SowetanLive reports that lecturers, cleaners and security guards are on strike at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), bringing operations to a standstill and leaving its 22,000 students in the lurch ahead of mid-year exams. The university council, its highest decision-making body, cannot make any decisions – including about salary increases – because it has too few members for a quorum. At least nine council members, including the deputy chairperson, have resigned since October. The head of the council, Tebogo Hlapalosa, revealed in a letter to staff that the council had too few members to meet the legal requirements to make decisions.
According to VUT statute, a legal act, there should be 31 council members and of those, 60% must be external – neither staff nor students. The resignations came amid allegations of corruption at the university by senior managers. Higher education minister Naledi Pandor met the council to “discuss resignations”. Her spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said: “The minister and the council discussed a number of mechanisms to address challenges facing the university. Attempts to reach the university’s spokesperson Mike Khuboni have been unsuccessful since Monday.
by Katharine Child