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UWC council fight heads back to court

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The long-running battle within the council of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is set to go back to court.

And, once again, the unresolved allegations of corruption, especially concerning a R70m security tender, continue to swirl amid claims of political interference, backstabbing and backhanders.

On December 18, suspended council members Brian Williams and Songeza Maqula filed papers in the High Court demanding their reinstatement to council. The two were suspended, allegedly by an ad hoc committee of three, established after the last meeting on November 26.

At the time, the university stated that Williams and Maqula had been suspended for “their perceived engagement with the protesting students”, which had brought the university to a virtually standstill. However, Molungisi Noludwe, president of UWC convocation – the organisation of UWC graduates – maintained that the role of the suspended council members was to “bring about calm”.

In fact, according to affidavits submitted to the court last week, the student mass meeting referred to by the university was a “mass prayer meeting” organised by the Western Cape Religious Leaders’ Forum. Williams and Maqula, as the convocation’s elected representives on the council, attended the gathering.

Judged by papers filed in the Western Cape High Court, the latest outburst of hostilities within the university’s highest decision-making body is a continuation of the bitter battles of two years ago which also ended up in the High Court.

Raymond Patel, who controversially unseated Williams to take over the council chair in 2013, only to be unseated himself by court order, was again a leading protagonist.

When the reinstated Williams stepped down as chair of council last year, he nominated and voted for the Business Unity representative on council, Mthunzi Mdawaba, as his successor. However, Maquba and Williams later demanded that Madwaba step down. News24

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