Pretoria – Unisa is once again facing fresh protests as the National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) call for the immediate removal of the tertiary institutions registrar and the Operations and Facilities vice-principal.
While operations at the university’s campuses around the city, seemed to go on with business as usual, Nehawu members could be found around the university’s OR Tambo building at the main campus in Muckleneuk.
Lunathi Hontoti, the Unisa branch chairperson, said the university register Dr Faroon Goolam alongside the Operations and Facilities vice-principal Dr Marcia Socikwa had effectively rendered the once thriving university into tatters.
He said in their own roles the two members of the university’s executive management had cost 87 000 students their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursaries.
He said they did not register the students on time until the students were ultimately kicked out by NSFAS.
“We are aware that the people who have been adversely affected by their actions are a majority of black students from formerly disadvantaged backgrounds. They have also ignored issues of bullying, abuse and harassment of staff members.”
“So we’re saying it cannot be that there is no consequence management for members of the executive team because they want to put all of those issues under the carpet.”
Hontoti said the organisation had delivered their memorandum and petitioned the vice-chancellor, the chairperson of council and the council itself to either fire the two members or place them on special leave until investigations into their conduct was completed.
Ntsako Nombelani, Nehawu’s national organiser for higher education, said they were relieved Socikwa was to be anointed at the SABC board, as it meant she would be relieved of her responsibilities at the university.
Nombelani said the Johannesburg campus had been closed due to tender irregularities by Socikwa who procured a dilapidated building which did not comply with safety standards.
He said workers had to be redeployed to other campuses after the organisation embarked on closing off non-compliant buildings in Johannesburg last year, which included one of the institutions building.
“Even this OR Tambo building is in tatters when it rains and it leaks because she appointed people without the necessary quality skills to come to do waterproofing and to put other safety measures in place.”
“We can’t tolerate having someone who brings people with fake qualifications to come and preside over the safety of workers, no workers want to come here when it rains.”