It’s a campaign to discredit Unisa, says Dean Dr Olwethu Sipuka after negative publicity

By Thabo Makwakwa Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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DURBAN - Unisa’s Dean of Student Affairs, Dr Olwethu Sipuka, said that despite the negative publicity the university has been subjected to, the 148-year-old institution was prepared to continue with its historic journey to serve the marginalised groups.

Sipuka was speaking to the Daily News on Tuesday in support of the institution’s principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Puleng Lenka-Bula, who had to publicly defend the integrity of the university’s qualification after reports questioning the quality of its qualifications and the quality of scholarship and research at the university.

Asked about the accuracy of the reports, Sipuka defended the institution.

“There is a campaign seeking to discredit the university. The claims made are false and without any basis. The accreditation bodies from Engineering and all other aspects of the university have accredited the university and thus our qualifications are as valid as those of Harvard,” said Sipuka.

On the Ministerial Task Team report commissioned by Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Blade Nzimande to probe the institution’s financial impropriety and mismanagement, lack of good governance, and failure to safeguard the academic future of the institution as well as the prosecution of individuals who have conducted themselves improperly, he said the university had not formally received the report.

“This is the Ministerial Task Team report which paints a picture of members of the Council seeking to micromanage the university. The report says Council should be dissolved and an administrator appointed and the vice-chancellor will have to report to the administrator.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Unisa reassured its students and the global community and said it would continue to produce illustrious graduates who would go on to become thought leaders, and successful local and global leaders of the public, private and civil society sectors.

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