By Gaby Ndongo (2 mins read)
The employment of former Vaal University of Technology’s (VUT) Vice-Chancellor (VC) needed to be re-evaluated, according to a report by the Independent Assessors about the state of VUT, released on Friday, 14th February.
Considering that former VC Prof. Gordon Ndodomzi Zide had “been incapable of giving strategic leadership to the university, to offer credible and effective management, the future of his employment at the university need[ed] to be re-assessed,” reads the report published in the Government Gazette.
The Independent Assessors were appointed by then Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor, in May 2019. Its assessors are former University of South Africa VC, Barney Pityana, and former Central University of Technology Deputy VC, Rocky Ralebipi-Simela. They said that leadership, governance and management at VUT was at a stage of collapse and in need of intervention.
“The sustainability of the institution was being put at risk,” adds the report. It has been happening for a prolonged period and “we now know that the (earlier) interventions taken have either been superficial or that the scale of the problem has been far too stubborn for the measures previously undertaken”.
The main causes of the deteriorating situation are fear, collusion and indifference by students, staff, parents, the community, donors and suppliers. “In this case, the university has been left to become prey to the wolves,” reads the report.
Overall, thirteen recommendations, including the re-evaluation of the former VC’s employment, were tabled by the report.
They touch on the “manner of appointment of the Vice Chancellor, the manner of appointment of members of Council, the role of Council, supply chain management, the quality of the academic provision at the university, the rot in the institution runs deep and that is aided and abetted by a number of participants inside and outside the university.”
Higher Education, Science and Technology minister, Blade Nzimande, said, “I have shared the report with the (VUT) administrator, Professor Ihron Rensburg, for his response on the findings and recommendations contained therein, and how the university will give effect to the recommendations and I will also be tabling the report before the National Assembly”.
Access this link for the full report (executive summary: 49-51). TOJ
This article was updated on Thursday, 20th February 2020, to indicate that the report was making reference to the former VC of VUT: Prof. Gordon Ndodomzi Zide. Reporting by Gaby Ndongo. Editing by Hendrica Nkoana and Buyeleni Sibanyoni. Feature image: Google screenshot by Gaby Ndongo.