The Congress of South African Trade Unions(COSATU) in Gauteng is alarmed by the recent developments at the University of South Africa(UNISA) subsequent to the latest damning report released by the Assessor. UNISA’s dented reputation that has been portrayed in the public domain due to the stubbornness of some council members, led by the chairperson of the council, should serve as leverage for the Department of Higher Education and Training to save this historic higher education institution from the embarrassment it is currently subjected to.
The chairperson of the council has gone out of his way to undermine governance by suspending the registrar for allegedly failing to call a council meeting that didn’t constitute a quorum due to the exodus resignation of council members.
COSATU questions the procedure followed to suspend the registrar. It is our view that the council should take such a decision as a collective, not an individual. The action by the chairperson of the council reflects a person who does not have the best interests of the university at heart. If he did, he would have resigned to allow the university to implement the recommendations of the Assessor.
The Federation is also worried about the attitude of the ten(10) remaining council members who are hellbent on proceeding to steer a ship to the cliff. It is quite clear that these members are not deterred by how their arrogance is affecting the university community and stakeholders. These members led by the chairperson, are ignoring concerns by academics, students, stakeholders, and NGO’s who are calling for the dissolution of the council and the resignation of the Vice Chancellor.
Last year, we warned that UNISA would be driven to a cliff because of an inexperienced principal who was incorrectly appointed. It is not a surprise that UNISA is now at this position. We also cautioned stakeholders about the irregular process of acquiring laptops for staff and the exorbitant renovation of the principal’s official residence. Sequentially, we were ridiculed by those close to the principal, but today, we are vindicated.
In view of the said, COSATU is calling for the remaining members of the council, the chairperson and the principal to save UNISA from further embarrassment and resign. We further call on the Minster of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation to recall all council Ministerial appointees and appoint the Administrator to start the process of appointing the new leadership of the university. Should these requests not be heeded, COSATU will have no option but to join formations that are calling for a total shutdown of UNISA until our requests are acceded to.
Issued by COSATU Gauteng
Provincial Secretary – Louisa Modikwe: 066 182 2402
Provincial Chairperson – Amos Monyela: 079 493 5002