A DISCIPLINARY hearing into allegations of racism against the university’s property management head by contract workers is to be held next month.
“The allegations will be tested in a formal enquiry in June,” said deputy vice-chancellor: finance, Professor Patrick Fitzgerald, referring to accusations made against Property and Infrastructure Management Division (PIMD) director, Ian Armitage.
The Workers Solidarity Committee again held a demonstration on the Senate House concourse last Friday to demand the release of the report of an investigation into the allegations against Armitage.
“The fundamental objective is to get the university to act on [the allegations against] Armitage. The acting is linked to the report,” said committee chairman, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
“The issue is accountability on the part of the university, and justice on the part of Armitage.”
At the protest committee member Nhlakanipho Gumede addressed the crowd, calling Armitage a racist and accusing vice chancellor Loyiso Nongxa of siding with whites [contract bosses] and neglecting workers.
He further said they should continue with the protests until Wits released the report, failing which they would go to West Campus to remove Armitage from his office themselves.
“The demonstration was to report back to the people and remind management that we’re still here,” said Gumede.
The committee held a protest two weeks ago to hand over their memorandum of demands to the university.
A contract worker who spoke to Vuvuzela on condition of anonymity said Nongxa is “comfortable in his office” which is cleaned by them.
“We should stop cleaning, [and] see if they will work in dirty offices,” he said.
Ndlozi alluded to ineffective communication being a barrier to the resolution of the disagreement.
“We are not going to resolve this thing if there is no proper dialogue.”
Meanwhile, the PIMD director’s post has been advertised. Armitage, who has been on a one year contract since 2009, will also be eligible to apply.