MUT boss to fight bid to force his early exit
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DURBAN - EMBATTLED Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) vice-chancellor Dr Enoch Malaza has approached the Labour Court in a bid to challenge the council’s decision to force him to retire two years before the end of his five-year contract.
Malaza, whose contract as vice-chancellor was to end in 2023, believes the decision amounts to unfair labour practice. In an unusual move, the council, the institution’s highest decision-making body, informed Malaza of its decision to have him retire this year.
“Through my legal representative we have approached the Labour Court and we hope that the decision to force me to retire this year (will be seen as) a breach of contract and illegal and unlawful and will be set aside,” Malaza said yesterday, adding that the matter was set down for December 14.
Malaza was suspended in May last year following allegations of corruption linked to the awarding of contracts at the university. The institution has been dogged by problems, including allegations of maladministration, fraud and corruption, which prompted the intervention of Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande.
He appointed Professor Anthony Staak to institute a probe into the source and nature of the problems and measures required to restore good governance.
Several MUT staff confirmed they were interviewed by Professor Staak.
Malaza also confirmed being interviewed by the independent assessor, a meeting which he said was handled professionally. “There was no hostility and the interviewing process was handled with a great level of respect,” he said.
However, Malaza expressed disappointment at his drawn-out disciplinary process, which had dragged on for months without reaching finality. “It is frustrating to remain suspended and the process stops and starts without any sense of progress,” Malaza said.
Ishmael Mnisi, spokesperson for the Department of Higher Education and Training, confirmed the investigation by the independent assessor had been concluded.
“The assessment was concluded within the gazetted period and the report has been submitted to the minister. The report will be published in the Government Gazette within the 90-day period as mandated by the Higher Education Act,” Mnisi said.
The report is expected to give a snapshot of the problems at the institution, including:
- Allegations of interference by the council in operational matters at MUT.
- Allegations of misconduct and mismanagement against Malaza.
- Circumstances and reasons leading to the suspension of Malaza and other senior managers in April last year.
- The circumstances that led to cashflow problems at MUT.
Asked about Malaza’s court case, MUT spokesperson Bheki Hlophe said the matter was between the employer and the employee and it would be inappropriate for the university to comment.