University of Fort Hare administrator 'out of touch with reality', says Parliament
Parliament has taken a swipe at University of Fort Hare administrator Professor Loyiso Nongxa after he failed to attend a meeting of the higher education portfolio committee on Tuesday.
In a statement, committee chairperson Philly Mapulane said Nongxa was invited for a follow-up engagement with the committee after the sudden shut down of the university by its management earlier this week.
Mapulane said Nongxa wrote to him providing what the committee considered to be "lousy and frivolous" reasons on why he was unable to attend the meeting.
“The committee rejected with the contempt it deserves, the letter by Professor Loyiso Nongxa explaining why he is not the relevant person to come to explain the decision to close the university.
"Professor Nongxa seems to be completely out of touch with the reality that the university is faced with a serious crisis and the fact that it is his responsibility to lead the university in its efforts to resolve the crisis," he said.
He added: "The administrator seems to be sitting comfortably in his cushy role and boasting to Parliament about his previous roles, but doing nothing whilst the institution is up in flames. The administrator must decide whether he wishes to help the nation, by rising to the occasion and lead the university to move out of the current quagmire, or ship out of the public role assigned to him by the Minister of being the council of the university."
He further maintained that the fact that the university was placed under administration by former Minister Naledi Pandor and Professor Nongxa being appointed as an administrator, is in itself testament to the fact that things are not normal in the Committee.
"To now get a man tasked with a task of rescuing the institution ‘fiddling whilst Rome is burning’ is a great disappointment” Mapulane said.
He also said the committee has resolved to call on the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande to review the continued role and presence of Nongxa as the administrator of the University of Fort Hare given his reluctance to perform his duty and his insolent behaviour towards Parliament.
Mapulane said the committee would employ all the instruments in its disposal to compel Nongxa to appear before Parliament in the next term.
In his briefing to the committee, Mapulane said he was informed by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Sakhela Buhlungu that the Department of Higher Education and Training deputy director-general, Dr Parker, instructed the management of the university to cancel its engagement with the committee.
"This action by Dr Parker is viewed by the committee as undermining the autonomy of Parliament, and is considered inexcusable. In this regard, the committee resolved to call on Dr Parker to submit a written explanation of her unacceptable actions," he said.
Neither Nongxa nor Parker were immediately reached for comment.
Early this month, the committee held meetings on with tertiary institutions such as University of Fort Hare, University of Western Cape and the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in order to address's some of the challenging at the institutions.