CPUT spurns invitation to appear before parliamentary committee
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Cape Town - Parliament’s portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology is upset the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has failed to appear before it over student and worker grievances.
Committee chairperson Philly Mapulane said the university had failed to honour the committee’s invitation to attend a meeting this week, with the university's alleged excuse that it was short notice.
“We are getting increasingly tired with the kind of excuses we get from CPUT every time we invite them to a meeting," said Mapulane.
He said they sent them (CPUT) an invite last week for Tuesday's meeting, which was sufficient notice, especially given the fact they didn’t have to prepare any presentation.
"All that needed to happen was for them to present themselves and to answer questions raised by members and their stakeholders," he said.
Mapulane said the committee has once again resolved to summon them to appear before the committee in the next two weeks.
CPUT student representative council's (SRC) deputy president Sihle Ngxabi said CPUT council and management defied the call to appear before the committee, which was attended by the SRC and the unions.
Ngxabi said the issues included the student suspensions, the unleashing of private security on students whenever there were protests, the immediate resignation of the dean of students, immediate release and publication of the Yekiso Commission report, both the original and the edited version, and also the request for more shuttles and the insourcing of transport.
CPUT was approached for comment and did not respond to requests. However, in a leaked document, the university's chair of council advocate Zuko Mapoma said a number of issues raised in Parliament were discussed and addressed, including job grading of certain insourced workers and that corrective measures were currently being taken and issues of staff fatigue as a result of Covid-19.
Mapoma said the management had responded to staff fatigue by approving a three-year staff wellness project to look after the needs of all staff, to provide counselling, as and if needed, as well as offering well-designed wellness programmes.
Mapoma said unions have also been informed about the costs of medical aid funds and the potential impact on their salaries.
"A follow-up meeting with the recognized unions is scheduled for Wednesday (yesterday). On Friday, the vice-chancellor will also meet with the National Insourced Workers Union."
He said in terms of student issues raised, progress was being made, including resolving matters of financial exclusion, providing students with laptops and online academic support accessible 24/7.
He said the National Student Financial Aid Scheme remained a national concern which was not under the university’s control. However, the university was doing its best to ensure registration happened as smoothly as possible.