Professor Nthabiseng Ogude has been removed as vice-chancellor of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
A media statement from the institution claimed Ogude resigned from her position. Staff has also been told the same thing in an internal memo circulated on Monday.
“Council [the institution’s highest governing body] approved the early termination of the five-year contract at the request of Prof Ogude after she indicated the desire to pursue other career options,” said the statement.
It said Ogude leaves the institution end of this month, after just more than two years at the helm. She took over the reins in August 2012, becoming the university’s first woman vice-chancellor.
A senior academic, Ogude scored the coveted position after serving as vice-principal responsible for teaching and learning and student affairs at the University of Pretoria.
Van Staden to the rescue
Lourens van Staden, who returned to the university some months ago to take up the position of senior deputy vice-chancellor, has been appointed acting vice-chancellor. This would be “until the position is filled”, according to the statement.
Van Staden returned to TUT after his deployment by higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande to rescue the Walter Sisulu University. He was administrator of Easter Cape-based institution, while he had previously been deputy vice-chancellor at TUT.
Ogude becomes a third successive vice-chancellor at the troubled TUT to vacate the position before end of contract.
Errol Tyobeka was shown the door in 2010 after five years at the helm. The university’s then council cited a breakdown of relationship with Tyobeka and advertised his job.
But the office faced its biggest scandal in 2011 when council appointed Johnny Molefe who had a fake doctorate.
After Molefe’s axing, Nzimande subsequently placed the institution under administration and dissolved council.
Ogude came in at the conclusion of this phase, and promised to “steer TUT in the right direction and galvanise the university around a common goal, vision and culture”.
The university did not specify reasons for Ogude’s departure. But the Mail & Guardian understands she was under investigation for allegedly failing to manage the students’ protests that culminated into the burning of 18 cars at the Soshanguve campus in September.
Students were protesting an alleged shortage of National Student Financial Aid Scheme funds.
Failure to communicate
Nzimande later claimed R97-million had in fact been available to TUT and slammed management for failing to communicate this to students.
Soshanguve campus is also where a student was killed in a brawl on Saturday evening. Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident and another was recovering in hospital.
Ogude becomes the second woman vice-chancellor to be removed from the top position in two weeks.
Fikile Mazibuko’s rein at the University of Zululand also came to an abrupt end last week.
The university’s statement claimed she had resigned with immediate effect to “pursue other interests”, only for media reports to emerge she’s been fired by council.
Council appointed Xoliswa Mtose, a woman professor, as acting vice-chancellor. Mtose had been the university’s deputy vice-chancellor responsible for teaching and learning.