CPUT criticism of me 'pretty petty' – Scopa chairperson

2017-10-06 21:33
Themba Godi (Netwerk24)

Themba Godi (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) chairperson Themba Godi has labelled the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) "pretty petty" for criticising him for sharing a platform with SRC member and suspended student Ayakha Magxothwa.

This after Godi's visit to CPUT on Friday morning sparked condemnation from the university. The institution accused Godi of picking sides and making "blatantly one-sided statements".

Magxothwa was suspended after being charged with disrupting an executive committee council meeting.

"The irresponsibility of [Godi's] actions was proven when the gathering dissolved into a violent skirmish after his exit," CPUT said in a statement.

Godi, however, insisted that he visited the institution as a public representative to engage with students and see how he can help.

"The university's response ... confirms that management has a problem,"Godi told News24 on Friday.

"I would appreciate the challenge if they say let's come sit down and let's talk."

He said he would be writing to the Department of Higher Education, the Education portfolio committee and the university's vice chancellor to "share with them my concerns".

When Godi arrived at CPUT, he said there was a presentation about the challenges students and staff currently encounter at the institution.

He said "a couple of hundred" people attended the gathering.

Godi said the deployment of heavily armed security personnel is of particular concern to him.

"It felt like the 80s with all the security personnel occupying the campus, it shook me and took me a bit back during those dark times [in apartheid]," he said.

"Break down in trust between management and students to this extent is deeply concerning."

Among the issues discussed included the university's National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) office, food vouchers from NSFAS, student accommodation and outsourcing, which the university agreed to phase out.

Godi, who is also the African People's Convention's leader, said the sense he had was that management wasn't "playing its part" in communicating with students.

CPUT faced several student protests the past few months, with a workshop petrol-bombed and a staff room torched.

READ: CPUT staff room, financial aid office burnt in arson attacks

Renowned St Mark's Anglican Church in District Six was petrol bombed at the end of September, allegedly by a student protester.

The Anglican Diocese of Cape Town criticised the bombing, saying it was a beacon of hope which had played a pivotal role in the struggle for justice and freedom.

"Today [the church] stands as a heritage site, an island of resistance amidst the towering modern buildings, as a reminder of the painful past [in District 6]. It is therefore disappointing for all associated with St Mark's District Six that a place of worship could come under attack," the office of the Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba said at the time.

On Wednesday, CPUT announced that vice-chancellor Prins Nevhutalu was found guilty of “gross misconduct” by a disciplinary committee and subsequently resigned.

READ HERE: CPUT vice chancellor guilty of 'gross misconduct', resigns

Nevhutalu served three of the five years of his contract when he was placed on special leave on October 21, 2016. Dr John Volmink has been acting in the post.

The Mail&Guardian reported that he faced charges of gross dereliction of duty, gross insubordination, gross negligence, breach of trust and incompatibility.

In September, News24 reported that for the 2016 financial year, while Nevhutalu was on special leave, his annual salary was more than R2.7m.

Read more on:    cput  |  themba godi  |  university protests

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