The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has committed to enhance its oversight responsibility on the University of Zululand’s KwaDlangezwa campus in eMpangeni, until the institution functions normally.
The committed made the commitment following a meeting with the Council for Higher Education (CHE) on matters regarding the university.
During a meeting held on Wednesday, the CHE briefed the committee on the university’s governance challenges, including issues pertaining to the Vice Chancellor, the university council, and the sale of degrees.
The CHE told the committee that something must be done at a higher level so students are not denied education, and that there had to be a forensic investigation to address things that the CHE lacked capacity to deal with.
Chairperson of the portfolio committee, Connie September, said all role players must move with speed on the matter, adding that the department must intervene immediately.
“We cannot have a situation where UniZulu is spiralling downwards. When we come back for the next term, we will decide how we move forward with regard to the institution,” September said.
She said the Human Right Commission (HRC) had also conducted an investigation into the sector, and that the committee will consider inviting HRC to get a briefing on its findings.
Last week Thursday, classes were suspended at the university during a violent protest over meal allowances.
According to a police report, a building and two police vehicles were torched during the protest. Thirty-two students were arrested.
Progress made at Fort Hare University
Meanwhile, September voiced satisfaction with the progress made at the University of Fort Hare since the oversight visit by the committee to that institution.
However, the committee said it was concerned about the reported mismanagement of finances at the Tshwane College. The committee said it fully supports calls for this to be investigated.
September emphasised that where transgressions have occurred, the law enforcement agencies must deal get involved.
“Students’ preoccupation should be learning and not parties. There are still issues with student accommodation at many institutions, but we are excited with the progress. But also the reported thievery at some institutions should be dealt with,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za