Another race-charged row is brewing at the University of Cape Town over the axing of a black professor and subsequent appointment of a retired professor as acting head in charge of transformation.
Deputy vice-chancellor: Transformation, Professor Loretta Feris was removed and replaced with British historical archaeologist Professor Martin Hall, who served in a variety of roles at UCT between 1983 and 2008.
Professor Hall, assumed duties as acting deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation on 1 April, inciting an uproar on campus.
It is alleged the acting deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation is on a R2-million salary package at a time when academics, staff and unions have been ordered to make cut-backs.
The Black Academic Caucus at UCT has criticized Hall’s appointment;
“It is irrational and unjustifiable to replace (whether on a temporary or permanent basis) a black woman DVC with a retired white man,” the caucus said in a statement.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) Ikapa South and UCT branch, has demanded that the post be advertised urgently and warned that it would do “anything in our power” to ensure that UCT sticks to its employment equity targets.
“Our disappointment is informed by the fact that such an appointment has the potential of enforcing a view in society that UCT is pursuing gender bias in the workplace as society would hardly clap hands for replacing a female, with a male even though the acting arrangement might not be for a longer period.
“What makes us not to be shocked though is that we are of a firm belief that the selection committees of UCT have not really grasped that stakeholders both internal, and external have grown impatient with their slow pace of transformation,” regional secretary of Nehawu Ikapa South branch, Baxolise Mali, said.