South Africa: Higher Education Committee Concerned About State of Governance At Buffalo City and KZN Coastal Tvet Colleges

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The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training this week met with the Buffalo City and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Coastal technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges for a briefing on the two institutions' governance and administration matters.

The committee continues to concern itself with the inability of the Coastal KZN TVET College to improve its management and governance, despite being under administration since 2012.

Attempts by council, management and student representatives to resolve concerns about alleged maladministration, looting and financial maladministration; as well as unfilled posts, poor audit outcomes, ineffective internal controls, low academic throughput rates, a lack of correlation between the qualifications of members of council and performance, and weak student representation inspired very minimal confidence.

In the case of Buffalo City TVET College, taking into consideration the formulation of a team from the department to investigate matters relating to poor administration and governance, the committee is concerned with maladministration; the inability of the department to fill vacancies and the dire state of disbursement of National Student Financial Aid Scheme allowances, among other issues.

TVET colleges must rise to become institutions of preference for young South Africans. Thus, consequence management is critically important to ensure that those that have led the maladministration of these institutions face the repercussions of such unlawful actions. Effectiveness in the above will stamp out poor performance in the post-school education sector.

The committee would therefore like a preview of the interim report on the investigations into maladministration at the Buffalo City TVET College. This should be accompanied by an intentional, specific and dated plan of action by the council, management and student council on how they seek to address the challenges identified in the report and the challenges experienced by the institution.

With grave disappointment and concern the committee strongly recommends that the Minister invokes Section 46 (1) of the CET Act, to appoint a person to conduct an investigation into the affairs of this institution with the hope that this process will lead the placing of the Coastal KZN TVET College under administration.

The committee emphasises how important it is for stakeholders that these institutions strengthen their working relations. It is also important that the department plays a greater role in supporting, overseeing and holding individuals accountable at these institutions.

More From: Parliament of South Africa

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