MUT puts the record straight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           

14 April 2024

MUT puts the record straight

The University would like to put the record straight regarding the Convocation Annual General Meeting (AGM) that was held on 6 April 2024, at its Seme Hall. The following is an explanation by the University Registrar, Dr Phumzile Masala,  of what transpired at the meeting whose final outcome should have been a new elected Convocation leadership. This did not happen.


  1. The CONVOCATION AGM was convened by the Registrar, Dr Phumzile Masala, on 6 April 2024 following a decision of the Administrator, Professor Lourens Staden.
  2. Pursuant to a legal opinion, a report was submitted to the AGM to ratify the decision to hold the AGM. The AGM granted the ratification. As a result, the AGM duly sat and proceeded with its business.
  3. Unfortunately, the AGM did not conclude the elections part of its business as it was abandoned due to disruptions by one grouping in the AGM.


4.1. The AGM was supposed to start at 10h00. It started around 10h50 as a quorum took time to be established (the quorum is 100).

4.2. The Registrar chaired the AGM and dealt with three items:

3.2.1. Ratification of the decision to hold the elective Convocation AGM in April 2024. This was ratified.

3.2.2. Report on the Administrator decision to make the 2023 elective AGM to be non-elective. The report was noted.

3.2.3. Ratification of the decision of having CONVEXCO presenting a report to the Convocation AGM. This was ratified.

4.3. The AGM continued with its business, including approving the minutes and deliberating on the Report by Institutional Advancement and by the CFO on the state of university finances.

4.4. At around 13h30, the AGM agreed to open nominations for the various elections that were due to take place. The Report of CONVEXCO would then be dealt with as a last item before the elections.

4.5. At this point, the hall that had hitherto been half-full became overflowing, with various persons outside of the venue. The Registrar was informed by the Alumni Office that there were still some CONVOCANTS who were still being registered and verified.

4.6. The AGM became rowdy and uncontrollable, with CONVOCANTS having opposing views on whether those who had not yet registered but were in the queue should be allowed to register.

4.7. Various persons started to become threatening, with some approaching the stage and one or two climbing onto it.

4.8. Realizing that the situation was volatile and that the safety of the officials on the stage was at risk, the Registrar asked the officials to quietly make their way out of the hall. The Registrar was now left with the Chief Governance Officer and the two Scrutineers who had been appointed by the Acting Vice-Chancellor.

4.9. The Registrar managed to calm the situation down for nominations to take place. The nomination process for the various positions was then concluded. It was at this point that the AGM degenerated.

4.10. During the nominations process, it became apparent that the AGM was divided into two groupings, with each grouping occupying one side of the hall and the other grouping the other side of the hall.

4.11. One grouping started to be threatening, demanding that only those who had RSVPed for the AGM should be allowed to vote (at this point all those who were present at the AGM and had been verified had been given green armbands which would be used to identify them during elections, in addition to positive identification). It is important to mention that the matter of RSVPs had not been an issue up to this point. It was apparently an issue because through the singing and nominations a person could deduct which grouping had the larger voice.

4.12. Since there were two strong views on whether to restrict voting only to those who had RSVPed or to allow all CONVOCANTS who had registered and been verified to vote, the Registrar suggested that the AGM vote on the matter and take a decision. This was opposed by the one group that seemed hell-bent to disrupt the AGM.

3.13. The grouping that seemed hell-bent to disrupt the AGM insisted that the Registrar, as the Chief Electoral Officer, should take a decision. The Registrar then adjourned the AGM to go and consult and for the Convocants to have lunch.

3.14. A meeting was held by the Registrar with his office, the Scrutineers, and the Alumni Office. The meeting was unanimous that it would be against the CONVOCATION Constitution to bar from voting CONVOCANTS who were present at the AGM and had been verified. The RSVPs were an administrative tool to enable the Alumni Office to plan logistics, including catering. CONVOCANTS who could not RSVP for one or the other reason could not be barred from the AGM. Certainly, when the AGM started and was dealing with ratifications no one had raised the point whether all those who were present at that point were only those who had RSVPed. The point was only raised during nominations, when the hall was full and the divisive way of sitting made the numbers apparent in terms of how voting was likely to go.

3.15. Upon reconvening, the Registrar announced the decision that all those who had been verified would vote as that is what the Convocation Constitution says. This was now opposed by the same grouping that had said the Registrar should decide, with them now arguing that the Registrar was “conflicted”. The meeting became rowdy and completely uncontrollable, with some Convocants ascending the stage and grabbing the microphone.

3.16. It was no longer possible to continue with the AGM. The Registrar asked the security personnel (the bouncers) to usher him out of the hall. CONVOCANTS approached the stage and physically blocked the exit. The bouncers then surrounded the Registrar and escorted him out of the hall through the emergency door.


4.1. The university will have to take a decision in reconvening the AGM.

4.2. In reconvening the AGM, the university will have to take cognisance of the fact that the abandoned CONVOCATION AGM was filled with hostility and lacked decorum befitting of such an event. No university official will be prepared to be involved in a forum of that nature.

4.3. It is also apparent that CONVOCATION poses a huge risk to the reputation of the university.

4.3. It is also clear that, at the point when CONVOCATION is ready to handle its affairs, the AGM should be online, elections held electronically and be outsourced.


For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact MUT Media Liaison Officer, Bheki Hlophe +27 82 432 1805 or via email

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About Mangosuthu University of Technology

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is a leading institution of higher learning in South Africa, renowned for its commitment to excellence in education, research, and innovation. Located in a township, MUT has extended its global reach through strategic partnerships and collaborations. The university is dedicated to fostering inclusivity, diversity, and social responsibility, empowering its graduates to make meaningful contributions to their communities and society as a whole.