Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande was locked in a crisis meeting with the Durban University of Technology (DUT) council on Monday over the process of appointing a new vice-chancellor.
TMG Digital understands that‚ after marathon interviews‚ Free State vice-chancellor and Central University of Technology principal Thandwa Mthembu was recommended for the post to replace DUT vice-chancellor Professor Ahmed Bawa‚ who resigned in January.
Dr John Volmink has been acting vice-chancellor since May 1.
However‚ the council was divided on Mthembu‚ who is reportedly a favourite with the higher education ministry as well as the student movement.
Mthembu and Mangosuthu University of Technology vice-chancellor Professor Mashupye Ratale Kgaphola were frontrunners for the post.
At the 11th hour‚ the meeting‚ at Nzimande’s request‚ was hastily moved from DUT’s Ritson Campus‚ where it had been scheduled to take place‚ to Coastlands Hotel.
When Nzimande arrived‚ he did not speak to the reporters and went straight into the meeting.
The media was ordered out of the meeting‚ with a DUT official saying he himself was not allowed to be part of the council meeting.
“I don’t know whether they will issue a media statement or not‚ and I do not know what is on the agenda as this meeting was called by the minister himself‚” he said.
Bawa had served as DUT vice-chancellor since 2010. – TMG Digital/The Times