SEFAKO MAKGATHO vice-chancellor Professor Chris de Beer. African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University vice-chancellor Professor Chris de Beer has been given a notice of intention to place him on special leave pending an investigation into allegations against him by striking students and staff.

The university yesterday remained mum on the allegations, but earlier this week striking students and staff members had expressed unhappiness with alleged mismanagement at the university, a lack of infrastructure and the provision of a conducive learning environment.

Despite this, the university had said De Beer would finish off the remaining six months of his contract unhindered.

At the time, a spokesperson for the university, Dr Eric Pule, said they were adamant that despite calls for the vice-chancellor and other executive members of the university to be removed, they were going nowhere.

However, yesterday the university made an about-turn and said an emergency meeting had been held on Tuesday after the council received a confidential report containing allegations against the vice-chancellor. It did not disclose the nature of the allegations.

“After long deliberations and in the spirit of fairness and justice, the council ruled that the allegations warranted further investigation. Council ruled that the vice-chancellor should be given a notice of intention to put him on special leave.

“This leave, in council’s view, will afford the vice-chancellor an opportunity to respond adequately to allegations that have been levelled against him and submit the same to the chairperson of the council within a defined period. It was also the council’s view that the vice-chancellor should remain out of campus during this period to allow him time and space to draft and submit his response to council.”

The council had also resolved that academic activities should resume by yesterday.

The university also maintained that although its vice-chancellor remained innocent until proven guilty, it would still be placing him under special leave.

SRC president Innocent Chauke said it was not time to celebrate yet. He said that as it stood everything was not necessarily back to normal at the university, but the students were engaging positively with the university council regarding their issues.

“The university council is negotiating with us and we will be revealing everything hopefully by Friday (tomorrow).”

Students and staff have been protesting for almost two weeks, keeping the gates of the university closed.

Both the SRC and workers affiliated to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union refused to speak to the media about the cause of unhappiness.

Pretoria News