Call for probe into salaries of varsities' multimillionaire vice-chancellors

17 October 2019 - 17:20 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
Higher education minister Blade Nzimande has been asked to look into the massive pay cheques of some of the country's vice-chancellors. The top five earned between R4.4m and R5.2m last year. File photo.
Higher education minister Blade Nzimande has been asked to look into the massive pay cheques of some of the country's vice-chancellors. The top five earned between R4.4m and R5.2m last year. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images

The portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology has called on minister Blade Nzimande to commission an inquiry into the remuneration of university vice-chancellors (VCs).

Committee chair Philly Mapulane cautioned against the continued non-regulation of vice-chancellors' incomes, saying it was an anomaly because universities were public institutions that ought to be held accountable and regulated closely.

The Sunday Times reported this month on the highest paid VCs in the country, with Unisa's Mandla Makhanya topping the list with R5.2m in the 2018 academic year.

The second highest paid VC was Tshilidzi Marwala of the University of Johannesburg, who earned an annual income of R4.9m, followed by Stellenbosch University's Wim de Villiers, who earned R100K less.

Rounding out the top five earners in 2018 were Adam Habib of Wits and his counterpart at the University of Zululand, Xoliswa Mtose, who had to make do on R4.4m each.

Mapulane said these salaries were too high, adding it was high time universities were held to account for how they utilised their finances since they received hundreds of millions of rands in government grants.

"The committee will request [Nzimade] to commission an inquiry through the Council on Higher Education into the remuneration of university vice-chancellors and other senior executive managers, and to report to parliament," said Mapulane.

"Universities are public institutions which must be accountable to the people of South Africa, through their elected representatives, about the prudent management of their finances.

"This question of remuneration of senior executive managers, if left unattended, may become a runaway train and therefore we are calling for action to be taken to regulate it." 


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