It is with great sadness, shock and disbelief that the North-West University (NWU) community has learnt about the sudden passing away of Dr Johan van Zyl, Executive Chairperson of Toyota SA. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife Santie, family, friends and colleagues. He was indeed a remarkable man and leader.
He was a respected academic in his own right, and held a BComm degree (cum laude), BComm Hons degree (cum laude), MComm and Marketing Management (cum laude), and DComm from the then Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. He also served as a Council member of the NWU during and after the merger period of 2004.
In 2011 he received an honorary doctorate degree from the NWU for his business achievements globally.
With the inception of the NWU’s Alumni Awards programme in 2013, he was also part of a group of ten persons on whom this illustrious award was bestowed, once again for being an outstanding leader and businessman, and being a driving force behind the local and international success of Toyota.
Throughout his career, he maintained close ties with the NWU and especially the university’s Business School. He embodied the real meaning of a true alumnus and was always willing to plough back and share his expertise. He would have formed part of an event that was planned to take place in due course, but that had to be cancelled as a result of his illness.
The impact that Dr van Zyl had in his various capacities across the NWU will be cherished, and he will be dearly missed.
We honour an outstanding alumnus!
Prof Dan Kgwadi
Principal and Vice-Chancellor