In South Africa, councils in comprehensive universities are embroiled in a struggle on how to govern with different institutional stakeholders to create institutional transformation. This paper reports on findings from a study at one Historically Black University (HBU) in which a sequential-exploratory mixed methods approach was used to collect a range of documents, conduct interviews with university council members and conduct a survey with university students and staff members, both academic and non-academic. The analysis of documents led to the identification of reasons for university council-instability. When these reasons were subsequently ‘tested’, firstly in interviews with council members and subsequently in survey questions responded to by academic and non-academic staff and by students, there was a high level of agreement within each of the four groups of informants but considerable differences in the perceptions of each group about what would constitute good governance.
Keywords: University council, institutional governance system of the university council, good governance, university transformation.