Unisa Slams Administration Decision Saying It's Misguided & Insensitive

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This week saw the announcement of Unisa being placed under administration after a back and forth between the university and the Higher Education Minister. Unisa has now slammed the Minister's decision.

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The University of South Africa (Unisa) has been placed under administration for 2 years by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande. The administration officially commenced on 27 October.

Professor Ihron Rensburg has been appointed as the Administrator who will then report to the department in writing on a biannual basis. Nzimande also made the decision to dissolve the University Council.

Mametlwe Sebei, who is a lecturer in the Jurisprudence Department at Unisa, has written to request that this decision be reversed. In explaining why, he said:

The Minister's decision is not only completely wrong but clearly misguided in law because the Minister seems to be under the impression that his application for a leave to appeal the judgement handed against him on the 6th of October, that that leave has an effect of suspending the operation of that interdict.

Unisa strongly disagrees with the minister's decision, citing a recent court order which had initially prevented the Minister from placing the institution under administration. 

The university remains firm on the view that the Minister's announcement is premature and in contempt of the Court Order of 06 October 2023 by Justice Kooverjie, that interdicted him from placing the university under administration.

Sebei alleges that there was no notice given and that this goes against the Higher Education Act and that the Minister is in contempt of the court. 

In response to the Minister's decision, the university has taken the matter to court on an urgent basis, seeking to challenge the announcement made on 27 October 2023. The university will provide further updates to its community as the legal process unfolds.

What does Unisa being placed under administration mean?

The Administrator's role will involve taking over the council's responsibilities and managing the university for the specified period. This includes initiating processes to restore proper governance, developing a turnaround plan to address identified problems, conducting a forensic audit to address financial irregularities, and ensuring a review of the university's statute and policies. 

Additionally, the focus will shift towards enhancing Unisa's performance as a Open Distance e-Learning institution, supporting student success, and reconstituting the council with probity assessments for potential members.

Sebei and the Student Representative Council (SRC) at Unisa has said that it's been seen that institutions placed under administration come out of the administration period being worse.

Suggested Article:

minister blade nzimande at unisa conference

South Africa’s largest university was set to be placed under administration last week. However, legal action launched by the institution's council prevented this from happening much to the concern of Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.

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