High Court Confirms Unisa Will Not Be Placed Under Administration ... For Now


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South Africa's largest university will not be placed under administration, at least for the time being. This comes after the High Court in Pretoria's decision to dismiss the minister's leave to appeal application. 


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The Pretoria High Court has dismissed a leave from appeal application submitted by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. The minister sought to appeal Judge Harshila Koorverjie's decision which prevented him from placing the University of South Africa (Unisa) under administration.

Unisa welcomed the court's decision, which was the fourth consecutive decision in favour of the university regarding the minister’s intention to place South Africa’s largest university under administration.  

This was the fourth consecutive decision in favour of Unisa on whether the university can be placed under administration by the Minister. 

The legal battle stems from an agreement between the Minister and Unisa, where the Minister committed not to appoint an Administrator for Unisa while the court reviewed the report of the Independent Assessor, Professor Themba Mosia. This agreement was elevated to a court order which solidified its legal standing.

After careful consideration of arguments from both sides, Judge Kooverjie dismissed the Minister's application for leave to appeal the judgement of 6 October 2023 and imposed costs on the Minister. The judge cited the lack of prospects for success among other reasons for this decision.

After listening to both parties, Judge Kooverjie dismissed the application by Minister Nzimande for leave to appeal her judgement of 6 October 2023, with costs because the Minister’s application had no prospects of success, among other reasons. 

Unisa says despite the legal battles and contestation around the independent report, their relationship with Minister Nzimande remains cordial. 

Background 

Minister Nzimande announced his intention to place Unisa under administration and explained that the decision comes after careful consideration of findings from the Independent Assessor report by Professor Themba Mosia and the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) report. 

Both reports highlighted severe concerns regarding Unisa's administration, governance, quality and sustainability. They attributed these issues to management failures within key support systems and the council's actions as a root cause.

Nzimande officially placed the institution under administration in October 2022 previously being prevented by a court order. Unisa remained firmly against the Minister's decision to appoint an administrator.

Nzimande was later forced to withdraw his administration's decision after the courts determined that it was unconstitutional. The minister sought leave to appeal this decision but ultimately his application was rejected. 

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