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Stuck in time, lacking diversity

Little change in 30 years, trade union warns of stagnant transformation in historically white institutions.

Universities in South Africa are lagging in transformation and little has changed in the past 30 years of democracy, a trade union said.

The historically white universities had shown “very little movement towards an academic staff that reflects the diversity of not only South Africa, but their own students”, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Not embracing spirit of diversity

The federation accused the universities of North-West, Stellenbosch, Free State and Pretoria, for allegedly not embracing the spirit of diversity.

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Cosatu’s acting spokesperson Matthew Parks said: “This is a scandal that should not be ignored or swept under the carpet. The department for higher education and parliament should hold them accountable.”

Real progress

The federation noted the real progress shown by the Universities of Johannesburg, Witwatersrand, Western Cape and Cape Peninsula in academic transformation and employment equity.

Citing a recent survey, Cosatu lashed out at employment equity of these institutions, saying between 66% and 74% of the professoriate was white.

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