‘Rogue’ UKZN lecturer fired

2019-11-07 15:00
Vincent Mtyende. PHOTO: ukzn.ac.za

Vincent Mtyende. PHOTO: ukzn.ac.za

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The University of KwaZulu-Natal has fired “rogue” lecturer Vincent Mtyende, who was accused of absconding from lecturing, which threw the English 101 course into disarray this year.

Mtyende, who was based at the Pietermaritzburg campus, was found guilty of being absent without leave for several periods during the first semester, and a disciplinary committee found that this had directly resulted in the English 101 course being delivered poorly to students.

The disciplinary process, which The Witness understands was concluded in September, found that Mtyende had not furnished reasons to his superiors for his absenteeism, and that he had brought the university into disrepute.

He was also found guilty of being rude and disrespectful to a superior in April, when he had been asked to submit examination questions for an English 305 exam.

The Witness reported in June that 111 students failed the English 101 exam outright, and another 118 students had qualified to write a supplementary exam. Students and staff had blamed Mtyende’s “going rogue” for the dismal performance, and the situation was so bad that students submitted a nearly 100-signature petition against him to the English department hierarchy.

A special request had been made by university management for all students who failed to write the exam to be allowed to take the supplementary exam.

Mtyende said at the time that he was absent because of a death in the family and a persistent medical condition.

Mtyende on Wednesday refused to comment on his dismissal, saying it was “still before other judiciary institutions”, but would not give details.

He said he regretted speaking to The Witness for the article in June, and accused a reporter of twisting his words. “The last time I made comments I was quoted out of context and my words were turned against me and all that kind of stuff.”

Regarding his dismissal, he said: “... I don’t know what information you have and I don’t know where you got that information from.”

He would not say whether he would appeal his dismissal. Mtyende had been employed by UKZN for eight years. He had been absent for lengthy periods during the first semester of this year and had also not been logging his leave on the university’s system. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in this case.

UKZN confirmed Mtyende was fired, but declined to give further details, saying the matter is confidential.

Former lecturer at the English department, Darryl David, resigned from UKZN this year because of this debacle. He said he had laid several complaints about Mtyende over the years, but those fell on deaf ears. “It is never nice to see someone lose their job, but there has to be accountability. If you [as a lecturer] consistently miss lectures ... you are doing students a grave injustice.”

David, who now lectures at the University of the Western Cape, added: “... this entire debacle has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I had to leave an institution I loved, an institution I thought I would retire from.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  ukzn lecturer

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