Report uncovers serious leadership issues at VUT

The report said the leadership, governance and management of the Vaal University of Technology were in such a state of collapse that intervention was necessary.
The report said the leadership, governance and management of the Vaal University of Technology were in such a state of collapse that intervention was necessary.
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A report by an independent assessor into Vaal University of Technology has revealed that troubles at the university emanated from controversies surrounding the appointment of its vice-chancellor.

The report comes nine months after professors Barney Pityana and Rocky Ralebipi-Simela were appointed by then minister of higher education Naledi Pandor to investigate problems at VUT and advise her how to restore good governance to the executive management and council.

The investigation found VUT's vice-chancellor Professor Gordon Zide has been incapable of giving strategic leadership to offer credible and effective management.

The report recommended Zide's future employment at the university be re-assessed.

It said leadership, governance and management were in such a state of collapse that intervention was necessary.

It was found that Zide applied for the position at VUT in January 2017, a few months before he reached retirement age but there was no mention made of this as it could have been a matter for consideration in the appointment.

According to the report, there are contradictory versions of what transpired in interviews and his appointment.

"We could not find the report or scores of the panel members and we were told that the documentation was missing. There were allegations that Zide was beholden to Nehawu VUT branch secretary Joseph Radebe in particular. The most gratuitous of such was the VC's withdrawal of charges against Radebe at the CCMA on September 4 2017."

The report read that the VC was accused of making irregular appointments to his office.

On irregular appointments, it said Zide appointed Selma Sayed as his third secretary who happened to be married to the attorney retained by the VC for personal matters.

On leadership and management style it said the VC weighed in on matters within the social media domain and initiated cases against anyone who mildly criticised him.

It recommended a more transparent recruiting of members of council.

"The current crop of leadership at post levels 1-3 must be retired or redeployed and new critical leadership be found to guide the university in the future. All management personnel in post levels 1-4 and the executive deans to be subjected to annual lifestyle audit and declaration of conflict of interest ."

Minister of higher education, science & technology Blade Nzimande thanked Pityana and Ralebipi-Simela immensely for their hard work.

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