Royston Pillay


The registrar is secretary to Council, Senate and Convocation and the head of the university’s academic administration. The registrar has overall responsibility for legal matters across the university and supports the executive officers, deans and heads of department across a wide range of internal structures and functions. The student admissions and systems-support functions report to the registrar.

Royston Pillay was appointed university registrar on 1 January 2016.

Before joining UCT, Pillay cut his teeth as a teacher and later deputy principal at Grassy Park High School on the Cape Flats.

His educational qualifications range from an Executive MBA to the humanities (with university qualifications in social sciences, education, and politics), as well as organisational viability, systems thinking, strategy and values-based leadership. He has an established professional record that includes more than 20 years in higher education and is an alumnus of UCT.

Pillay has a wealth of experience in strategy, governance, planning, project planning and management, academic administration, finance management and communication.

Over the years Pillay has developed a range of skills fundamental to his current role, which include analysing core business issues, improving efficiencies, identifying key opportunities for the institution and engaging with stakeholders. He is experienced in dealing with matters of institutional governance, academic administration and legal processes.

He has years of service on several UCT committees, covering:

  • Governance
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Pillay currently holds, and has held in the past, the following positions, which combine his operational experience and strategic focus:

  • Shareholder representative for UCT spin-out companies
  • Member of the board of directors of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa
  • Alternate director of the UCT Lung Institute
  • University South Africa’s (USAF) National Steering Committee for the National Benchmark Tests

Previously, he served as member of the Board of Directors and the Public Officer of UCT Food Services Pty Ltd.