Naledi Pandor probes varsity graft

Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor to crack the whip as she investigates universities which are suspected to be errant with their financial management.
Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor to crack the whip as she investigates universities which are suspected to be errant with their financial management.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Two KwaZulu-Natal universities and an Eastern Cape university have received a stern warning from Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor to clean up their act or face the music.

Speaking to Sowetan on her 100 days in the office, Pandor said one of the crises she had encountered on her appointment included difficulties at the University of Zululand.

"There were lots of allegations and that R11-million was fraudulently disposed [of] to a particular individual and other sums of money.

"Contracting was done without respect for procedures and rules of the institution," Pandor said.

"So I decided to spend time and [to] meet with stakeholders as this university has been a concern for the department for several years with investigation after investigation. We are not seeing a full improvement.

"It was a very valuable exercise for me. After that process, I then decided that I don't want to interfere with the current council and remove it again. I told the council to show me that they are competent to be the governing body in the institution."

She told the council to institute an independent forensic audit on all alleged issues.

"They must give me a proper audited account of what happened to the R11-million. A proper investigation should be conducted. If I am not satisfied with their report, then I will institute my own forensic investigation," Pandor said.

With regard to problems at Mangosuthu University of Technology, Pandor said an independent assessor has been appointed to work on the challenges.

Pandor is also concerned about the Walter Sisulu University. The problems continue to cause anxiety, particularly among workers and student body, at the Eastern Cape institution.

"We will give close attention to that institution and ensure that adequate support for resolving the problems is found. The too many reports on student protests, stoppage of teaching, waste of resources and fraudulent use of funding, should come to an end. I want the leadership to understand I expect leadership from them."

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