The chairperson of the portfolio committee on higher education and training, as first respondent, and speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete, as second respondent, have finally released a report of a hearing it held into alleged maladministration at the institution.
A group calling itself Save Unizulu has approached the Durban High Court to obtain an order compelling Parliament to release the report. Save Unizulu is a group comprising suspended, fired and concerned staff members from the University of Zululand (Unizulu).
It has been almost a year since Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande wrote to the university council informing he intends to place the beleaguered institution under administration.
Following several student and staff protests reported in the media, the portfolio committee held hearings into the university earlier this year. As part of axed CFO Josephine Naicker’s court case challenging her dismissal, the university was subpoenaed to provide Save Unizulu with the report and two other forensic reports emanating from various forensic investigations.
After Parliament initially ignored the subpoena, the group applied for a contempt of court hearing in which the chairperson and the speaker were expected to explain why the Durban High Court must not rule they were contemptuous.
Parliament has now officially released the portfolio report to the group. Baleka Mbete, however, told the court she had no authority to release the forensic reports, as those had been handed to the minister in terms of the rules.
Parliamentarians made three main recommendations, which include that “the council should consider the suitability and feasibility of the vice-chancellor [Xoliswa Mtose] and report to the committee”.
The committee also requested that the council engage it on a continuous basis regarding the institution’s turnaround strategy.
The vice-chancellor was further requested to “set up a forensic investigation into functions of cooperatives at the university as well as the company which had links to some council members and report back to the committee”.