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Unisa Placed Under Administration by Minister Nzimande



Unisa Placed Under Administration by Minister Nzimande

Unisa Placed Under Administration by Minister Nzimande. The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, has officially placed the University of South Africa (Unisa) under administration. This significant decision will have a lasting impact on South Africa’s largest university, with the administration period set to last 24 months, commencing on October 27, 2023.

Reasons Behind the Administrative Decision

Minister Nzimande decision is the outcome of a comprehensive evaluation based on two crucial reports: the Independent Assessor report, prepared by Professor Themba Mosia, and the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) report. These reports have highlighted serious concerns regarding Unisa’s governance, administration, quality, and sustainability. These issues have been attributed to management deficiencies within essential support systems and actions taken by the university’s council.

Unisa Reaction to the Decision

Unisa strongly opposes the Minister’s decision and points to a recent court order that initially prevented him from placing the institution under administration. The university argues that the Minister’s announcement is ill-timed and disregards a court order dated October 6, 2023, by Justice Kooverjie, which initially prevented him from initiating the administration.

The university contends that the matter remains pending in court, as demonstrated by Justice Adams’ previous order on August 24, 2023, which required the Minister to refrain from making any decisions until the legal process was completed. Additionally, Unisa expresses its dissatisfaction with the decision’s timing, as students are currently in the midst of final exams, and the university recently celebrated the graduation of over 50,000 students.

In response to Minister Nzimande’s decision, Unisa has taken swift legal action, urgently seeking to contest the announcement made on October 27, 2023. The university is committed to keeping its community informed as the legal process unfolds. Unisa emphasizes its commitment to upholding the country’s legal processes while addressing the Minister’s concerns.

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The Role of the Administrator

Minister Nzimande has appointed Professor Ihron Rensburg as the Administrator for Unisa. Professor Rensburg is a highly regarded academic and university administrator with previous experience as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg. In 2021, he assumed the role of Administrator at the Vaal University of Technology.

Professor Rensburg’s responsibilities will encompass taking control of the council’s duties and overseeing the university during the designated 24-month period. His tasks will include initiating processes to restore proper governance, creating a turnaround plan to address identified issues, conducting a forensic audit to rectify financial irregularities, and overseeing a review of the university’s statutes and policies.

Furthermore, the focus will shift towards improving Unisa’s performance as an Open Distance e-Learning institution, supporting student success, and reconstituting the council with probity assessments for prospective members. Professor Rensburg’s extensive experience and qualifications make him well-suited for the role of Administrator during this critical period in Unisa’s history.

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