Parliament angry over Tshwane university's no-show

19 November 2019 - 17:50 By Andisiwe Makinana
Gauteng health MEC, and chairperson of TUT council, Dr Bandile Masuku sent a letter of apology to committee chairperson Philly Mapulane. File photo.
Gauteng health MEC, and chairperson of TUT council, Dr Bandile Masuku sent a letter of apology to committee chairperson Philly Mapulane. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russel/Sunday Times

Parliament will summon officials of the Tshwane University of Technology to appear before the portfolio committee on higher education to answer allegations of corruption and maladministration after a no-show angered MPs on Tuesday.

The committee was scheduled to start a parliamentary inquiry into allegations of corruption, maladministration, nepotism and abuse of authority at the institution.

Committee chairperson Philly Mapulane of the ANC revealed that he had received a letter of apology from the chairperson of TUT council, Bandile Masuku, on the eve of the meeting, despite the university being invited four weeks ago.

Mapulane told TimesLIVE  the committee sent the institution detailed questions last week ahead of the Tuesday inquiry.

In his letter of apology, Masuku requested more time to get extensive information, adding that the institution's executive management and then its council will also need to meet before they could appear before parliament, said Mapulane.

But the committee, in consultation with the office of the speaker, decided to summon the council and management of TUT to appear next Wednesday.

In a statement, the committee said it had received several complaints from stakeholders at TUT who were making serious allegations about corruption, maladministration, nepotism and abuse of power against the council and management. The committee resolved to conduct a preliminary inquiry into these allegations by engaging the university and the stakeholders.

Mapulane said the committee will not allow the TUT council and management “to behave as if they are beyond scrutiny”, adding that the reasons advanced for their non-attendance before the committee were so lousy that they were not worthy of being considered by a parliamentary committee.

“What the university has done today essentially amounts to giving parliament the middle finger. They were notified well in advance and they elected to come with lousy excuses not to appear before the committee to avoid accountability.

"Universities are public institutions and should account to the people of this country through their elected representatives,” he said.

“It seems there is a seriously embedded culture of impunity at TUT and the refusal by the council to come and account is indicative of that. If disregard for accountability is shown to parliament, it surely is worse to ordinary stakeholders at the university,” he said.


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