Unisa has chosen to remain mum on findings of “serious governance and maladministration” made in an independent assessor’s report earlier this year.
In May, the Unisa council admitted the institution had “serious governance” issues, but maintained there was no chaos.
During a media briefing on the general state of the university, the institution said the assessor’s report will not be discussed in the public domain, adding that it “differed” with the findings.
“Management reiterated the university’s stance on the independent assessor’s report and its predecessor, the ministerial task team (MTT) report.
“While the university co-operated with both processes and respected the reports, it differed with the findings of both reports that the institution was collapsing.
“However, due to the issues pertaining to the independent assessor’s report and minister’s notice to place the university under administration being sub judice, the university has adopted an official position of not dealing with these issues in the public domain,” Unisa said.
Further enquiries relating to the report were not answered by deadline on Wednesday.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande appointed Professor Themba Mosiato as the independent assessor to investigate all affairs at Unisa, which included tender and supply chain issues, as well as the nature of vice-chancellor Professor Puleng LenkaBula’s official residence and her governance style.
Mosiato recommended the “full administration of Unisa, where both council and management are relieved of their duties”.
The MTT report tabled at a portfolio committee meeting in February last year made a number of governance-related findings and recommendations.
“Unisa’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure is outdated and has increasingly become less fit for purpose over the years,” the MTT found.
“ICT management has deliberately frustrated the implementation of its strategic priorities.
“This is regarded as a fundamental dereliction of duty on the part of council for failing to deliver on its basic fiduciary responsibilities with respect to the infrastructure necessary for education delivery, a function vital to the sound functioning of a university; thus failing to safeguard the health of the academic enterprise.
“This situation has persisted over several years and is unlikely to change without some drastic intervention. Furthermore, the failure to ensure robust, modern, and secure ICT infrastructure has damaged Unisa’s academic standing and administrative competence as a reputable higher education institution.
“There is scant understanding of the vital importance of compliance throughout the institution, and the far-reaching consequences of its neglect. The need for further urgent investigation by a body with forensic expertise is strongly recommended,” the report read.