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Union speaks out on maladministration at For Hare

NTEU General Secretary at the University of Fort Hare, Grant Abbott.

The University of Fort Hare (UFH) management has come under scrutiny following allegations made by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) regarding allegations of mismanagement under the current Vice Chancellor Professor Sakhela Buhlungu.

These concerns were recently disclosed by Minister Blade Nzimande to the University Council, prompting a closer examination of the university’s governance and handling of financial matters.

According the Minister Nzimande the NTEU, in a letter dated June 15, 2023, expressed deep apprehension over the escalating developments at UFH, particularly within the Office of the Vice-Chancellor. The union’s primary concerns revolve around allegations of corruption, financial mismanagement, and irregular expenditure within the university’s administration.

Of equal concern to the NTEU are the reported gross human rights abuses and a disregard for human dignity that seem to be occurring under the guise of investigating these corrupt activities. The union cited the recent case of Mr Xolani Tom, their own President, who was allegedly kidnapped and subjected to torture for seven hours by individuals believed to be members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The NTEU further claimed that other individuals linked to the union and the university have similarly experienced such treatment.

Disturbingly, it has been brought to light that several other citizens, connected in some capacity to UFH, have fallen victim to similar acts of violence. These incidents have raised concerns about a potential pattern of abuse within the university’s sphere of influence.

The NTEU emphasizes that while they acknowledge the necessity of combating corruption, they are worried about the manner in which the Vice-Chancellor and his team are handling this issue.

According to the General Secretary of the Union, Grant Abbott staff at the university, including union members, are afraid to speak out on issues at the institution.

The union stated that it believes that the process of tackling corruption is as important as the outcome, as there is a risk of perpetuating further corrupt acts in the name of combating it.

Moreover, the NTEU expressed concerns about the growing lack of transparency and limited engagement with stakeholders in the higher education sector. They believe that more and more stakeholders are being kept at arm’s length regarding the management’s decision-making processes, leading to a sense of exclusion and diminishing confidence in the university’s leadership.

Minister Nzimande earlier today informed Council that as these allegations come to light, he expects Council to conduct a thorough investigation into the concerns raised by the NTEU. The credibility and reputation of UFH are at stake, necessitating a swift and comprehensive response to address these troubling allegations, he said.

He added that in the interest of transparency and accountability, it is imperative that all parties involved, including the university management, the NTEU, and the relevant authorities, work together to resolve these issues and ensure that the University of Fort Hare remains a beacon of academic excellence, free from corruption and human rights violations.

Caleb Tayi
Caleb Tayi
I'm a critical reader and a lover of words. As the ECToday Editor my job is to polish and refine a story or an article, check facts, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.
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