Durban - The council of Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has placed vice-chancellor and principal Enoch Malaza on precautionary suspension over allegations of procurement irregularities and issues around his relationship with some senior officials.
The decision was taken during the council’s virtual meeting held on Wednesday, to discuss various matters affecting the institution and its operations.
According to reliable sources within management, there were several complaints of mismanagement, fraud and corruption, which had been reported, but no action taken.
The Sunday Tribune reported last week about allegations of corruption relating to a security tender valued at R99 million, which was yet to be awarded.
Malaza had placed Lwazi Mthimkhulu, an acting senior director in the human resource and development department, on precautionary suspension over allegations of payroll irregularities.
However, Mthimkhulu has challenged his suspension at the Durban Labour Court. In court papers, he claimed that he was being targeted because he had questioned a number of “dubious” payments in the university’s payroll.
Mthimkhulu alleged that he informed Malaza, in his reply to the notice of suspension, of a protected disclosure which he made to his line manager regarding a demand for a R700 000 kickback from a service provider in exchange for the R99m security contract.
He said the request for a kickback was allegedly made to a security service provider by one of the senior directors in the operations department.
The MUT’s council resolved to institute an independent forensic investigation to establish the validity of the allegations.
Malaza will be on suspension for the duration of the forensic investigation, and a preliminary report is expected to be released at the end of the month.
Also during the meeting, two other executives, Morailane Morailane, chairperson of the council, and Sfiso Keswa, chairperson of the council’s audit and risk committee, voluntarily stepped down from their roles for the duration of the forensic investigation upon the recommendation of the council.
Nomusa Qunta, deputy chairperson of the council, said the council had appointed Professor Marcus Ramogale, deputy vice-chancellor, as the acting vice-chancellor and principal.
She said the council has also requested the acting vice-chancellor to give his consideration to possible administrative action against internal staff members implicated in the allegations.
“The council wishes to assure the university community, the public and all its stakeholders, that its interventions and the acting arrangements it has put in place will ensure that the normal business of the institution continues unhindered.
“The university community and all stakeholders are requested to give the acting vice-chancellor and his management team maximum support as they execute their duties and responsibilities,” said Qunta in a statement.