Appointment of interim VP at Nust ruffle feathers

WINDHOEK - The decision by the Nust Council to appoint the acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Science and Technology (Nust) has left Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) dumb-founded considering the fact he is not a Namibian, though the youth wing was quick to say it is not against foreigners.

Morne Du Toit was recently appointed as the acting Vice-Chancellor of Nust starting from 1 April 2019 while the institution searches for a substantive vice chancellor.

The appointment was done subsequent to the leaving of the long-serving Nust Vice Chancellor Dr Tjama Tjivikua who has been its VC for a record-breaking 23 years.

Talking to New Era, SPYL Secretary for Education Hofni Iipinge said, We understand that Du Toit is not Namibian. This appointment therefore defies logic and flies in the face of the affirmative action policies of the country. In this context Nust has struck a blow to the expectations aspirations and indeed the vision of the nation to have Namibian in strategic positions to steer the overall national agenda.

Iipinge further stated the Swapo youth league is aware of the positions that were advertised and five candidates were shortlisted in which Du Toit was not part of the interviewees.

We have been diligently observing in the local media reports on the continued infight and delays to appoint any of the two Namibians who with honour demonstrated their zeal and zest to lead the young institution and with that spirit they scored highly in the interview. To our surprise the council has now made an appointment of a new acting Vice Chancellor, and has flagrantly diverted from the procedure to appoint the recommended candidates as per interview, stated Iipinge.

He said SPYL could not understand the logic why the public institution wasted tax payer's money on the process of interviewing the candidates and yet it went against the outcome of its interview process.

He added this could be seen as a closed door or underground strategy to disregard, discard and eliminate the Namibian citizens.

Iipinge confessed that, We are not anti-foreigners for they are part of the cogwheels of any functional state but specifically in this vitally important case, we are against the flagrant disregard of utilizing Namibian talent where it is available.

He mentioned the statement they have made is not about race relations but stands as an eye opener to the fact that the imprudent decision by the Nust Council creates a culture that Namibians are not able to run their own institution.

This is a cognitive disposition that reminds us of the times when Namibia was put under the Mandate of the league of Nations because they were regarded as unable to lead themselves, so it is logical for one to reason why we should out-source skills and institutional leadership while locals have laboured to study and sweated for years sharpening their skills so that they can emancipate themselves and lead their own folks, Iipinge complained.

In comparison to the deputy vice-chancellor Andrew Niikondo has a PhD in Political Science, SPYL says they don't know on what terms was Du Toit appointed. The youth league further noted that though Du Toit is an accountant by professional it is aware he does not possess a PhD degree which is one of the main requirements for one to lead this academic institution of higher learning.

New Era has been trying for the past two days to get comment from the institution's spokesperson whose response to all media queries has to be vetted by Nust and as such the response was not forthcoming.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia