Cape Peninsula University of Technology Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Student Representative Council (SRC) president Sipho Mokoena has cited politics as the reason behind the delays in releasing the long-awaited Yekiso Commission report.

The commission, chaired by Judge James Yekiso and advocate Willem Heath, was established to investigate allegations of maladministration and poor service delivery which led to violent student protests between 2014 and 2017 at CPUT.

The commission began its work on March 5, 2018 and was expected to submit its final report with findings and recommendations to the University Council by no later than July 31, 2018.

Some of the parties who made submissions before the commission turned to the Department of Higher Education (DHET) to complain about the delay in the release of the report.

Mokoena said: “The reason for the delay was that the high court ruled that the individuals implicated in the report must be given right of reply before it gets released. My view is that this whole thing is just being delayed for political reasons.”

An academic requesting his identity be withheld out of fear that doing so would jeopardise their employment in the academic field said: “While I may no longer be with the institution I and the countless others who made submissions deserve to know the outcome of the report.”

He said that Judge Yekiso issued a clear indication to them personally, more than a year ago, that the commission’s work had already been terminated and that its report was already submitted to the council.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), an affiliate of Fedusa in the tertiary education sector, made submissions to the commission.

NTEU spokesperson Jako Nel said: “Our submissions included several HR matters relating to the university management’s lack of response or dealing with staff issues. 

"Especially related to the matter concerning the events leading up to the head of the Department of Tourism and Events Management taking his own life. 

"More than a year later the university is sitting on this report, waiting for the heat to die down so as to not address the outcome nor face accountability,” he said.

Nel said they too were left with little choice but to turn to the DHET due to the delay in releasing the report.

Probed on the cost of the commission, including the cost of extending the process, CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said she did not have any additional information apart from a communique forwarded to staff from Yekiso Commission in June this year. 

At the time, the commission had said a final report was submitted to council on August 15, 2018. 

“In its subsequent engagements with council, the commission became of the view, among other issues raised by the Task Team in the report, that there was merit in the issue relating to council not having been afforded an opportunity to comment on the report prior to presentation thereof to council in its final form. 

“Based on that concession, the commission filed a chamber book application with a judge of the high court in chambers to have the status of the report changed from its final form to that of a provisional report,” said the commission. 

This according, to the commission, was granted. The commission had anticipated to file and hand over to council its draft final report by no later than August 11, afford council an opportunity to furnish the commission with its comments and to file its final report by no later than September 9. 

DHET spokesperson Ismael Mnisi did not respond to questions by deadline.

Cape Times