Unisa To Be Placed Under Administration Following Investigation


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South Africa's largest university is set to be placed under administration. The Department of Higher Education revealed their intentions to place the institution under administration after considering all the findings in an independent report. 


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The University of South Africa (Unisa) is set to be placed under administration and institutions board are set to be dissolved. Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande announced his intention to appoint an administrator due to adverse findings made in an independent report.

Maladministration, poor financial management and an inept administration that disregards procurement processes were just some of the concerning findings made by Professor Themba Mosia in their independent report. Mosia’s scathing 300-page report was submitted to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) earlier this year. 

Upon receipt of the report, Nzimande said they would have to consider its findings before deciding whether or not to place the country’s largest university under administration. The minister's intentions were revealed on Monday in a letter. 

Minister Nzimande intends to exercise his powers in terms of Section 49B of the Higher Education Act, 101 of 1997, which empowers him to appoint an administrator. In terms of Section 49E of the Higher Education Act, the Council of UNISA will be dissolved upon the appointment of an administrator.

The minister explained the findings made by Professor Mosia and the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) on Unisa, Chaired by Dr Vincent Maphai, drove his decision. They explained that the findings made in the report reveal financial and other maladministration of a serious nature that have significantly impacted Unisa's operational efficiency.

The Report reveals that the appointment of an administrator is in the best interest of Unisa and of higher education in an open and democratic society.

Nzimande believes that the appointment of an administrator is crucial to ensure Unisa's optimal functioning and its continued contribution to higher education in South Africa. The MTT conducted a thorough review of Unisa's "mission drift," assessing its financial sustainability and readiness for the challenges posed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Unisa’s Council now has an opportunity to make written representations to the minister. These representations must be submitted within seven days of receiving the Nzimande’s letter. 

Prior to the Minister's decision, Nzimande said they would have to consider all the findings detailed in the report and that the report would be released to the public in due time. It is expected that the full report will be in the public domain soon. 

Unisa Vice Chancellor Puleng LenkaBula questioned the objectivity of Mosia’s report. This as Mosia previously served as Unisa’s principal.  

LenkaBula expressed their disappointment at several aspects of the report and called on individuals with information on alleged corruption or maladministration at Unisa to report it to relevant law enforcement agencies rather than spreading unsubstantiated information. 

Unisa's Response

Unisa has acknowledged receipt of Nzimande's letter and is in the process of responding to the Minister's communication.

In the meantime, Unisa's management is urging staff members and students to continue with their job responsibilities and studies as usual. The university emphasises the importance of individual and collective commitment to ensure the smooth continuation of academic activities, including teaching, research, innovation, and student support.

The university promises to keep everyone informed about the unfolding situation and appreciates ongoing support.

 

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