UniZulu council backs vice-chancellor amid calls for her resignation
Durban - The University of Zululand (UniZulu) council has given its full backing to embattled Vice-Chancellor Professor Xoliswa Mtose, following student protests calling for her removal.
The council said she was a key part of the institution and would not be removed from her position.
Members of the council, led by chairperson Nomarashiya Caluza, said at a media briefing that Mtose had done great work improving the university and was not going anywhere.
The protest started last Monday and is likely to continue this weekend.
A mobile kitchen has been burnt and a police vehicle set alight.
One of the key demands by the students is that Mtose be removed from her position. Caluza told The Mercury that focusing on Mtose was unproductive: “Let’s say we agree and we remove Mtose, then what? The issues will remain. There are real issues of financial aid, availability of residences, safety of students, the SRC leadership - those are the issues that we should focus on resolving,” she said.
Caluza said Mtose had been key to reviving the fortunes of the institution, and under her leadership the university was growing from strength to strength.
“Professor Mtose has managed to take the institution from a state of flux, limping from one administrator to the next, to a stable institution. Her focus on academic excellence has led to an increase in staff with PhDs from 30% in 2015 to 50% in 2020,” she said.
Caluza said Mtose had managed to put sound administrative structures and policies in place and improved what was once a difficult relationship with the Department of Higher Education.
“The university’s financial health has improved.”
Caluza said they were concerned about time lost because of the shutdown and hoped the university reopened by next week.
“We cannot go three or four weeks with the university closed, we are calling on management and students to come together in conversation,” she said.
Collin Madiba of the EFF’s Student Command said a meeting that had been scheduled between the students and the university management had not materialised.
“Our demands have not changed. We want Mtose gone. As long as she is still in that office, we will continue with the protest,” he said.