The council of the embattled Vaal University of Technology (VUT) has resigned amid plans by higher education Minister Blade Nzimande to intervene by appointing an administrator.
City Press learnt on Tuesday afternoon that the VUT vice-chancellor and principal, Professor Ndodomzi Gordon Zide, had announced the council’s resignation to the university community.
His announcement follows a council meeting held on Monday to discuss Nzimande’s intentions to appoint an administrator for the university.
Sources told City Press that the council meeting collapsed because it could not quorate.
Nzimande wanted the council to respond to his intentions and indicate why he should not appoint an administrator.
In a memorandum to the university community today, Zide said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform the VUT community that council ... magnanimously resolved to step down in order to give effect to the letter of the minister of higher education, science and technology ... in which he advised of his intention to appoint an administrator to VUT.”
For this transition period, Zide appealed to “every member of the VUT community to keep calm so that as and when the administrator comes in, we should all be able to demonstrate our commitment to this institution”.
He said although “goodbyes” and “thankyous” were exchanged at the said council meeting, he wished to extend his personal gratitude to all council members under whom he served at the institution “even though it has not been an easy journey”.
“We have some difficult days ahead and it will be our collective responsibility to make or to break this institution. I wish to plead for your cooperation to help build whatever is remaining of this institution so that when our individual time comes to exit, we should be able to look back with pride for the legacy we shall have left behind,” Zide said.
“May I conclude by borrowing from the late Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, that famous American Civil Rights Activist, who on the eve of his brutal assassination had a premonition of his death as he posited: ‘We have some difficulty days ahead, and I don’t know what is going to happen to me now; and I don’t mind – for the Lord has allowed me to go up the mountain. I have looked over and I have seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but on thing is certain, and that is we – the people of America will get to the Promise Land,” he said.
He added: “May I emphasise that I find myself having to echo these sentiments as the challenges and the vicissitudes of VUT have so dictated!”
This story will be updated once a comment has been received from VUT spokesperson Mike Khuboni.