Varsity axes dean after protest

The executive dean of Cida City Campus has been stripped of his position after two weeks of student protests. (Madelene Cronjé, MG)

The executive dean of Cida City Campus has been stripped of his position after two weeks of student protests. (Madelene Cronjé, MG)

A stack of placards that the Mail & Guardian found dumped at Cida City Campus’s gates in Johannesburg this week articulated students’ demands explicitly. “We want a professor, not a lawyer. This is our brand,” read one.
“If there [are] no secrets please reverse the process,” said another.


A few weeks ago, students demanded that the appointment of Mbah Martins Njah as executive dean be annulled and a university professor sought to fill the position.


They then embarked on a two-week strike. This week the university’s management and council gave in to their demands and classes resumed on Thursday.


Cida opened its doors in 2000 as a low-cost university for disadvantaged students. It offers a bachelor of business administration degree.


Njah, who holds two master’s degrees in law and an MBA, was appointed in March.


Phumelele Mabizela, the students’ representative council secretary general, told the M&G that appointing a university professor would help to benchmark the institution’s degree against similar ones offered by other universities.


Cida’s spokesperson, Nesan Chetty, confirmed that the executive dean position was now vacant. But there were no guarantees that Cida would attract a university professor to the post, he said, because the university could not offer market-related salaries.


Mbah has threatened to fight the decision in court. “I am seeking legal advice because all the SRC demands are unfounded. Nevertheless, the law books and the courts will be the final place of call, as it is to all who live in this great nation.”

Bongani Nkosi

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