COUNCIL COMMUNIQUÉ - An Open Letter from the Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal
June 14, 2012
Wednesday 13 June 2012
An Open Letter from the Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal
The Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal appointed an independent senior counsel to consider the allegations made by a former employee of the University concerning Vice-Chancellor Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s role in Dr Tahir Pillay’s doctoral thesis. Dr Tahir Pillay was the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Health Sciences at UKZN.
Advocate Jean Marais SC - an experienced, independent legal counsel who practices from the Durban Bar - was appointed by the Council to provide an opinion to Council.
At a meeting held on Monday 11 June 2012 Council received and considered the opinion and decided it was not necessary to take any action against Professor Makgoba.
The University is committed to good corporate governance and this permeates the entire institution. Furthermore, UKZN has clear processes, policies and procedures to investigate grievances and complaints supported by factual evidence. These include a whistleblowers hotline and the University Ombud, Justice Pius Langa.
Accountability is central to the core functioning of UKZN and underpins our values of integrity and honesty. The University has an impeccable track record in the management of donor funding. UKZN’s audited financial reports state clearly that all donor funds are fully accounted for in terms of their management and disbursement. The University views the unfounded allegations in The New Age newspaper about its donor funding and other spurious allegations in a very serious light and reserves its rights to pursue legal action in this regard.
Council further regrets the recent decision – which it did not support – to cancel a public lecture on the UKZN campus by Israel's deputy Ambassador to South Africa. Council reiterates its commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression. These are pillars of our democracy which also underpin UKZN’s vision and mission.Council states categorically that the University is committed to a non-racial and democratic society in which debate, dialogue and divergent viewpoints are encouraged.
As one of the leading institutions of higher learning on the African continent, the University will continue to strive for excellence as a repository of knowledge production and innovation. As stated in our Transformation Charter, governance, leadership and management will be practiced in a manner that encourages and facilitates positive and continuous institutional transformation. The University leadership and management will be responsible and directly accountable for creating an environment that cherishes diversity and equity, and which is conducive to respect, tolerance and understanding.
The Council acknowledges the support and contributions of staff and its partners. It salutes UKZN academics who continue to make a difference to the lives of communities and transform the world through innovative, relevant and pioneering research. The Council also applauds the dedication and professionalism of administrative staff as well as acknowledging our strategic partners and donors who embrace our goals and believe in the University’s mission and vision.
During the past few weeks we have endured the vicissitudes of criticism and opinion. This has been a challenge and Council sincerely thanks all UKZN stakeholders for their support, understanding and more importantly, their unwavering belief in the mission and vision of the University.
We are confident that Professor Malegapuru Makgoba will continue to lead the University of KwaZulu-Natal to strive for excellence with integrity and accountability.
Mac Mia and Phumla Mnganga
Chair and Vice-Chair of Council
University of KwaZulu-Natal