VAR­SI­TIES’ OM­BUDS­MAN?

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - METRO - Loy­iso Sidimba

UNI­VER­SI­TIES could soon have their own om­buds­man.

This is among the rec­om­men­da­tions of a re­port into the col­lapse of gov­er­nance and man­age­ment at the Man­go­suthu Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (MUT) in Durban. The re­port fol­lowed an in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­ducted by for­mer

Unisa vice-chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Bar­ney Pityana. “We pro­pose that the min­is­ter se­ri­ously con­sider the in­tro­duc­tion of an in­de­pen­dent

of­fice of the om­buds­man for uni­ver­si­ties,” reads Pityana’s re­port. Be­tween 2011 and 2012, for­mer higher ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing min­is­ter Blade Nz­i­mande placed five in­sti­tu­tions – Tsh­wane Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Wal­ter Sisulu Univer­sity, Univer­sity of Zu­l­u­land, the Cen­tral Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy and the Vaal Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy – un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The prob­lems ranged from se­ri­ous weak­nesses in gov­er­nance and man­age­ment, the col­lapse of sys­tems and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, weak ad­min­is­tra­tive sys­tems,

fail­ure to pro­vide strate­gic lead­er­ship, in­ef­fec­tive statutes and al­le­ga­tions of abuse. In Septem­ber, aca­demic and pro­fes­sional staff at TUT de­manded Min­is­ter Naledi Pan­dor place the in­sti­tu­tion un­der

ad­min­is­tra­tion again.

In his re­port, Pityana warned that MUT was in dan­ger of hit­ting the rocks with its se­nate meet­ings re­sem­bling a “war zone”. He found that gov­er­nance sys­tems were at risk

of to­tal break­down.

Pityana also rec­om­mended that MUT set up its own of­fice of the om­buds­man to re­duce the high cost

of its le­gal fees.

MUT vice-chan­cel­lor Duma Malaza said the coun­cil had sent a re­sponse to the re­port to Pan­dor and a coun­cil meet­ing was planned for De­cem­ber 5.

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