This article argues that governance of South Africa’s higher learning institutions through
stakeholder engagement is a complex phenomenon, rendered protracted by the
wide-ranging diversity of interests and, more often than not, contradictory mandates
of the multiple actors. Institutional systems for the management of the complex
interactionism of the multiplicity of actors have largely been overcompensated by
informal processes that reward patronage and partisanship at the expense of good
governance. Modern governance systems require that the chain of management
operation in organisations be based on stakeholder engagement. These stakeholders
are by virtue of their existence in organisations required to work together in order to
avoid conflicts which may emanate from silo operations. The article uses literature
to argue that the different mandates held by individual stakeholders in institutions of
higher learning in South Africa make the attainment of good governance intractable.
This article concludes that only a common ground of mandate that can be established
for various stakeholders can ensure successful governance through inclusive
stakeholder engagement in institutions of higher learning in South Africa.