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
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.