PARLIAMENTARY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT VISIT: A call for accountability and transparency
By: Nontobeko Moimane 24 February 2022
Member of Parliament and Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science & Technology: Honourable Tebogo Letsie and Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Dan Kgwadi
On Monday, 21 February 2022 Member of Parliament, Honourable Tebogo Letsie, a member of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science & Technology visited the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) as part of the committee’s oversight responsibility.
In addition to Honourable Letsie, the hybrid meeting (contact and virtual) was attended by:
· Professor Nicky Morgan – Deputy Chairperson of the VUT Council
· Ms Jackie Manche – Member of VUT Council
· Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Dan Kgwadi
· Dr Thandi Lewin, representing the Department of Higher Education and Training,
· VUT Senior Management
· Student Representative Council and
· Labour Representatives (NEHAWU and NTEU)
The session was chaired by Honourable Letsie who informed the meeting that this was a follow-up visit to another one which took place in October 2021, shortly after the VUT had come out of administration. Due to the fact that the Vice-Chancellor only assumed duties on 1st February 2022, the Chairperson acknowledged that VUT may not have achieved positive results on all the issues raised in October last year. He however expressed hope that management would report positively on some critical issues. “The VUT is a diverse institution which not only services students from the Vaal, but the country at large. Its survival is critical and needs to be attended to,” said Hon. Letsie.
Speaking on behalf of the VUT Council, Professor Nicky Morgan encouraged stakeholders to respect the leadership of different structures in the institution. He encouraged all stakeholders to take care of institutional affairs through transparency and accountability.
Vice-Chancellor, Prof Kgwadi invited VUT stakeholders to think of a 3rd stream source of income that will assist in sustaining VUT. He mentioned with pride that before and during the Administration era, the university’s core business was kept intact and that the institution is in the process of migrating from the #changeVUT marketing campaign to #proudlyVUT – a call for collective accountability and generation of collective solutions for VUT.
Professor Kgwadi took a strong stance against elements of corruption which emerged during the registration season. He warned perpetrators that an investigation has already been launched. The VC also lamented the state of infrastructure and encouraged management to ensure systems and processes are in place to create a conducive teaching and learning environment.
The chairpersons of NEHAWU and NTEU, together with the SRC President gave presentations on issues such as governance, campus maintenance, residences and finances.
In his closing remarks Prof Kgwadi shared his vision to position VUT as a university of choice and a South African university with diverse staff and students. “The institution must become one again and revert to its former glory,” explained the VC.