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Unisa Placed Under Administration by South African Minister



Unisa Placed Under Administration by South African Minister

Unisa Placed Under Administration by South African Minister. In a significant development, the University of South Africa (Unisa), the country’s largest university, has been placed under administration by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande. This decision follows months of uncertainty and legal disputes that had previously prevented the minister from taking definitive action.

Basis for the Decision

The decision to place Unisa under administration stems from careful consideration of two pivotal reports: the Independent Assessor report conducted by Professor Themba Mosia and the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) report. These reports illuminated serious concerns regarding Unisa’s administration, governance, quality, and sustainability. Management failures within key support systems and the council’s actions were identified as root causes of these issues.

Administrator Responsibilities

Unisa will remain under administration for a 24-month period commencing on October 27, 2023. During this time, the administrator will assume the responsibilities of the council and manage the university. Key tasks include restoring proper governance, formulating a turnaround plan to address identified problems, conducting a forensic audit to rectify financial irregularities, and revising the university’s statutes and policies. Additionally, efforts will be directed towards improving Unisa’s performance as an Open Distance e-Learning institution, supporting student success, and evaluating potential council members through probity assessments.

Unisa Response

Unisa has expressed strong disagreement with the minister’s decision, citing a recent court order that initially barred the minister from placing the institution under administration. The university contends that the minister’s announcement is premature and in contempt of the Court Order issued on October 6, 2023, by Justice Kooverjie, which had prohibited the minister from taking administrative action.

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According to Unisa, the matter is still pending in court, as indicated by Justice Adams’ earlier order on August 24, 2023, which required the minister to refrain from making any decisions until the legal process was complete.

Unisa has criticized the timing of the minister’s announcement, given that students are currently in the midst of examinations. The university pointed out that this decision comes shortly after it celebrated the graduation of over 50,000 students this year. Unisa clarifies that their stance is not against the minister’s authority but rather underscores the importance of adhering to the country’s legal framework.


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 October 27, 2023. Unisa has assured its community that it will provide further updates as the legal process unfolds.

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