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Registrar demands Vaal University of Technology lift his ‘unlawful’ suspension

Registrar demands Vaal University of Technology lift his ‘unlawful’ suspension
Vaal University of Technology registrar Dr Dan Mokoena (left) claims his suspension is unlawful because the term of council chairperson Professor Mandla Radebe (middle) ended on 31 August. (Photos: Supplied / (Photo: University of Johannesburg)

Dr Dan Mokoena claims the committee meeting at which it was decided to suspend him was unlawful. A letter from his attorneys warns that he will take the matter to the bargaining council for unfair labour practice if his suspension is not lifted.

Vaal University of Technology (VUT) registrar Dr Dan Mokoena has claimed that the decision to suspend him was unlawful because the committee that took it was not legitimate.

This is contained in a letter dated 6 November sent by Mokoena’s attorneys, Mcloughlin Porter Incorporated, to VUT.

The registrar was on precautionary suspension on 26 October 2023, allegedly amid a falling-out with council chairperson, Professor Mandla Radebe.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Blade Nzimande asked to intervene over suspension of Vaal University of Technology registrar

VUT spokesperson Kediemetse Mokotsi did not respond to specific questions from Daily Maverick.

She said the matter is currently subject to a legal process.

“Also, this is a matter primarily involving an employer-employee relationship and therefore commenting would be in breach of VUT policy on confidential employment matters.”

She said Dr George Mofokeng is the acting registrar.

‘Unlawful decision’

In the letter from Mokoena’s attorneys, which Daily Maverick has seen, they said their client advised that he was suspended on 26 October by way of a letter which did not disclose the reasons for his suspension or investigation against him.

They said the term of VUT council chairperson, Professor Mandla Radebe, ended on 31 August and this had been communicated to him by Mokoena.

“Consequently, all meetings of council and council committees beyond the 31st August 2023, chaired by Radebe, are considered unlawful,” the letter read.

Read more in Daily Maverick: GroundUp: Violence at Vaal University of Technology in Photos

It went on to say that the meeting of the executive committee of council on 24 October was not consistent with the agreed and approved procedure for in-committee meetings and was therefore unlawful.

“We therefore demand that you uplift the suspension and advise our client accordingly on what the so-called government and performance risks he has exposed the university to.”

His attorneys warned VUT that the matter could be referred to a relevant bargaining council for unfair labour practice if the suspension was not uplifted.

VUT reply

According to a letter dated 8 November, through Tshaya Mashabela Attorneys director Tumelo Mashabela, acting on behalf of VUT, the university declined to deal with the allegations.

Mashabela said VUT will reserve the right to transverse between any of the issues at the appropriate time and forum should the need arise.

After consulting with VUT, Mashabela said, they had requested all information and documents relating to the matter.

VUT undertook to share the documents as soon as possible.

“Therefore, we hereby request your lenience on this matter and confirm that we shall provide you with a response to your letter by the 24th day November 2023,” Mashabela wrote.

In the interim, Mashabela said they had been instructed to request that the referral of the matter to the bargaining council be put in abeyance pending VUT’s response. DM

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