South Africa

Nzimande serves notice to place Unisa under administration

Unisa

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, has served a notice of his intention to place the University of South Africa (UNISA) under administration.

Nzimande is expected to announce his final decision on Friday.

In August, Nzimande gave the Unisa council seven days to explain why the institution should not be placed under administration.

Decision

Nzimande’s spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi, said Nzimande delayed making his decision on mutual agreement that the written representations be extended to the 4th of September 2023.

“Being mindful of the legal and administrative requirements, the minister awaited the response of the Unisa Council and nothing of substance happened more than a month, instead the council is going about its business as if there is no pending decision to be taken.

“As a result, the minister cannot wait indefinitely without taking a decision,” Mnisi said.

Nzimande’s intention to place the university under administration follows the reports of independent assessor Professor Themba Mosia and the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) on Unisa, Chaired by Dr Vincent Maphai.

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Assessors report

“As expressed in previous media statements, the minister is satisfied the independent assessor’s report reveals financial and other maladministration of a serious nature which affects the effective functioning of Unisa.

“The report also reveals that the appointment of an administrator is in the best interest of Unisa and of higher education in an open and democratic society,” Mnisi said.

Minisi added the Ministerial Task Team conducted an independent review of Unisa’s ‘mission drift’, which had massive implications for the financial sustainability and future of Unisa.

Nzimande’s decision comes after an application brought by the university’s former registrar, Professor Steward Mothata, on 20 June in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to declare the council no longer “properly constituted” after the resignation of several members.

Vice-chancellor Professor Puleng Lenka Bula fired Mothata on 27 June following his suspension for breaching the code of ethics and conduct.

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