The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has been placed under administration with immediate effect, higher education director-general Gwebinkundla Qonde announced on Tuesday.
This comes two weeks after allegations that newly appointed vice-chencellor Professor Johnny Molefe used a revoked evaluation certificate to apply for the job.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has appointed Professor Themba Mosia as an administrator to replace the university’s council and Molefe, Qonde said.
“Mosia will run the institution for a period of six months,” he said.
Nzimande met the leadership of TUT over Molefe’s appointment and the report on the inquiry into the institution released last year
“He engaged with the council and they made their presentations. After evaluation, the minister felt it was necessary for an administrator to be appointed at TUT,” said Qonde.
Contacted for comment, TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyte confirmed this in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. She said it was gazetted on Monday.
An inquiry last year headed by Dr Vincent Maphai, to investigate why the institution experienced numerous worker and student protests every year, had revealed many problems.
It also highlighted management’s failure to talk with labour unions and its dubious handling of the institution’s procurement processes. The report was followed by the institution issuing various directives that had to be followed by the TUT leadership, failing which the institution would be placed under administration.
It was recently established that Molefe allegedly used a revoked evaluation certificate to apply for the university’s top job.
Professor John Volmink, who headed a task team investigating Molefe’s qualifications, previously said that when Molefe presented his qualifications he included a certificate of evaluation that the SA Qualifications Authority (Saqa) had issued in error.
Qonde refused to comment on the ministry’s position with regards to Molefe’s appointment or his qualification thereof, except to re-emphasise that the institution was now under administration.
Saqa initially issued the certificate recognising Molefe’s doctorate in business administration that he reportedly obtained from St George’s University International (SGUI) in the Bahamas in 2002. Saqa’s deputy executive officer Joe Samuels said the erroneous certificate was revoked in a registered letter to Molefe in May 2007. It had requested the return of the certificate, which it never received.
There was an accredited St George’s University in the island nation of Grenada in the West Indies, but the SGUI in the Bahamas was “dubious”.
Although a registered letter was allegedly sent to Molefe in 2007 to return the certificate, he had not done so.
Samuels said e-mails and telephone calls had been made and that Saqa had proof of its correspondence with Molefe.
The TUT council defended its decision to appoint Molefe the new head of the institution, saying he had no reason to lie about his doctoral degree as he already had enough qualifications to qualify for the position. However this was dismissed by Saqa.
Molefe also received backing from the university’s student representative council, which said there were people looking to “rubbish” his name.
It said the university had been stable and had improved its financial health ever since Molefe took office in his acting capacity last year.
On Tuesday, the SA Student Congress (Sasco) said it had lost confidence in the TUT council. It further criticised the SRC for releasing a statement in support of Molefe.
Sasco said Molefe had proven himself to be a “disingenuous character with little respect” for students, his colleagues, and the higher education sector in general. — Sapa