The reckless and unreasonable exercise of power at the highest levels of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) was illustrated by the so-called Desai affair, which had international repercussions.
In 1996, Ashwin Desai was a sociology lecturer and union official at the University of Durban-Westville at a time of discontent about retrenchments and outsourcing. A disciplinary process ended with the termination of his employment and a ban on his presence on the Durban-Westville campus without the express permission of then vice-chancellor Mapule Ramashala.
Seven years later, Desai was appointed honorary research fellow at the Centre for Civil Society on the Howard College campus of the University of Natal; and, in 2003, the new vice-chancellor of Durban-Westville, Saths Cooper, lifted the ban. By the following year, 2004, the centre was part of the new University of KwaZulu-Natal.