South Africa: Media Statement - Higher Education Committee Calls On CPUT to Review Its Processes to Suspend Students

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The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology today received a briefing from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) on the outstanding issues that were raised by students and workers.

The committee has appreciated the worthwhile engagement that it had with the CPUT council, management, students and workers. The committee ensured that this engagement takes place in order to provide a platform for all the CPUT stakeholders to express themselves on the challenges facing them at the institution and how they are being addressed. In its effort to conduct oversight and hold CPUT accountable, the committee ensured that this meeting takes place.

The committee is concerned about the outcry by the Student Representative Council that the policy and processes that the university employs to discipline the students, particularly the student leaders, seem to be unfair and targeting the student leaders in order to discourage them from being critical of the university's leadership. The students complain that too much power seems to be vested in the Vice-Chancellor and the Dean of Students to suspend the students.

After a long engagement, the committee called on the council of the university to immediately review this policy with a view of ensuring that the policy provides for fairness in the process. "It's important that the policy is reviewed so that it is not only fair and justifiable, but it is seen to be fair by those at the receiving end of the policy," remarked Philly Mapulane, the Chairperson of the committee.

The committee is concerned about the reports of complaints about the state of CPUT from both the students and workers while the council and management paint a rosy picture of the institution. The committee has requested the council and management to attend to the stakeholder relationship in a thorough and genuine manner that will yield results that ensure all issues can be ventilated in a manner that will lead to the success of the institution.

The committee has also requested CPUT to provide a detailed report on the expulsion of the two chairpersons of the trade unions. Mr Mapulane says there seems to be various interpretations of the actual reasons of what has happened. "We do not want to interfere with your labour processes but I think that in this instance we deserve a detailed report from the council on the expulsion of the two union leaders and where the process is now," he said.

The committee has further requested CPUT to provide an expenditure report for all these labour legal issues and the disciplinary cases process for the past two financial years. This will assist the committee to understand whether there is merit to these allegations that have been placed by the union.

More From: Parliament of South Africa

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