Former University of Johannesburg vice-chancellor Professor Ihron Rensburg has been appointed with “immediate effect” to take over governance and management at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT).
This effectively ends Professor Ndodomzi Gordon Zide’s role as the vice-chancellor of the university.
City Press previously reported about several allegations relating to Zide’s conduct at the university.
Nzimande’s decision to appoint Rensburg comes after the university council resigned last week.
City Press learnt last night that Nzimande had on Monday sent a letter to former VUT council chairperson Tebogo Hlapolosa, which was copied to Zide and university registrar Dan Mokoena, announcing Rensburg’s appointment.
In it, Nzimande thanked council for responding “timeously” to the letter he wrote on July 31 about his intentions to appoint an administrator.
He said he had approached Rensburg “in light of the very serious governance and management challenges that have arisen” at VUT that “undermine the effective functioning” of the university.
“I have appointed Professor Ihron Rensburg as the administrator for the Vaal University of Technology to take over the role, powers, functions and duties of council; and to take over the management of the institution.”
Nzimande said details of the appointment will be published in the government gazette.
But he said Rensburg will, among others, perform the following duties:
• Initiate processes and initiatives that will restore proper governance and management at the university;
• Identify and initiate processes and initiatives that will restore governance and management at the university including reviewing the statute if necessary;
• Ensure that a new council for VUT is appointed and constituted in accordance with the institutional statute as soon as is practicable; and
• Receive the report of the independent assessor Professor Barney Pityana and initiate processes of implementing its recommendations.
“I therefore inform you that the administrator, Professor Ihron Rensburg, is hereby appointed with immediate effect. In terms of Section 49E, the Vaal University of Technology Council is dissolved from the date the minister appoints the administrator, which is actually the date of the publication of the government gazette announcing the appointment. I noted in your letter the decision of the remaining members of council to resign with immediate effect. I would have preferred that council continues until it is officially dissolved in terms of Section 49E,” Nzimande wrote in the letter.
Rensburg’s appointment was confirmed in a statement issued by Nzimande’s spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi, today.
Mnisi said Rensburg was appointed in terms of section 49B of the Higher Education Act.
“Minister Nzimande appointed the administrator on the basis of an interim report of the Independent Assessors, led by Professor Barney Pityana and Professor Rocky Ralebipi-Simela, who were appointed to investigate and advise the minister on the sources and nature of governance and management problems at VUT.”
Nzimande wrote to the university council on July 31 informing them of his intentions to appoint an administrator.
The minister then received a notice from the university council last week announcing that they had “voluntarily” stepped down.
In the statement, Nzimande said Rensburg has been identified as an appropriate individual with the necessary skills and experience to act as an administrator for VUT.
“Professor Rensburg served as the Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg from 2006 to 2017. He was also instrumental in guiding the university through its early years after it was formed in 2005 as a merger of the then Rand Afrikaans University, Technikon Witwatersrand and the Soweto Campus of Vista University.
“He had earlier held the position of deputy director general of the department of education, amongst other portfolios within the education sector,” Nzimande said.
Nzimande thanked and wished Rensburg success, and urged the entire VUT community to work with him, and give him all the support he needs in seeking to stabilise and transform the institution.