My own position regarding the recent industrial action) strike at UKZN:

I recently participated in the strike action at UKZN. Like most of the staff that did so I was impressed with the manner in which the strike action has managed to unite the staff across the various functional lines etc., that normally divide us.

From a personal perspective (as a white male approaching retirement), and in relation to the strike, I generally do not have a problem with Prof Makgoba's initiatives to:

  1. cultivate an African ethos for the university.
  2. encourage (coerce) staff to produce at least one publication per annum.
  3. make the university more productive generally.

I am also lead to believe that the UKZN Executive generally wants to see power within the university being devolved.

My own experiences of that, are that it is not happening. To me it would seem that the university has in fact become top heavy in terms of administration, and I would even argue that the same is true of the academic hierarchy.

Regarding the encashment of sabbatical leave, I belive that this should only occur in instances were the claimant can argue that other university duties prevented him/her from taking that leave during the last five years before his/her retirement.

Having said that, I want to add that if that were the case, then it is absolutely essential that the university actively support academic staff in terms of their efforts to take sabbatical leave.

A university thrives on the exchange of ideas and that depends heavily on the discourse that takes place on its own campus and being able to access the work of others. Teaching, research and sabbatical leave are the fabric on which a university is built.