'Jesus of the Vaal' gets the axe
An independent disciplinary tribunal was not convinced that Aubrey Mokadi walked on water and fired him as vice-chancellor of the Vaal University of Technology (VUT). Dubbed “Jesus of the Vaal”, he got axed after being found guilty on 161 counts of corruption, fraud and nepotism.
Mokadi has already launched an application for review in the High Court claiming the tribunal was set up to “legitimise a pre-determined decision to fire him”.
Last August the minister of education asked the council to account for governance problems at the university. A 400-page report documenting a litany of Mokadi’s abuses was delivered to the council in January, but he applied for a court interdict preventing its discussion and implementation of its recommendations. It was overturned in March with costs.
The commission re-marked that Mokadi “seems to feel the need to liken himself to Christ”. It quoted his account of his return to campus after a previous suspension in 1997, which had said that student and staff supporters “stripped garments from their backs and laid them on the ground for me to walk on ... images of Christ on his triumphant entry to Jerusalem [flashed] through my mind”.
The university council said that while the report uncovered lots of allegations, “it was a prima facie case that still had to be tested [by the tribunal]”. Mokadi, who was suspended on similar charges in 1997 but reinstated in 2000, still faces criminal charges for money and assets he allegedly misappropriated, despite earning R1,7-million a year.
But Mokadi’s lawyer said his client will be vindicated. “He wants to assure all staff and students at VUT that he will be back and the transformation will continue.”