The Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology has launched an independent investigation into allegations of misconduct and mismanagement at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
Unisa is the largest university in South Africa by enrollment, with approximately 400,000 students from across South Africa, Africa and other parts of the world.
The new inquiry follows an inquiry by a ministerial task force in 2020, which focused on the university’s strategic mandate and objectives in the South African context.
In particular, the task force examined all the contextual and institutional factors influencing the contemporary challenges facing the university and provided advice on the institution’s mandate and scope as a distance education provider.
He recommended the measures needed to ensure Unisa is strategically positioned as an institution with a clear mandate and mission, supported by the necessary structures and capacity for a sustainable future, the department said.
However, following its analysis, the task force also made a number of findings in response toquestionsa matter of fact, related to Unisa’s strategic mandate – including negative findings suggesting shortcomings, problems and allegations of circumstances relating to poor governance , the department said.
The university came under fire earlier this year when representatives of the National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said salary adjustments paid to individual lecturers, specialists and administrative staff were made without the approval of the university’s board, resulting in millions in payouts. rands in overspend.
He also faces allegations of abuse of power in suspending workers, initiating disciplinary cases and illegally firing employees, as well as misappropriating funds.
Unisa called the allegations “baseless and false”.
The department has now published the scope of the independent inquiry into affairs at Unisa and has appointed Professor Thembu Mosia as an independent expert to conduct it.
The overall aim of the new independent inquiry is to advise Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on the sources and nature of the problems and the university and the measures needed to restore good governance and management.
The investigation will consider:
- Functioning and effectiveness of university governance and management structures.
- Activities of the Office of the Registrar with respect to academic affairs management, registration and certification matters, and any other matters that the independent evaluator believes warrant investigation.
- The state of the University’s policies and procedures relating to financial management, supply chain management and procurement; and allegations of financial irregularities.
- The state of the university’s human resources policies and practices, particularly in relation to improving organizational effectiveness and labor relations in the university.
- A detailed analysis and report on the circumstances and causes of a significant number of suspensions, disciplinary cases and dismissals at the university since 2018.
- Allegations of misconduct and mismanagement against the Vice-Chancellor.
- Any other matters which the evaluator believes may affect the effective functioning of the university from an analysis of management and governance issues.
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