Nzimande to resist university ruling

2012-08-23 18:01
Blade Nzimande (File, Sapa)

Blade Nzimande (File, Sapa)

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Cape Town - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Thursday vowed to resist a court ruling opposing his appointment of an administrator at the Central University of Technology.

The Higher Education Act might have to be amended in response to Judge Johann Daffue's ruling in the Bloemfontein High Court this month, Nzimande told reporters in Cape Town.

Daffue found Nzimande had prejudged the issue by making the appointment without clear proof of maladministration, and thereby failed to meet the requirements of the act.

He said some of Nzimande's actions might point to the minister acting on "preconceived" notions.

Nzimande said the judgment risked making universities a law unto themselves.

"The decision to implement the recommendations of the independent assessor was taken after considering all the relevant facts stated in the report and consulting the council of the CUT," he said.

"That decision remains to be in the best interests of the university and the public education sector as a whole."

Nzimande appointed Professor Stanley Ridge to take over the functions of the council and vice-chancellor Thandwa Mthembu, whom he accuses of behaving inappropriately.

Daffue had stressed that the minister and the department gave scant attention to the university's rebuttal of the assessor's report.

But Nzimande said it must be noted the judge did not set aside the independent assessor's report.

While he believed universities were autonomous, they should remain accountable to the government because they were funded by the tax payer.

Director general Gwebinkundla Qonde said authorities at the university in the Free State had created a "climate of fear and victimisation".

In the court case, much was made of Nzimande's alleged excessive delegation to Qonde.

It was claimed that in May he sent Qonde to an important meeting with the university council while taking part in a march to the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, in protest against the controversial Brett Murray artwork The Spear.

- SAPA
Read more on:    cut  |  blade nzimande  |  bloemfontein  |  education
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