Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Administrator, Professor Lourens Van Staden, is guided in his work by a single goal, to re-establish governance protocols so that the University can produce the next generation of leaders.
“We must put this University at a level where we can capacitate and train our youth to become future leaders,” said Professor Van Staden. “This university belongs to the taxpayers, even the unemployed, this university belongs to the people.”
Professor Van Staden was speaking on MUT Radio, during his visit to campus on Thursday, 26 December 2022, where he was scheduled to be part of engagements with the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation and the Department of Higher Education and Training delegation on the state of MUT’s readiness for the 2023 academic year.
The interview on MUT Radio comes after the MUT Administrator issued his first communication to the university community on Monday, 23 January 2023, where he detailed his role at the University, provided information on his team and a Communication Plan on what and how he intends to communicate with the University community during his tenure.
“A common misunderstanding could be that the administrator must address issues that belong to the university management. It [the Administrator’s position] has a clear governance role and management has their role. My job is not to interfere with the work of management unless there is a complaint that management is found wanting, not doing their work,” emphasised Professor Van Staden.
He explained that all the work that he would undertake with his team during the 24-month tenure as the administrator was meant to enable the university to play its role of empowering young people as was the vision of former president and struggle stalwart, Nelson Mandela.
In terms of the work itself, Professor Van Staden said he was expected to appoint the new Council.
“The main aim ultimately is to appoint a new Council for the university. That’s the overall goal. Very important is also to fill the Vice-Chancellor vacancy. The vacancy is the responsibility of the Council,” he explained.
Professor Van Staden added that coupled with appointing a Council and filling senior positions, he is also expected to deliver a five-year development plan for the university.
“That plan will be developed with the stakeholders of the university so that we develop a plan that can be implemented by management and the new Council,” said Professor Van Staden. “We will not just deliver the plan, but we will also start implementing it with management and the new Council.”
He further added that the forensic investigation that is mentioned as part of the activities he expected to deliver was meant to ensure that public money was spent on what it was intended for since MUT is a public university.
“This university is here for our children, our kids,” said Professor Van Staden. “I call them kids because I am a madala [an old man].”