Ms Tasneem Wadvalla

Ms Tasneem Wadvalla currently serves as the Head of Legal Services and the Chief Staff to Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, the current Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand. She previously served as the Chief of Staff to Professor Adam Habib and prior to that as a Senior Legal Advisor in the University’s Legal Office, bringing her unbroken service to the institution to 14 years.

Ms Wadvalla is responsible for managing and overseeing the functions of staff and the activities in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, including the coordination and management of certain strategic projects. One such project was the 4IRSA collaboration that involved several public, private and higher education sector partners. She represents the Vice-Chancellor’s Office and the University in her administrative, legal and other capacities across multiple platforms and engages with the University’s governance structures in this capacity, including the University’s Council and its sub-committees, the Senate and the Wits Foundation Board of Governors.

As the Head of Legal Services she oversees the University’s contracting; discipline; compliance; regulatory and student disciplinary functions. She also stewards the University’s litigation matters, having successfully defended the University in respect of a range of litigation matters, and is responsible for managing the University’s engagement with chapter nine institutions as and when needed. Throughout her years at Wits she has negotiated, reviewed and overseen the conclusion of hundreds of contracts for the University, and its related entities with a wide range of philanthropic organisations, local and international universities and research entities, local and international conglomerates and local and national government departments, amongst many others. Ms Wadvalla played a pivotal role in enabling the conclusion of significant contracts, relating to the establishment of the Tshimologong Precinct; the IBM Research Laboratory at Wits; the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and with the Gauteng Department of Health to regulate the University’s relationship with the Gauteng Department of Health in respect of the clinical training platform, amongst many others.

Some of Ms Wadvalla’s notable achievements include the handling of legal matters associated with the insourcing of staff by the University in 2015, the development of legal processes and procedures when the University established a Gender Equity Office in 2014 and playing a key role in the negotiation and conclusion of the Development Agreement entered into by the University in respect of the development of the University’s Frankenwald property.

She also serves on a number of internal Wits Committees, and as a board member on the Thsimologong Board, the Wits Junction Board and the Wits Health Consortium Board.

An admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa, Ms Wadvalla holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Law (RAU, 2002) and an LLB (RAU, 2004). She is also a certified, accredited mediator. Prior to joining Wits, Ms Wadvalla served as a Candidate Attorney and an Attorney at Wright Rose- Innes Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers Incorporated (2005 – 2008).