TUT main campus in Pretoria West. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency / ANA
Pretoria - The parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology has called for an investigation into the business unit of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

This was one of the outcomes of the meeting between TUT management and the committee, which demanded that the university council and management appear before it and answer to allegations of corruption, maladministration, nepotism and abuse of power.

The university failed to appear before the committee on November 19, prompting chairperson Philly Mapulane to remark that the institution had given the committee the “middle finger”.

It however managed to meet the committee last Wednesday, after which Mapulane said they were gravely concerned about the serious allegations concerning the university’s business arm, TUT Enterprise Holding.

He said they were calling for independent and thorough investigations into the allegations as they were not satisfied with the university's explanations.

The concerns he cited arose from issues relating to the leasing of student accommodation and other responsibilities delegated to the business entity.

“We believe that an independent investigation is in the public interest to restore the trust and confidence of the public and all the stakeholders in the entity.

“The committee is of the view that the university council did not follow due process, including complying with the principles of audi alteram partem (listening to all sides) in the dismissal of a council member.

On a positive note, however, TUT was applauded for ensuring stability and improving its performance consistently after it had been placed under administration in 2011 and for addressing a number of other issues raised by stakeholders.

In this regard, chairperson of the university council Dr Bandile Masuku said: “I’m proud of what the council and management have achieved in such a short time. TUT is a much better institution than it was five years ago. We’ve put in place the foundation for a sustainable future.”

On the concerns regarding TUT's business arm, Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Lourens van Staden committed that they would provide the committee and other stakeholders with a model for the entity.

“Future financial stability of TUT is important and the business arm is a vehicle for achieving this via third-stream income generation. We will demonstrate how it has been modelled on similar start-ups at other higher education institutions.”

Mapulane said they would continue to engage with the university and conduct an official oversight programme during the registration and reopening for the 2020 academic year.

Pretoria News