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DUT staff, students call for sacking of vice chancellor Mthembu

The university was struggling with violent student protests as well as safety and security problems in recent weeks

Durban University of Technology Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Thandwa Mthembu. Picture: Facebook/@DurbanUniversityofTechnology.

DURBAN - Staff, and students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) called for vice chancellor Professor Thandwa Mthembu to be fired.

The university was struggling with violent student protests as well as safety and security problems in recent weeks.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), which represents workers at the institution, claimed that since Mthembu’s appointment in 2016, relations between staff and management had worsened.

On Thursday, Nehawu chairperson at DUT Lunga Khumalo said staff at the institution wrote to the university council asking it to discuss Mthembu’s removal at its next sitting.

“There is a unilateral implementation of policies and it’s a violation of council-approved policies by the internal governance of the institution, which is overseen by Professor Mthembu,” Khumalo said.

The student representative council (SRC) said the university, under Mthembu’s leadership, delayed implementing stringent security measures following several attacks on students at the institution this year.

SRC president Thamsanqa Mabaso said instead, Mthembu upgraded his personal security at the cost of R700,000 a month to the university.

In a statement, the vice chancellor denied the allegations against him. He said he was a target of internal and external forces who were against transformation at the university.

Mthembu said he had prioritised safety issues and planned to appoint a new security company by the end of October.

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