Unisa reports reveal serious allegations of wrongdoing, loss of millions

Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Unisa, Professor Puleng LenkaBula. Picture: Unisa

Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Unisa, Professor Puleng LenkaBula. Picture: Unisa

Published May 16, 2022


Pretoria - Reports submitted to Unisa’s council have revealed allegations of violations of university rules and policies, and the laws of the country, which resulted in the loss of millions through over-expenditure at the institution.

The reports were submitted to the university council by Unisa Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Puleng LenkaBula.

In a letter addressed to the chairperson of the Unisa council, LenkaBula said the reports had not been submitted to the management committee – as was normal procedure – due to some of its members being implicated.

Submission of the reports had been delayed, she said, because of the serious nature of the issues in the reports, and some managers implicated in the reports were management committee members and she needed time to seek legal advice, she said.

The five reports listed include one on alleged sexual harassment, a report on the purchase of individual laptops, the procurement of data, salary adjustments, and a report on the cost of renovations to the official VC residence known as Cloghereen.

The report on salary adjustments led to a protracted impasse between Unisa and workers affiliated to the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) since March. It said the salary adjustments, effected in September 2021 and paid to selected academics, professionals and administrative staff, and took place without the approval of the university council. As a result Unisa allegedly incurred losses stemming from the unauthorised expenditure of R90 million.

LenkaBula informed the council that she made two interventions in November 2021, to investigate the unauthorised salary adjustments. The reports were submitted to the council to institute consequence management.

“The matter has not only caused major labour unrest, instability, and the derailment of the academic programmes, it has also caused immeasurable harm to the reputation of the university because the matter affects senior employees.”

The report on renovations to the official VC residence in Pretoria confirmed that the budget had been exceeded, with a call made for implicated employees to face consequence management.

LenkaBula said the purchase of individual laptops for employees had been deemed necessary, lawful, prudent and compliant. “… had management not acted in the manner it did there could have been a real possibility of fruitless and wasteful expenditure.”

Pretoria News