Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande has notified the University of South Africa (Unisa) of his intention to place the institution under administration. This comes after the institution’s council failed to submit written representations last month.
A scathing 300-page report submitted to the Department of Higher Education and Training detailed the alarming state of affairs at the country’s largest university. Concerns were raised around maladministration, poor financial management and an inept administration that disregards procurement processes.
Unisa were afforded the opportunity to respond to the findings made against the institution in August 2023. However, the institution has failed to make representations to the Higher Education department prompting the minister to announce his final decision.
Nzimande delayed his final decision on the mutual agreement that the period of written representations be extended to 4 September 2023. However, these representations were not submitted.
The minister expressed their disappointment at the Council’s failure to respond to damning allegations by “going about its business as if there is no pending decision to be taken”.
Being mindful of the legal and administrative requirements, the Minister awaited the response from the Unisa Council and nothing of substance happened for more than a month.
Nzimande is satisfied that the independent report compiled by Professor Mosia and the Ministerial Task Team reveals financial and other maladministration of a serious nature which is affecting the functioning of the country’s largest university.
It remains our commitment as the Department of Higher Education and Training to ensure the effective functioning of UNISA and all our institutions.
The minister added that the MTT was also tasked to make a rigours assessment of how the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its associative disruptions and shifts will affect many aspects of the academic mission, academic programmes, markers and operating model of Unisa.
The minister will communicate his decision on Friday, 6 October 2023.