Statement by the NWU´s institutional management
The North-West University (NWU) has commenced with a process of restructuring to enable the implementation of a new strategy approved by Council in November 2015.
On the advice of Senate, the Council of the NWU adopted a new organisational model in principle at its November 2015 meeting, subject to further refinement during the implementation process, and compliance with labour and other legal prescripts. In order to give effect to the Council resolution, a section 189A notice was issued on 31 March 2016 in terms of the Labour Relations Act (as amended), which requires a process of consultation in these circumstances.
A media report yesterday, purporting to emanate from an NWU Council member whose identity is not known, suggest inter alia:-
- that Afrikaans on the Potchefstroom Campus will be threatened in this process;
- that race transformation and integration will be accelerated and that the posts of white academics will be threatened by the process of restructuring;
- that the Council was misled by management suggesting that no jobs would be lost.
These allegations require a response:
- The NWU strives through its dynamic functional multilingual language policy to accommodate the need of Afrikaans speakers to access tuition in their mother tongue. This unique policy was indeed identified as a competitive differentiator during the strategy development process.
- The Council in November 2015 approved accelerated but realistic student equity targets and an employment equity plan, neither of which is designed or is likely to threaten the posts of white academics.
- In accordance with Council’s November 2015 resolution, Council was notified at its meeting of 10 March 2016 that a section 189A notice would be issued to all university staff members in terms of the Labour Relations Act. While the primary purpose of the restructuring process is to give effect to the strategy, the process could potentially affect some individual positions and levels of responsibility as well as reporting structures. Therefore, because a limited number of post reductions may not be avoided, a notice in terms of the Labour Relations Act is required.
The institutional management of the NWU is fully committed to a genuine process of consultation to ensure that the university achieves even greater heights in striving to live up to its strategy, namely: "to transform and position the NWU as a unitary institution of superior academic excellence, with a commitment to social justice".
University management recognises that during a process of change there will always be uncertainties and even fears.
The institutional management wishes to record its unequivocal intent to continue to comply fully with the decisions of Council. It believes in leadership solidarity during a period of restructuring and will continue to manage the NWU in the best interests of all stakeholders.