Unisa official in black-on-black racism case wants disciplinary dropped – because she is retiring

A senior Unisa official accused of black-on-black racism has allegedly asked for her disciplinary charges to be dropped – because she is retiring at the end of the year.

City Press understands from various sources that Rose Negota, a director in the language services department, wrote to Unisa principal and vice-chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya in May, stating, among other things, that because she was going on retirement, charges against her should be dropped.

But sources said complainants had objected to this request.

It remains unclear whether Unisa has rejected or accepted her request.

City Press has learnt that some allegations against her date back more than five years.

Negota faces a disciplinary hearing after Unisa appointed Professor Susan Steinman to investigate allegations of racial discrimination, bullying and victimisation made by staff members in her department.

Steinman recommended that Negota be disciplined in 2016.

Negota referred all questions to Unisa.

Unisa spokesperson Martin Ramotshela said Negota’s matter originated from a grievance lodged against her by staff in her directorate.

“This is a complex matter that required intensive investigation by an independent external person specialising in workplace bullying, and at a time when the university had to deal with litigations,” Ramotshela said.

He declined to comment on the merits of the matter, merely saying that the university intended to complete it as soon as possible and in a manner that was amicable to all affected parties.

The university, Ramotshela said, would not comment on Negota’s behalf.

According to a list compiled by Makhanya and sent to Negota in November 2016, she faces the following charges:

  • Racial discrimination, after allegations surfaced that she discriminated against blacks, specifically Africans, in her directorate in that she refused to enter their offices, failed to appoint black staff and therefore failed to adequately transform her directorate; and
  • Victimisation and bullying, following allegations that she made some staff perform duties for which they were not qualified, refused to approve sick leave when a staff member was ill, created an environment in which staff were fearful of her and threatened to reverse some staff members’ appointments.

Sources said that as part of the request Negota had made to Makhanya, she had challenged Steinman’s appointment and professional standing to conduct the investigation.

Negota also claimed she was unaware of grievances that had been formally filed against her.

But sources said complainants had objected to Negota’s request, saying she had not provided any evidence to support the allegations relating to the credibility of Steinman’s professional standing.

In addition, said the complainants, Negota had lied about being unaware of grievances they had lodged and urged Unisa to finalise the matter before she went on retirement.

City Press has seen a grievance filed in 2015 by a junior staff member in Negota’s department, detailing how she was allegedly victimised by the director and that Negota had instructed the junior to report to Unisa’s Florida campus, even though she had worked at the main campus in Pretoria.


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