||18 August - The Centre for Civil Society this week prepares for meetings about our future with a new Subcommittee of the Faculty. Last week's 33-1 vote by colleagues to keep the Centre at UKZN is a strong enough signal to reverse an earlier decision by authorities to shut CCS. But our future is to be negotiated in coming days, with a September 12 deadline. We are requesting further testimonials before 1 September, to email@example.com
Statement by Professor Patrick Bond, Centre for Civil Society director
(Monday evening, August 11)
August 11 - The closure of CCS, as dictated in a July 30 statement
by Deputy Vice Chancellor Fikile Mazibuko and read to our staff and our
School of Development Studies colleagues that day by Dean Donal
McCracken, has been effectively negated, and is now overridden by a
genuinely collegial process amongst intellectuals, it was agreed this
The academic process we now embark upon means that no binding official
university decision has been taken, and that fellow scholars will make
recommendations about the Centre's future in coming days and weeks, in a
far more democratic manner where merit not political ideology prevails.
Prof Mazibuko and Dean McCracken may still believe that CCS should be
closed on December 31 this year - for they refused to deny or confirm
the status of the July 30 death sentence when we met this afternoon -
but Vice Chancellor Malegapuru Makgoba has ensured, in an earlier
meeting with me today, that a series of other scholars will make their
inputs prior to any decision: the School of Development Studies Board;
the Howard College Faculty Board of Humanities, Development and Social
Sciences; the Academic Affairs Board; the University Research Committee;
and finally the Senate. (If CCS is to be closed, Council would also
These are committees whose senior academics will, we trust, bring
perspective and wisdom to the matter. They will carefully consider the
alignment of Centre work to the university's broader mission and goals.
They will properly assess our accomplishments and faults rather than
dismiss the Centre's future based on a financial red herring.
The SDS Board has already expressed their solidarity with the Centre's
appeal against the July 30 ruling. The Faculty Board meets on August 13,
and will be asked to form a subcommittee to rapidly assess the official
report of the University Review Committee of the CCS, chaired by Dr
Peter Krumm, who filed it on February 29 this year. (The report is
Several months have been lost (recall that this process began in March
2007), and we are back at square one. Still, this is more than a stay of
execution, it is a negation of the death sentence and a chance to have
genuine scholars carefully consider the Centre's relevance to academic
enterprise and community service.
Below, find Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Relations) Dasarath Chetty's
communique this evening to the university community. On August 6, Prof
Chetty was quoted in The Mercury newspaper as saying Prof Mazibuko knew
nothing of the threat to close CCS, which was not correct; and on August
8 Chetty sent a confusing note to the university community and press
that implicated Dr Krumm, his committee (all named), and Professor
Vishnu Padayachee (head of the School of Development Studies) in the
"recommendation" that CCS should be closed. In discussing these problems
with Prof Chetty today, I am convinced he was misled by colleagues, and
that he recognises that Prof Mazibuko did indeed call for CCS's closure
on July 30; and also that Dr Krumm's Review Committee and Prof
Padayachee are on record, decisively, against CCS's closure. CCS is
committed to working together with Prof Chetty, to ensure that
university statements reflect the facts on this matter.
So we now continue our campaign to resist closure, and to preserve what
scholars, civil society constituencies, and the general public - in
Durban and across South Africa, Africa and the world - consider useful
about CCS. Our campaign will be thoughtful, and make the case in a
reasoned way. We encourage further brief testimonials about CCS, and how
what we do can be improved. We are far from a perfect site of knowledge
production, we make many mistakes, and it is only through constructive
critique that we can best serve civil society.
A huge thanks goes to the many people and institutions offering their
solidarity and sympathy. Without exception, you have encouraged us to
continue the campaign to keep CCS alive and well. (Just by way of
illustration, more than 600 low-income people spent all afternoon
yesterday in Chatsworth celebrating the local community's decade of
organising and Prof Fatima Meer's eight decades of vibrant life, and all
of us from CCS were privileged to cohost, and heartened by the
commitment of all present to continue forging a unifying vision of
Please see our website - for more, including upcoming events such as the August 28 Wolpe Lecture on water access as taught by Sowetans who defeated Johannesburg Water and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in the High Court a few weeks ago.
Some of the testimonials about CCS that have arrived so far are
uploaded,here and a further website (including a petition) was set up by trade unionists who support CCS: http://groups.google.com/group/handsofftheccs
For more analytical material (including three new journal articles), see
http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za/default.asp?2,40 and also the five-year review for our funders conducted by David Sogge:
(Note - although in issuing this statement to the many concerned friends of CCS, I have consulted only our Research Director, Prof Sufian Bukurura, this afternoon - two staff meetings with colleagues in CCS and SDS this morning convince me of their unanimity in opposing CCS's closure, and their support for our appeal to reason. Further meetings tomorrow will add to the next stage of our strategy, and we will issue another statement by Wednesday about how we hope academic colleagues view our situation.)
Notice to the University Community
Centre for Civil Society
Following a meeting between Professor N Mazibuko, the Deputy
Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor D
McCracken, Dean of Humanities and Professor Patrick Bond, Director of
the Centre for Civil Society, it was agreed that the Faculty Board be
requested to consider the Krumm report on the future of the CCS at its
meeting on Wednesday, 13 August 2008. As a way forward the Board is to
be requested to consider appointing a sub-committee which should, in a
reasonable time, come up with recommendations relating to the future of
Recommendations would then be forwarded to the Academic Affairs Board on
12 September, to the University Research Committee on 16 September and
to Senate on 12 November 2008.
Professor Dasarath Chetty
11 August 2008
TIMETABLE OF EVENTS RELATING TO THE RECENT THREAT TO CCS (compiled on 15 August 2008)
In March 2007, the School of Development Studies (SDS) Board of
Studies requested a University review of the Centre for Civil Society
(CCS) to establish a firm footing for subsequent developments (including
the anticipated end of Professor Patrick Bond’s directorship in October
2007), a review which only began in September 2007, led by Dr Peter
Krumm (Department of Physics).
On 29 February 2008, after hundreds of hours of deliberations, the
Krumm Committee issued its Report, which included the conclusion that
“Closing down or removing CCS from UKZN does not appear to be an option
as it was rejected by all interviewees and panel members. Through its
international recognition and standing, CCS has put UKZN on a world map
in social science, a position the University dare not risk to lose.” The
report is here:
Until mid-July 2008, no written communications were offered by Dean
Donal McCracken, in spite of repeated (unanswered) queries, about the
status of the Krumm Committee Report, and no effort was made to address
the Report’s analysis or recommendations in the Faculty Board or Faculty
ExCo, and no further communications were made to CCS or SDS requesting
On July 16, Dean McCracken informed Professors Vishnu Padayachee (Head of the School of Development Studies) and Professor Bond that due to financial reasons the Centre would be closed, but upon notification of new funder commitments and a reserve, acknowledged that "negotiations are still open".
On July 17, Professor Bond sent Dean McCracken the audited 2007
Financial Statement which showed a healthy surplus of twice the Centre’s
annual income or expenditures, as well as an indication of funder
commitments to core administrative expenses for 2009-2010.
On July 23, Dean McCracken sent Professor Padayachee a letter
instructing him not to permit further surplus expenditure or fundraising
by the Centre for Civil Society, while refusing to reply to ongoing
emails from Professor Bond requesting information about the process.
On July 30, Dean McCracken did not answer requests by Professor Bond
for a briefing prior to his own announcement to an SDS and CCS staff
meeting, that Deputy Vice Chancellor Fikile Mazibuko had decided that
CCS would be closed as of December 31 2008; that existing staff
contracts would be terminated at year end (with staff invited to apply
for other UKZN jobs); that Professor Bond would resume his tenured SDS
chair; and that the “good” projects (unspecified) of CCS would be
brought into a “refocused” civil society programme in SDS.
On July 30, the staff of CCS sent a written Appeal to Dean McCracken
and then on July 31 and again on August 4, to Deputy Vice Chancellor
Mazibuko, an Appeal which was never acknowledged or answered;
On August 4, the staff of SDS met and endorsed the CCS Appeal and made
their own written request to Professor Mazibuko for a rationale for the
closure of CCS, a request that was acknowledged but not answered.
On August 6, the Mercury newspaper carried a statement - never
corrected - that Deputy Vice Chancellor Mazibuko "knew nothing about the
alleged decision to shut down the centre". Professor Bond continued to
make written requests for written copies of the July 30 letter, a letter
which has been kept secret, as well as for the CCS Appeal to be
answered, without success.
On August 8, an official University statement claimed that it was on
the basis of the Krumm Committee Report and deliberations with Professor
Padayachee that the decision to close CCS was taken – and
notwithstanding repeated requests for a public correction of that
incorrect information, Pro Vice Chancellor Dasareth Chetty’s office
On August 11, Vice Chancellor Malegapuru Makgoba confirmed to
Professors Padayachee and Bond that the CCS decision-making process to
date was inappropriate, and the “academic voice” was yet to be heard,
and that henceforth the correct process would be immediate consideration
of the Krumm Report in Faculty Board and in other committees of academics.
On August 13, the Faculty Board for Humanities, Social Science and
Development voted 33 to 1 (with a half-dozen abstentions) to support
"the continuation of the Centre for Civil Society", and the Board
established a subcommittee to come up with solutions, to report in no more than a month's time.
Note on the status of CCS within the University of KwaZulu-Natal
On 30 July, the staff of CCS and our host institution, the School of
Development Studies (SDS), were summoned by Dean Donal McCracken, and
told that as of 31 December 2008, CCS would be permanently closed, that
Professor Patrick Bond (CCS director since October 2004) would resume
his tenured chair within SDS, and that the other CCS staff - all on
contract - would be terminated, with CCS's "good" projects moved to SDS.
CCS staff are unanimous that this decision should be reconsidered, and
the following letter of appeal was sent within hours to Dean McCracken. As of 1 August, no reply was received, and with word now out about the proposed closure, we deem this necessary to publicise on the CCS website. Our objective is to retain the Centre as it now operates, and indeed to strengthen and make CCS more autonomous (as recommended in the official UKZN Review of our activities on 29 February 2008). We appreciate the solidarity of colleagues, communities, donors and supporters, and your comments - supportive and critical alike - will be published on this website.
please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Centre for Civil Society report on 2007 activities
CCS UKZN Review 29 February 2008
30 July 2008
Vishnu Padayachee, head of the School of Development Studies
I was disappointed to be left out of the loop on discussions about the
future of the Centre for Civil Society, especially over the last crucial
two-week period. Not having had a chance to talk to any of the
principals between 29 February and July 16, in spite of repeated
requests, has made the authorities' decision to propose closing CCS very
difficult to comprehend. A few minutes' time with Prof McCracken on July
16, and repeated (ignored) requests for follow-up discussions only leave
me more confused about whether this decision has been made on financial
grounds, as suggested, or some other basis.
As you advised, Centre staff met and decided that without a compelling
reason given by Prof McCracken to buttress Prof Mazibuko's
recommendation that CCS be closed at the end of 2008, we would want very
much to immediately appeal this recommendation.
The only reason given at today's staff meeting was that the long-term
financial viability of CCS was not secure, i.e. that we do not have
permanent funding in perpetuity. But that argument applies to many other
projects, centres and other UKZN entities, and we have communicated to
Prof McCracken that there is no problem in guaranteeing core jobs and
many of our projects into 2009-10.
The formal University Review of CCS carried out between September
2007-February 2008 suggested that CCS be strengthened. The Review made
this specific comment on closure:
(1) Closing down or removing CCS from UKZN does not appear to be an
option as it was rejected by all interviewees and panel members. Through
its international recognition and standing, CCS has put UKZN on a world
map in social science, a position the University dare not risk to lose."
We believe that CCS contributes to the stated goals of the university
(see below) as much as any other research unit, and likewise that our
portfolio of funded research projects, our per capita publications
output, the frequency of our academic seminar schedule (usually
two/week), the numerous (free) events open to the community (most with
translation), our role in local and national public intellectual
debates, and the recognition/partnerships we have with other
internationally recognised academic and research institutions would rank
us at the top of UKZN.
We also believe that with our healthy reserve and the incoming funding
commitments for core staff for 2009-10, there is no financial basis for
closing CCS; indeed, we have been a generous net financier of the
university since 2001, and have formally purchased our office space.
The race/gender implications of the decision to close CCS would be to
retain one white male and fire more than a dozen black and female
contract workers (and one other white male).
If we might use your good office to get an urgent meeting with both
Professors Mazibuko and Jacobs, we would be grateful. I will cancel my
Nairobi trip to the Africa Jubilee South launch next week, as well. In
the meantime, we will alert our colleagues and funders of this appeal,
as the proposed closure of CCS has now been publicly announced and we
must not be in a position to lose the confidence of our communities and
To be the premier university of African scholarship.
A truly South African university that is academically excellent,
innovative in research, critically engaged with society and
demographically representative, redressing the disadvantages, inequities
and imbalances of the past.
PRINCIPLES AND CORE VALUES
The University commits itself to the principles and values enshrined in
the constitution of the Republic of South African and articulated in the
preamble to the Higher Education Act of 1997 (as amended).
The goals of the University are to:
Promote access to learning that will expand educational and
employment opportunities for the historically disadvantaged, and support
social transformation and redress.
Create and develop an enabling environment for all learners and
scholars to pursue their studies in accordance with the principles of
Advance knowledge and culture through globally competitive
teaching, learning, scholarship and research, innovation and scientific
Foster a capacity for independent critical thinking, free
engagement in fundamental discovery and a reappraisal and extension of
traditional views of the world amongst students and staff.
Support and contribute, across the academic enterprise, to
national and regional development, and the welfare and upliftment of the
Provide holistic education which promotes an awareness of social
responsibility and sound ethical practice in a diverse society.
Promote and foster tolerance and respect for multilingualism,
diverse cultures and social values.
Promote excellence in teaching and learning through creative and
innovative curriculum design and development, pedagogical strategies and
assessment practices in accordance with sound quality assurance principles.
Strengthen the institution through local and international
collaboration, exchanges and partnerships with the private sector and
higher education institutions in teaching, research and development
Conserve the physical environment, and foster a culture of
responsible, ethical, sustainable use of natural resources.
Increase opportunities for lifelong learning in response to the
educational, social, political, scientific and economic challenges of
Equip graduates to serve as future leaders of the nation.
Ensure effective governance through democratic representation,
accountability, and transparency.
Promote the social and personal well-being of staff and students,
and foster the realization of their full human potential.
The University views this vision and mission statement as a
reflection of its core values and commitments. In carrying out its
various activities, the University seeks to contribute to the building
of a just South African society.
05 August 2008
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor
College of Humanities
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Howard College Campus
Dear Prof Mazibuko
CLOSURE OF THE CENTRE FOR CIVIL SOCIETY (CCS)
At a meeting on 30 July 2008, we were informed by the Dean, Professor
McCracken, that the University has decided to close the CCS. Professor
McCracken informed us that this decision has been taken on financial
grounds i.e. because the CCS did not have a secure and permanent stream
We considered this matter at our School Board of 4 August where we
supported the CCS's resolution to appeal the University's decision. This
was a consensus view of our School Board and I was asked to write to you.
Specifically we would like to raise two issues. First, this decision
seems to be at odds with the findings of the Review Committee, which was
asked to consider the future of the CCS. Our reading of the report of
the Committee is that closure is not recommended. Second, our
understanding is that the CCS is now able to secure its financial future
for at least another two years. As far as we know, research centres of
this sort are not expected to secure their financial futures in
perpetuity. We can therefore only conclude that the University has
other, more academically sound, reasons for the decision.
We would like therefore to invite you to address us on the reasons
informing the decision to close the CCS.
For the Board of Studies, School of Development Studies
The following members of the SDS Board were present at the meeting: