Unisa Maintains That It Has Improved Amid Mismanagement Allegations

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Unisa has been embroiled in a scandal following a recently published report which paints a bleak picture regarding how the university has been managed over the past five years. The university's council has acknowledged the report's findings and clarified its planned responsive measures to its allegations. 

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The Council at the University Of South Africa (Unisa) has recently broken its silence, following allegations of poor governance and maladministration at the institution. This comes after an Independent Assessor report into allegations of maladministration and tender irregularities recommended that the university be placed under administration.

While Unisa has stated that they are yet to issue a formal response to the report, the university’s Council admitted that although there may be serious operational and governance challenges, the institution is not in a state of collapse.

The university has serious governance and operational challenges, however, it is far from collapsing or being a university in chaos.

Council added that the allegations made against any of its implicated officials will be addressed through relevant internal processes in accordance with the country's legal system.

Why Unisa was investigated

Commissioned by Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, the report’s findings detailed various issues regarding the state of governance at the institution including the performance of management, financial management, upgrades to the vice-chancellor's home, claims of intimidation and bullying in relation to labour disputes.

So far two council members, Belinda Mapongwana, chair of the council's social and ethics committee and Sedzani Mudau have resigned since the report was released. Unisa also stated that they are working towards addressing their financial sustainability issues.

“Efforts are underway to address the long-term financial sustainability of the university and as a result, MANCOM has already approved the university’s financial sustainability strategy of the university which will guide the university’s efforts to secure the future of Unisa in the long-term”

The council further stated that the university has seen significant growth and improvement over the past five years and that it still enrols a large portion of the country’s population. 

“Unisa attracts over a million applications per year, and at 345 000 provisional enrolments in 2022, Unisa enrols over 33% of all public Higher Education enrolments in South Africa.” the council added

The revelations in this report have raised serious concerns among academics about the governance and management practices at Unisa, one of South Africa's leading higher education institutions. 

Professor Emeritus of Law at Unisa, Prof Barney Pityana went on to say that there needs to be thorough hallowing out of any official implicated in wrongdoing, as the report’s findings shed light on everything that is currently wrong with the institution. The professor further suggested that the university's council must be dissolved.  

Meanwhile, the university has appealed for patience while it prepares a comprehensive to the Assessor’s report.


Suggested Article:

Unisa currently under investigaton.

Problems at Unisa continue, as the Minister of Higher Education is still deciding on the steps forward. The institution's Vice Chancellor and it's Council have been under intense scrutiny lately, with some calling for both parties to be removed. 

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