Minister Nzimande shocked and outraged at reports of blatant nepotism in Free State’s Central University of Technology
8 Jul 2012
The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, has expressed his shock and outrage at media reports that the former Chairman of the now dissolved Central University of Technology (CUT) Council had appointed his brother as the CEO of the university’s Services and Enterprise Trust at an alleged salary of R1, 2 million five months ago.
“This in fact is just one example that the department has actually been vindicated in dissolving the CUT Council and appointing an Administrator at the recommendation of the independent assessor, something which the Chairman of the Council himself has fought very vehemently against.
I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg, more revelations will come out as soon as the Administrator is given the space to work towards introducing and strengthening proper accountability systems in corporate governance, financial management and administration broadly at the university,” Dr Nzimande said.
Media reports have published serious allegations that the dissolved CUT Council Chairman’s brother, Montwedi Seane, was appointed as the CEO of CUT Services and Enterprise with a lucrative R1, 2 million annual salary package in February 23, 2012. This contract was allegedly offered to Seane a few days after Higher Education and Training Director-General, Gwebs Qonde, had informed the council of Minister Nzimande’s intention to appoint an independent assessor.
The CUT Council and Principal are challenging the decision by Minister Nzimande to appoint an administrator to run the institution.
Chairman of the CUT Council, Dr Sylvan Seane and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Thandwa Mthembu, have been leading a campaign to challenge the Minister’s decision to dissolve the council as well as the appointment of Professor Stanley Ridge as the Administrator. They even went as far as to instruct staff not to take instruction from Ridge and appointed a security firm, Coin Security, to lock Ridge out of the university’s Bloemfontein campus.
“Such attempts to avoid efforts a cleaning up the administration of the institution are quite baffling of Dr Seane and Professor Mthembu had nothing to hide. It’s looking more like the attempts of people trying to avoid scrutiny and hiding something, including this appointment of the former Chairperson’s brother because if this is true then this would be a serious case of conflict of interest on the part of the Chairperson,” Minister Nzimande said.
According to the reports, CUT vice-chancellor of institutional planning, partnerships and communication, Professor Talvin Schultz offered Seane a five year contract with an annual performance bonus of 10 % which will increase at 2.5 % annually until it is fixed at 20 %.
Professor Schultz, who is said to be Professor Mthembu’s close confidante, is the Interim Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
University of Stellenbosch vice rector, Dr Julian Smith was appointed as independent assessor on February 24. Employment negotiations with Seane proceeded whilst an independent assessor was investigating allegations of corruption and maladministration against Mthembu and Schultz.
Smith’s report found that both council and management had abused their power. It also found instance of mismanagement of the institution’s funds. Smith found evidence of nepotism, harassment of staff and negligence against Mthembu and Schultz and recommended that Minister Nzimande disband the council and appoints an administrator.
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Issued by: Department of Higher Education and Training
8 Jul 2012
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