Bloemfontein – In the Free State High Court earlier today, 21 September 2012, the Department of Higher Education and Training was granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal after unsuccessfully attempting to place Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) under administration.

Earlier this year the Minister of Higher Education, Honourable Blade Nzimande’s decision to place CUT under administration was set aside in the Free State high court due to unsubstantiated findings by the assessor, Prof Julian Smith that the Minister had relied on. Even though CUT has taken all the necessary steps possible to investigate and manage the issues and has appealed to the Minister to allow CUT’s Council to pursue the matter out of court, the Minister still opted to appeal the ruling.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Thandwa Mthembu, “Through our endeavours, we have shown deep respect and appreciation for having been entrusted with the privilege of leading this university to push the frontiers of social and technological innovation in the central region.  We remain committed, focused and on track to do this through a number of innovation platforms we have built over the years and recently.  At CUT we look forward to working with all stakeholders including the Minister of Higher Education and Training to advance socio-economic development in this region.

“We hope that the Supreme Court of Appeal will bring closure to this matter so that CUT continues to ensure that the University is held in high esteem in South Africa as well as internationally through research, innovation and quality graduate output,” concluded Mthembu.

Based on an agreement between both the Minister and CUT the court ordered that the present status at CUT remains as is pending the conclusion of the appeal – this effectively prevents the Minister from any attempts to take over control of the administration and or governance of CUT until such time as the appeal has been finalized. The appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal on a date to be allocated by the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

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