ActionSA Cautions VUT Against Nepotism and to Exercise Merit When Awarding Student Funding

ActionSA calls for caution by the Vaal University of Technology when awarding funding to students.

This, after recent developments at the Vaal University around the awarding of an external bursary under questionable circumstances, raising questions around their corporate governance on the procedures and rules that all institutions of higher education are expected to follow when awarding external bursaries to less privileged and deserving students.

According to a news report by the Daily Maverick, a senior executive at VUT dependant was actively involved in the bursary awarding processes which led to a dependent of the senior executive being awarded a bursary.

One would expect that the corporate governance framework at VUT serves as a point of reference in directing the overall conduct of executives when awarding bursaries, just as expected from other institutions of higher learning, for the purpose of avoid conflict of interest.

ActionSA is of a firm view that the principle of recusal should apply in cases where a member of the executive has a personal interest in the awarding of a bursary to the prospective recipient. The proper application of this principle could have ensured that all the applicants for a bursary were treated fairly without any of them being favoured by decision makers in awarding the external bursary.

ActionSA appeals to all the stakeholders at VUT not to use this incident to wage battles which have, in the past, made VUT an unstable institution of higher learning.

ActionSA urges the management of VUT to learn from the many mistakes of the past at the institution and use the lessons learned to contribute towards rebuilding VUT so that the university can discharge its public mandate of providing quality higher education to all qualifying people of South Africa, especially without exploiting opportunities meant to financially benefit disadvantaged students.