NUST senior staff feud over Twin Cab

The Acting director of National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Innovation Hub, alleges that a senior university staffer is attempting to have him dismissed from the educational institution on flimsy reasons.

Aleck Ncube claims his troubles started when the Innovation Hub purchased a twin cab motor vehicle last year, which he has since been using after obtaining authority to drive it.

The permission to drive the vehicle was granted in May 2020 by the Vice Chancellor, Dr Mqhele Dlodlo and pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr Peter Nkala, who now claims he has no authority to use the car.

Ncube alleges that Dr Nkala, who is responsible for the NUST Innovation and Business Development division, is unhappy with him for using the twin cab and instigated an “arbitrary” suspension against him, where three reasons were cited.

“These reasons are, one, driving the vehicle without necessary approval. Two, disobeying an order by the Acting pro-Vice Chancellor to give the vehicle to one of the staffers. This is an illegal order because the Acting pro-Vice Chancellor is not responsible for transport in the university.

“Three, I was accused of being absent from work for five days without official leave yet I was working from home and I have the proof of the work that I did during that period. I even attended an online meeting that was chaired by the pro-Vice Chancellor,” he alleged in an interview with CITE.

Ncube said he refused to sign the suspension letter because no investigations were done and his side of the story was not listened to so he continued reporting for duty.

“I went to my superior, the Vice Chancellor who said I must do as the letter says and face the music, while waiting for the university investigations. I then escalated the matter to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and my lawyer who said that I should report to work because the suspension was null, void and lot legal at law,” he said.

The acting director further alleges that his suspension was a case of victimisation as he has done a lot at the Innovation Hub, which is now producing sanitisers and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the Covid-19 fight.

“It is from the proceeds of sale of sanitisers and PPE that we managed to buy a seven tonne truck and a twin cab vehicle, which the Acting pro-Vice Chancellor wants to control yet the car runs the Hub’s project. The delivery of our twin cab vehicle was in March, which has caused this suspension as I am accused of using it without ‘university authority.’ This is jealousy over the fact that the twin cab is under my custody as the Acting Director of the Innovation Hub,” he claimed.

Ncube also added that ever since he was appointed to the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) as a commissioner, there are some NUST staffers who are unhappy with his appointment.

“I am a ZMC commissioner, a position which entails me to attend meetings and activities as a National Duty calling. I then realised that there are attempts to push me out on frivolous charges yet I have given my all as the Acting Director of the NUST Innovation Hub. Since May 1, 2018, I have been working hard for NUST in various capacities and my suspension is a clear sign of abuse of office,” alleged the acting director.

Contacted for comment, NUST Acting Director of Communication and Marketing, Thabani Mpofu, said this was an internal matter that would be resolved likewise.

“As far as we are concerned, this is an internal issue and would be solved internally. These are sensitive issues and we don’t discuss internal matters through the public or media. As I am talking, Ncube is at work, doing his duties as normal. There is no suspension to talk of,” he said.

However, Ncube remained steadfast in his stance.

“The NUST Act is very clear as to the fact that only the Vice Chancellor suspends an employee after satisfying himself that there is a strong case after hearing both sides. This was not done and the Registrar (Biggy Ngwenya) arbitrarily Suspended Me. This clearly shows malice and attempts to force me out. I am standing firm,” he said.

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