Recently, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has revealed that during the 2022/23 to 2023/24 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period, the total amount available for investment in infrastructure projects across the 26 universities is R7.584 billion, with R2.953 billion going towards student accommodation.
The Nelson Mandela University (NMU) had previously benefitted from the Infrastructure and Efficiency Grant (IEG), as the public university has three new student residences on the university’s North and South campuses.
The university celebrated the opening of one of these residences at the beginning of the 2022 academic year.
Whilst this might seem like progress for the sector, the department has shared that it won’t be enough, hence, it is seeking partnerships with the private sector.
In a speech, the DHET Minister Dr. Blade Nzimande said:
We intend to secure some pilot agreements this year
Through the infrastructure grant, valued at R6 million, it has been reported that feasibility studies of the two new universities of Science and Innovation and a new Crime Detection University have begun.
Nzimande has explained that the department is currently exploring and testing an alternative mode of education delivery through the Imbali Education and Innovation Precinct project.
For this project, R182.11 million has been recommended in terms of the MTEF allocation, and on the other hand, Higher Education allocated R90 million during the fourth Infrastructure Grant cycle (2015/16-2017/18).
In the pipeline, the University of Zululand teacher training faculty is to be moved from the current former KwaZulu bantustan Parliamentary Precinct at Ulundi, and R10 million has been set aside to cover planning costs and project initiation financial requirements.