DURBAN – The chairman of the council of the troubled Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) will remain at the helm, prompting calls for him to step down. Yesterday, the council declared its decision. The change was made last week at an emergency meeting of the council, which flies in the face of the stance recently taken by the parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education, research and innovation.
The meeting was hastily convened to address “serious concerns” raised by members of the portfolio committee the week before regarding governance irregularities and maladministration at MUT. Lawmakers read Chairman Morailane Morailane’s riot act, stating that “the attitude of defiance” he exhibited to Parliament made them believe that the accusations of corruption made against him were real.
It is expected that a committee delegation will soon converge on the institution after they have agreed to conduct an on-site inspection in an effort to restore good governance. Morailane had attempted to refuse to participate in the hearing, citing the involvement of Dr Duma Malaza, the suspended vice-chancellor and principal, who was also invited to give a presentation on the university’s ills. The council said yesterday that the committee’s appeal for Morailane to step down and for Nzimande to take over the MUT administration was ill-advised.
It agreed that the findings of a preliminary forensic inquiry, which it says had exonerated Morailane from wrongdoing, would be shared.Malaza, who was suspended on May 1 last year after making them during a council meeting a day earlier, levelled the allegations against him. On the day after Malaza was sent home, the council also suspended two other senior managers, Dr Phana Jerome Mabaso, the head of audits, and Muzi Khumalo, a senior operations manager, both on charges of tender misconduct and bribery.
The Council said yesterday, “The Council noted that the fact that the portfolio committee did not have the SNG-Thornton Forensic Report (sic) in its possession led it to make calls that are not fact-based and that are not supported by evidence.” “It is hoped that through this, the stakeholders of the public and MUT will be in a better place to understand what is happening at MUT and to dispel statements that the university is in crisis worthy of actions such as those called for by some stakeholders (Nzimande intervention),” the council said.