Statement from the UFH Administrator, Prof Loyiso Nongxa

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I wish to confirm that, with the release of the Government Gazette Volume 646, Number 42425, Notice 618, the Council of the University of Fort Hare has been dissolved and I have been appointed as Administrator with effect from 29 April 2019. The terms of reference for the Administrator are spelt out in the Government Gazette and include taking over the role, powers, functions and duties of the University of Fort Hare Council for a period of 12 months. The dissolved Fort Hare Council had appointed committees to assist in the performance of its functions in terms of Section 25 of the University of Fort Hare Statute, including the Executive Committee, the Audit and Risk Committee, the Finance Committee, the ICT Governance Committee, the Staff Disciplinary Appeals Committee, the Council Human Resources Committee, the Remuneration Committee, the Language Committee, the Building and Properties Committee, the Social and Ethics Committee, the Council Membership Committee, and the Council Naming Committee.

In terms of the current composition of these subcommittees, the dissolution of Council means that these cannot be properly constituted and they are therefore also dissolved. I will, as a matter of urgency, seek expert advice to ensure that the University continues to function properly and is able to discharge its legal and other obligations.

The internal management processes and reporting lines within the university continue to apply. In terms of the University of Fort Hare Institutional Statute, Section 59, the Vice‐Chancellor reports to Council and, for the duration of my term as Administrator, he will be reporting to me.  

Last week I spent Thursday and Friday at the East London campus of the university. The purpose of the visit was threefold.

Firstly, I met with Mr Gwebinkundla Qonde, the Director‐General (DG) of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), as well as other DHET officials, for them to clarify to me the Terms of Reference for my appointment, as delineated in the Government Gazette.

Secondly, the DG introduced me to those members of the UFH internal stakeholders who were available to meet with me. These include organised labour, student leadership formations, and the SRC. Regretfully, my visit coincided with the autumn graduation in East London, which curtailed the ability of members of the Institutional Forum to attend the dedicated session, as well as my ability to meet with the Extended Management Team, Senate and the Convocation President and Alumni. I will make provision for such meetings during my next visit.

Thirdly, I was informed that previous meetings of the Council had not been able to deal with certain important items that need formal Council approval. This has implications for the effective and smooth functioning of the university. I met with some members of MANCO and senior management staff with specialist expertise on these matters, who presented the background to the matters referred to above. I will study the detailed proposals presented and provide the necessary approvals by Friday, May 10th unless further supporting documents are required.

I plan to visit the University for at least five days in the week of 13 May 2019. I will visit all the campuses and have further engagements with the university stakeholders that I met with, as well as others that I did not have an opportunity to meet last week. A programme for the visit will be sent out during the course of the week of May 6th to 10th.

I will be developing a structured programme for the full scope of my responsibilities at the University of Fort Hare, as outlined in the Government Gazette, and will endeavour to make this available as soon as possible. This will include the remit of the independent investigation to be conducted.

I am looking forward to engaging all stakeholders and providing support to the University management and other university and statutory stakeholders in accelerating the approval of, as well as overseeing the implementation of, governance protocols and procedures to get the University back on an even keel. I trust I can rely on everyone who has the interests of this historic South African institution at heart, to ensure that nothing in my remit falls through the proverbial cracks.

 

Sincerely,

Professor Loyiso G. Nongxa: M.Sc. (Fort Hare), DPhil (Oxon)

ADMINISTRATOR: University of Fort Hare