IS IT THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR SANU AS STAFF HAVE NOT BEEN PAID YET AGAIN AND ARE NOW BOYCOTTING WORK?

There seems to be no end in sight for the crisis at the Southern Africa Nazarene University (SANU), as employees have once again not received their full salaries.

The institution cites financial distress as the reason for being unable to meet its financial obligations to its employees and the general upkeep of the University. In October of last year, Sipho Mhlanga, the Assistant Registrar-Academics, issued a memorandum to the staff informing them and the Executive Management about the delayed payment of salaries.

Since then, the institution has struggled to fulfill its financial obligations to staff smoothly. The Bridge visited the institution today and quickly realized it was operating at 20 percent capacity as employees decided not to show up for work. Those who did told this publication that they were there to run personal errands but otherwise were not working because "we cannot afford transport fares since we are not paid."

"We were supposed to have been paid on Friday, and management didn't deposit the full amount. Employees then decided to stay at home because they don't have money to come to work," said an employee who preferred to remain anonymous.

According to the employment contract, SANU employees must be paid a basic monthly salary on the 20th day of each month and not later than seven days thereafter. Since its inception, SANU has grappled with issues of employee treatment and remuneration, making headlines for all the wrong reasons. SANU employees have previously complained about being subjected to high bank stop order charges due to the endless late payment of salaries.

Another concern of the employees is that since SANU offers part-time programs on Saturdays, full-time employed staff are not entitled to any remuneration for working on Saturdays. This means that SANU staff is coerced by the current management to volunteer its services on Saturdays.

"SANU employees are very demotivated and disgruntled by this issue because it simply implies that they have to sacrifice their time and resources for an institution that does not value them but holds part-time lecturers in high esteem," complained an employee.

Another added: "In this Christian institution, communication primarily takes the form of memoranda, reflecting a hierarchical, top-down approach. Employees find themselves without any participatory role in the decision-making processes of the institution. The atmosphere at SANU is characterized by a recurrent directive for employees to either conform to expectations or face potential dismissal. Unfortunately, there is a pervasive lack of transparency regarding the persistent delays in salary payments, leaving staff uninformed. Regrettably, the management seems reluctant to set aside its pride and engage in collaborative discussions with employees to jointly devise solutions for addressing these challenges."

A few years ago, Clementine Mashwama and Theresa Ntshakala, senior lecturers, took the institution to CMAC to complain about low pay, unlawful deductions, and demanding responsibility allowance. They argued their E18,749.00 monthly payment was not enough as they were supposed to be earning E22,062.00 monthly.

It was this case that laid bare employee life at the institution as the two senior lecturers revealed life at the institution. But Mhlanga told this newspaper that the challenges of the institution were being attended to and that soon they hope to be over this sad chapter.

"We have been working with the employees to try and make them understand that we have a cash flow problem that is not of our making. We have even asked for a higher government subvention and hopefully, we will get it this financial year," Mhlanga said.

Mhlanga said they rely heavily on tuition fees and Government's 20 percent subvention, and that the drop in student intake has substantially reduced their kitty.