SCU, BOTH PRIVATELY OWNED
The problems which led to the closure of the Swaziland Christian Medical University stem back to the eighht Parliament which tied government to a memorandum of agreement to give a subvention to a privately-owned institution.
Subventions are usually provided for Public Enterprises which are better known as parastatals.
According to well-placed sources, government made an undertaking to provide E27 million annually to an institution which clearly stated that it was owned by the Africa Christian Mission (ACM).
The university charter stated that ACM reserved to themselves, their heirs and successors in title to be the only owners of the university through Reverend Chong Yang Kim.
In the same vein, in 2012, government undertook to provide a subvention of the above stated amount.
It was seven months later that gov- ernment, through an addendum, tried to rectify this anomaly by stating that the university should fall in the category A list of the public enterprises in terms of the Public Enterprise Act (control and monitoring).
This is one of the reasons the institution was subsequently closed and this information was given to parents this past week.
The a mended Memorandum of Agreement between the university and government signed by former Minister of Education and Training Wilson Ntshangase and incumbent Principal Secretary Pat Muir, government promised a subvention of E27million per annum.
The memorandum, which was signed on December 17, 2012, reads; “The Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland shall provide to Africa Continent Mission an annual subvention of E27 million according to its affordability to allow for any flexibility of making any financial adjustment depending on the fiscal situation.”
The period for the provision of the annual subvention was to be effective from 2014 to the next financial year.
Of note, when this agreement was made, the current minister of education was interim board chairperson of the institution while the incumbent chair, Benedict Xaba was minister of health and their roles were reversed. Magagula lobbied Xaba to assist with the formation of the university and the roles’ reversal now sees Xaba lobbying Magagula to keep it open.
A well-placed source explained that due to failure by the institution to rectify its charter accordingly where ownership was concerned, resulted in government not giving it the promised subvention which also relied on the fiscus.
“When looking at the investment by the mission, to date, it stands at E60million and the subvention from government, had it been given, would now be at E81million for a privately-owned institution,” the highly placed source said.
Saim Christian High School parents have voted that pupils owing school fees should not set foot in classrooms. However, the picture does not suggest that these are the pupils cited in the story.