“In this country there are reports about people being sexually harassed for marks and so on. If we don't take any decision regarding what is happening at SMU, it will give the wrong message that we are not serious and committed to deal with unethical conduct and behaviour in these particular institutions,” said Mananiso.
Portfolio committee member Nompendulo Mkhatshwa also criticised the hiring of Mbati without him being properly cleared of the sexual harassment allegations.
“No-one is going to feel comfortable working in an environment where there is uncertainty on whether someone has sexually violated a colleague,” said Mkhatshwa.
She said the call for intervention by the portfolio committee was to ensure there was trust and a safe space for learning and teaching at the university.
Nzimande, however, denied that he was not taking action regarding SMU.
“Chair, I want to correct an impression that may be wrongly formed here, as if I am a minister who is not acting on matters of irregularity, corruption and so on. There is no truth in that. You may not be happy with what we have presented, but what we have presented is action we have taken,” said Nzimande.
He said his department wanted to be ruthless when dealing with corruption, but he was guided by the rule of law.
“From what I am hearing, there is some appetite to reopen the case of sexual harassment. The matters excised by the court were precisely the matters that did not find Prof Mbati to be guilty, but I am subject to correction,” said Nzimande.
He said he had no problem with the sexual harassment matter being reopened by the portfolio committee.