SCU, BOTH PRI­VATELY OWNED

Sunday Observer - - NEWS - BY THEMBEKA DLAMINI Signed Fail­ure

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.

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