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The Tshwane University of Technology’s investigation into the illegal tapping of staff phones, in which top campus officials have been implicated, has claimed its first dismissal.
The suspended head of internal audit at TUT, Vincent Dlamini, is being fired by the university after being found to have been involved in the “conspiracy”.
The university announced on Thursday that Dlamini was being dismissed with effect from Saturday.
According to TUT, this followed a 10-month investigation into Dlamini’s involvement in what it has described as a “conspiracy to bring the reputation of TUT into disrepute”.
Dlamini was also found guilty of unlawful conduct, gross dishonesty, non-compliance with TUT policy, gross negligence, and actions that caused a breakdown in the relationship of trust between the employer and himself as a senior employee.
He told the Pretoria News he was maintaining his innocence.
He alleged the arbitrator at the hearing had not been impartial.
TUT said on Thursday that Dlamini had been “instrumental in allowing monitoring equipment to be installed on the premises of TUT to monitor staff members at the university”.
“According to the ruling, his actions in this regard exposed TUT to risk and exposed the university and himself to criminal liability in that the right to privacy of certain individuals has been unfairly infringed upon,” TUT in a statement on Thursday.
The university was placed under administration last year following a turbulent period in which its vice-chancellor was removed from his post by Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande for having submitted, when he applied for the job, a doctoral qualification not recognised in SA.
Nzimande fired the entire university council and delegated its powers to the appointed administrator, Professor Themba Mosia.
The bugging of the offices of senior managers at TUT was uncovered during Mosia’s investigation into the university’s affairs.
Dlamini was among several officials who were suspended on disciplinary charges relating to the bugging.
Mosia said in the statement that the finding against Dlamini should serve as a warning to other staff members involved in such activities.
The university said hearings to determine whether other individuals had been involved, had yet to be concluded.
Dlamini said the university had yet to inform him of its decision to dismiss him. He would challenge the decision as he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
“I have seen the report of the hearing, but nothing official has been communicated to me regarding the dismissal. I still maintain my innocence and I am consulting my attorney about the entire process. I believe it is very clear that an impartial arbitrator would come to a different conclusion.”
The DA spokeswoman on higher education and training, Annelie Lotriet, said:
“We welcome the ruling and hope it is only one of the first steps towards restoring stability at TUT. We will wait to see what additional matters the administrator uncovers and what he will do to bring the institution to normality.”