higher education institutions – over the years, making UCT among the shining stars in the sector. This, plus several other industry awards, was testament to the professionalism and hard work of CMD staff members under Gerda’s leadership.
  • Providing leadership at CMD during the hosting of virtual UCT graduations, the UCT Annual Staff Awards, and other high-profile events that were ordinarily held in person in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Overseeing the initiation and implementation of the Drupal 9 project. The project, initiated over a three-year period, was recently successfully completed.

Most recently, governance shortcomings at UCT also had an impact on Ms Kruger. Following the report of the independent panel of investigation, and the subsequent resolutions of the UCT Council regarding implementation of the report’s recommendations, the Chair of Council placed on record the university’s apology to Ms Kruger.

Gerda Kruger’s last day at UCT was 31 October 2023. We thank Ms Kruger sincerely for her leadership over the years and in particular for ably leading a team that had the task of enhancing and safeguarding the image and reputation of the university. I express, on behalf of the university, our appreciation and gratitude to Ms Kruger for her many valuable contributions to UCT.


Emer Prof Daya Reddy
Vice-Chancellor interim

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