NMMU temporarily freezes vacant posts

FEBRUARY 11, 2016

A good number of currently vacant professional and support services (PASS) posts at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) have been temporarily frozen – a decision which is part of a wider investigation towards increasing efficiency and operational effectiveness at the institution, the university said on Wednesday.

After the university’s first decade and with the financial impacts triggered by the #FeesMustFall movement, the time was ripe to conduct an audit of all posts and re-assess their need and fit.

No academic posts have been affected.

According to the University’s Executive Director: Finance, Mr Mike Monaghan, in order to implement debt and down payment relief and reverse the outsourcing of some support services it will be necessary to simultaneously introduce austerity measures to ensure the financial sustainability of the institution.

He said the debt relief and reversal of outsourced services’ interventions will help broaden access to higher education opportunities and end the exploitive and dehumanizing wage levels and working conditions, and bring about equity and social justice.         

He added that the present “holding measures” will simply allow the University to assess its present structures and enable the establishment of a more efficient and effective support staff sector.

“NMMU tracks a sustainability factor of 65% salary costs vs government subsidy and fees. Therefore, posts that are no longer fit for purpose, or do not add value, if allowed to continue to exist will definitely impact the variable negatively,” says Mr Monaghan, who is leading the process.

“It is imperative that we strive for efficiency without losing any of our effectiveness.”

According to Executive Director: Human Resources Dr Gary Paul, about 50 posts ranging from grade levels 5 to 16 (with the former being at director level) are presently temporarily frozen. All mission critical posts, and those that were already in the process of being advertised, however, will continue as per usual.

Secretaries, artisans, administrative personnel, lab technicians, librarians and research assistants’ posts are among those featured in the list of job profiles that are to be reassessed.

The University is also examining its programme qualification mix to ensure that it is meeting the needs of the marketplace; opportunities for growing its third-stream income and means of increasing support funding for its students.