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WSU slams press over reports on staff suspensions 

By Siphe Macanda

Walter Sisulu University has lambasted media reports suggesting that the resignation of a top official, Professor Larry Obi and the suspension of other senior officials is linked to findings of a forensic audit.

On 30 August the Daily Dispatch reported that the senior officials out of office are director of postgraduate studies Professor JK Mammen; executive dean of science, engineering and technology, Professor SP Songca; and university registrar, Professor N Tau-Mzamane.

WSU spokesperson Ms Angela Church condemned the report, saying, “It is of great concern to WSU that names of staff have been published in the media suggesting that they are implicated without any firm evidence. The assumption that being ‘out of office’ means they have been suspended is unfair and incorrect. 

“None of the university’s internal correspondence to its stakeholders has yet identified which members are suspended, pending disciplinary hearings.”

In an email that the Eastern Cape Today has seen circulated to the university community the administrator wrote, “This will serve to inform all staff and students that Professor CL Obi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs and Research, has resigned from the Walter Sisulu University with immediate effect.

“We thank Professor Obi for his contribution to WSU and we wish him well in his future endeavours”, the email reads. Ms Church confirmed Professor Obi’s resignation, “WSU has announced in an internal memorandum that Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs and Research Professor CL Obi has resigned. This is therefore confirmed”, she said. The administrator, Professor LR Van Staden has since made acting appointments;

  • Prof SVS Ngubentombi has been appointed as the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs and Research in place of Prof Obi.
  • Prof K Mfenyana has been assigned to support and assist the office of the Administrator.
  • Prof NE Sokhele has been appointed Acting Executive Dean for faculty of health science. 

Ms Church also went on to confirm the suspension of top officials, “Forensic audits have been concluded as part of the Administrator’s terms of reference. Some managers have been suspended pending disciplinary hearings.

WSU will not release the names of staff that are suspended as the law dictates that persons who are suspended are innocent until proven guilty”, she said.

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