SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - A committee to oversee transformation in universities has been established, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday.

“I have great pleasure today in announcing the establishment of the ministerial oversight committee on transformation in the South African public universities,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

“This name is a long name, we have to find an appropriate acronym for it.”

He said the creation of a committee was one of the recommendations made following a probe into discrimination in universities, in the aftermath of a racism case at the University of the Free State (UFS) in 2008.

At the time, a video emerged of UFS employees undergoing an initiation, which included having to get on their knees and eat food which had apparently been urinated into by male students at the university's Reitz men's residence.

Nzimande said the oversight committee would monitor the progress of transformation in universities and advise him on policies to combat racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.

Members of the committee were appointed for three years, and could be re-appointed by the higher education minister.

“The appointment of the committee is effective from the day of gazetting, which will take place soon after this announcement,” Nzimande said.

The committee consisted of University of KwaZulu-Natal vice chancellor Prof Malegapuru Makhoba, University of Fort Hare vice chancellor Mvuyo Tom, University of Witwatersrand transformation director Nazeema Mohamed, and Congress of SA Trade Unions second deputy president Zingiswa Losi.

Prof Andre Keet, from the UFS, Prof Shirley Walters, from the University of the Western Cape, and National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union first deputy president Joe Mpisi were also part of the committee.