Cape Peninsula University of Technology Photo:
Cape Town - The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) says events leading its head of Department of Tourism and Events Management, Snyman Ohlhoff, taking his own life cannot be discussed in public.

Ohlhoff was embroiled in a labour dispute with the institution.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) this week requested Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor to urgently look into the debacle, which the union believes drove Ohlhoff to ending his life.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said the institution noted Fedusa’s statement regarding the death of Ohlhoff.

She confirmed that at the time of his death he was engaged in a dispute with the institution and the processes related to this dispute were ongoing.

“Suicide and the situation leading up to an individual’s decision to end their own life is a complex and sensitive matter, which, with respect to Mr Ohlhoff and his family, we would prefer not to engage on publicly. The institution has provided bereavement counselling to his colleagues and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time,” she said.

Fedusa spokesperson Frank Nxumalo said CPUT management refused to meet the leadership of National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), an affiliate of Fedusa, in the tertiary education sector.

He said NTEU wanted to understand what had led to their member to see no other solution to his dispute with the institution but to end his own life.

“CPUT continued to keep Ohlhoff under suspension for the past eight months blatantly disregarding the fact that it was referred to the CCMA for arbitration. He wanted to find resolution and on October 3 he settled the dispute with his employer, hoping for a speedier resolution.”

“Fedusa wants to see a speedy resolution for the Ohlhoff family and believes that failure of institutional governance should never be allowed to lead to the loss of a life - of a father, husband, union member and a colleague of the union federation’s membership,” he said.

Snyman is survived by his widow, Maretha, and their two sons, Krause and Stef.

The Higher Education Department did not respond by the time of deadline.

Cape Times