Varsity still hasn't learnt about money
Despite being placed under cabinet administration, poor financial management continues to plague Walter Sisulu University, in Eastern Cape.
Among the many problems at the university is that 80% of its budget is spent on salaries.
The Department of Higher Education dissolved the university council after the allegations of maladministration came to the fore last year and put a technical committee in its place.
The vice-chancellor was axed before his contract was due to end and Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande appointed an administrator .
But in a report to parliament's select committee on education and recreation, the university admitted to continuing difficulties.
The administrator, Professor Lourens van Staden, cited poor management of loans and finances, a high rate of HIV/Aids infection, lack of qualified academic support staff and lecturers, insufficient lecture rooms, and libraries that were open for only half of the day.
The report outlined concerns raised by representatives of the Students' Representative Council and employee unions.
Students said they were still receiving letters from the university's debt collectors despite having paid off their loans. No consultation preceded a decision to increase student fees by 150% .
Walter Sisulu University's financial woes date back to its establishment in 2005 as the product of the merging of three bankrupt institutions. Its debt is estimated at R300-million.
Higher Education director-general Gwebinkundla Qonde said yesterday that the department was starting to see "the light at the end of the tunnel".
"We are beginning to understand what type of an animal the institution is."
He said Van Staden had been appointed in December on a year-long contract but there was a possibility that it would be extended by a year.
Following a visit to the university's Potsdam campus in March, the committee has recommended that the provincial department of higher education continue to work closely with the national department to ensure a sustainable turnaround strategy for the university.
In 2005, Border Technikon, Eastern Cape Technikon and the University of the Transkei were merged into Walter Sisulu University, ostensibly to create one strong educational institution from three weak ones.