Doctors seek probe into UKZN

2012-06-02 00:00

OVER 500 doctors and academics have called for an investigation into the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Those calling for the investigation are members of the KZN Coastal Branch of the South African Medical Assocation (Sama) and the KwaZulu-Natal Managed Care Coalition (MCC). The Sama branch resolved to make the call at an AGM held two weeks ago, while the KZN MCC resolved to do so at a conference last weekend.

An appeal was sent to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, requesting he appoint a judicial review committee. Nzimande has since referred the matter back to the university and said the university’s council and governing body must deal with the matter.

The call for the investigation is in light of the high turnover of academic staff, high levels of discontent and low morale at the university in general and particular concerns about educational standards, administration and the Faculty of Medicine staffing procedures.

“Many of our members are really alarmed at the progressive self-destruction and implosion at UKZN,” said a Sama member, who asked not to be identified. “Over the last decade, many brilliant academics have left the university, not for greener pastures; but were forced out for expressing their views on governance issues.” The source also cited the “systematic persecution of academics”.

In 2005, 23 academics from the Faculty of Medicine were charged with being racist in a report commissioned by the university, but none was convicted after an inquiry.

Yesterday, it was reported that Durban lawyer Siven Samuel, representing a group of people including “former students, parents of students, some academics and members of the community”, had sent a letter to the university’s Audit and Risk Committee, calling for an investigation into allegations against vice-chancellor William Makgoba as well as several other matters requiring “investigation and response”, including some senior academic appointments.

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