Prof to challenge UWC suspension
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Cape town - Professor Brian Williams is set to take his expulsion from the University of the Western Cape's council to court.
Responding to news of his expulsion, Williams said the council's decision was “unlawful” and he would take the matter to the Western Cape High Court.
“UWC is once again brought into disrepute because of the latest unlawful decision which is brazen and crude.
“What lies at the heart of our unlawful suspensions (Songezo Maqula and I) and the illegitimate action against us, is the anti-democratic pressure to silence our critical voices as the representatives of all the graduates and academics at UWC.
“The unlawful suspensions that were made in November 2015 against Songezo Maqula and I will be heard in the High Court in the next six weeks.
“Given the clear of the breach of the rule of law and the violations of various statutes, the court will rule against our unlawful suspensions,” Williams said.
Last November, Williams and Maqula were suspended for their “perceived engagement” with student protesters.
The suspension was taken in light of serious allegations, including the alleged misconduct of Williams, earlier in the year.
At the time the council said the suspension was “considered the best way forward in order for council to be able to focus on the very urgent and serious matters facing the university and its council”, but the decision was opposed by many, including president of the convocation Mlungisi Noludwe.
Noludwe had reportedly said the decision was “unlawful” and the convocation was looking into taking the matter to court. He called for the suspension to be dropped.
The council had set up an ad-hoc committee which would look into the conduct of the two members.
Luthando Tyhalibongo, UWC’s spokesman, said Williams and Maqula failed to present their cases to the committee, despite numerous invitations to.
But Williams denied having received those invitations.
He said: “No invitation was issued to me to be present at the meeting where the unlawful decision was made and that decision was made in my absence; no charges have ever been put to me; no findings of guilt based on any charges and I had no opportunity to respond to any charges.”
In a statement issued by the chairman of the council, Mthunzi Mdwaba confirmed that the expulsion decision had been made on Thursday.
“A decision was taken to expel Mr Brian Williams from council, with immediate effect. A decision was also taken to suspend Songezo Maqula from council with immediate effect pending a disciplinary hearing process. These decisions were not made lightly, but were taken in the best interest of the university and its community. The president of Convocation was informed accordingly and we trust that we would be able to meaningfully engage convocation members to unite all stakeholders of the university,” Mdwaba said.
Mdwaba also referenced a statement he sent out in March where he indicated that they were determined to build an environment that was conducive to ensuring the excellence of the university.
“Irresponsible and malicious attacks on our vice-chancellor or the executive shall not be tolerated and shall be dealt with the contempt they deserve,” he said.