New Nust VC by March

Higher education executive director Alfred van Kent says there will be no interference of any kind from the ministry in the appointment of the new Nust vice-chancellor.

19 November 2019 | Education

Higher education ministry executive director Alfred van Kent has confirmed that the process to appoint a new vice-chancellor (VC) for the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) will be completed by March next year.

Vice-chancellor for administration and finance Morné du Toit, who was acting VC, recently indicated his intention to step down. The new Nust council will decide on an interim replacement, if needed. When asked about the involvement of the ministry in the appointment of the new vice-chancellor, Van Kent said there would be no interference of any kind. Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi had previously been accused of interference. This allegation was levelled against her by previous Nust council chairperson Esi Schimming-Chase, and ultimately resulted in her resignation.

“The Nust council will deal with recruitment,” Van Kent said.

The recruitment process has been plagued by controversy since the departure of former Nust vice-chancellor Tjama Tjivikua in April this year. The recruitment of a new VC started on 21 September, when an advertisement was placed in local newspapers.

Five candidates were shortlisted for the position - University of Namibia (Unam) academics Frednand Gideon and Erold Naomab (the only Namibians), Nigerian national Abraham Ogwu, Botswana national Otlogetswe Totolo and Turkish national Said Irandoust.

The position was again advertised in March. In a letter written on 30 May to Schimming-Chase, Kandjii-Murangi said the process took longer than expected.

She reminded the council their term would end in August and that she is already recruiting new council members.

The new VC is required to hold a doctorate in natural science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an internationally recognised university, with at least 10 years of executive leadership experience in higher education and a deep understanding of the operations and affairs of the institution.

Meanwhile, an allegation has emerged that the appointment of the new Nust council chairperson and vice-chairperson was flawed and that aspects of the Nust Act were not followed.

This follows the appointment Bank of Namibia (BoN) director for research Florette Nakusera as chairperson and deputy executive director in the ministry of industrialisation Michael Humavindu as the vice-chairperson of the council.

According to a source, the appointments were not done in line with Section 9(1) and Section 7(1) of the Nust Act.

Van Kent referred Namibian Sun to the ministry of public enterprises, saying the authority to appoint the chairperson and vice-chairperson was not its responsibility.

“We are looking into this, the integrity of the process followed and if the outcome is in line with the NUST Act. If we are convinced that there is any anomaly, we will ensure that it is duly rectified,” public enterprises minister Leon Jooste said, when approached for comment.

OGONE TLHAGE

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