Higher Education department does not know why suspended CPUT vice-chancellor, Dr Prins Nevhutalu, still draws a salary after almost a year at home. Picture: Tracey Adams

Cape Town - The Department of Higher Education and Training does not know why the suspended vice-chancellor of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, (CPUT), Dr Prins Nevhutalu, still draws a salary after almost a year of idling at home.

The news came to light when the department and the university appeared before the portfolio committee in Parliament this week to answer questions on the beleaguered institution.

During his presentation, acting vice-chancellor Chris Nhlapo told the committee Nevhutalu had been placed on special leave by the university's council. 

Nhlapo then asked CPUT registrar Nikile Ntsababa to give a status report. Ntsababa said the vice-chancellor was put on special leave in October 2016.

“He went through a disciplinary process. That process took quite a lot of time.” He said the matter had been fast-tracked and the disciplinary hearing’s heads of argument were only presented last month. 

“The university is waiting for outcome from the chair of the disciplinary process. The council expects the report on October 29,” Ntsababa said.

Diane Parker, the department’s deputy director-general, said the university had faced a number of challenges since 2015 and in March 2016 students demanded Nevhutalu's removal. 

She said the council had appointed attorneys to investigate but no evidence had been found against the vice-chancellor and the council did not take action.

Two student general assemblies were held at Bellville and Cape Town campuses followed by separate meetings of council and stakeholders before Nevhutalu was suspended.

“The department was never given a very clear indication of the reasons of suspension by the council."

"However, we were aware there was a disciplinary process and as you heard it is not finalised,” Parker said.

Nhlapo said they were hopeful that the process would be wrapped up as quickly as possible.

“We have to be fair to all the parties. I think the parties are moving very fast. We hope that it will be completed,” he said.

Political Bureau