Dr. Blade Nzimande, minister of higher education, science and innovations, has written a letter to the University of South Africa (Unisa) about his intention to place the institution under administration.
He addressed the letter to James Maboa, the board chairman of Unisa.
Nzimande intends to appoint an administrator at Unisa in terms of legislation that empowers him to do so. Pursuant to this legislation, the council of Unisa will be dissolved with the appointment of an administrator.
According to Ishmael Mnisi, ministerial spokesperson, Nzimande’s decision follows reports compiled by an independent assessor, prof. Themba Mosia, as well as the ministerial task force on Unisa chaired by dr. Vincent Maphai.
“Few. Nzimande is of the opinion that the independent assessor’s report reveals financial and other maladministration of a serious nature and that this affects the efficient functioning of the university,” says Mnisi.
“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.”
The ministerial task force conducted an independent review of Unisa’s deviation from its mandate; this has shown huge consequences for the financial sustainability and future of the university.
“The task force also carried out a rigorous assessment of how the fourth industrial revolution, as well as the accompanying disruptions and changes, will affect the academic objective, programmes, markets and operating model of Unisa.”
Unisa’s council has seven days to respond in writing to the minister’s letter.