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Unisa ‘vindicated’ by minister’s withdrawal from placing it under administration

Unisa ‘vindicated’ by minister’s withdrawal from placing it under administration. Picture: File

Unisa ‘vindicated’ by minister’s withdrawal from placing it under administration. Picture: File

Published Nov 20, 2023

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Unisa has welcomed Minister of Higher Education and Technology Dr Blade Nzimande’s decision to withdraw the move to place the university under administration.

On Friday, Nzimande withdrew the Government Gazette notice to place Unisa under administration after having appointed an administrator to take over the affairs of the institution.

The withdrawal was confirmed by the department spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi in a press release on Friday.

“The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, has withdrawn the Government Notice No. 4015 published in Government Gazette No. 49582 Vol 700 on 27 October 2023, that announced the decision to appoint an administrator for the University of South Africa,” Mnisi said.

Nzimande’s decision comes amid a court ruling that ordered him to retract the government’s gazette to place the troubled institution under administration.

On Monday, Unisa said it welcomed the minister’s withdrawal and the independence of the courts in the process.

“The University of South Africa notes and welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, published in the government gazette No.497227, which confirms his decision to withdraw the notice published in the government gazette No.49582, which announced the decision to appoint an administrator for the university,” Unisa said.

The embattled university said it felt vindicated by the recent court ruling and the decision by the minister.

“Unisa believes that this decision by the minister, which has been occasioned by the order of the Pretoria High Court of 06 October 2023, is correct and affirms the sacrosanctity of the courts and the rule of law,” it said.

Last month, the minister placed Unisa under administration and appointed former University of Johannesburg vice-chancellor Professor Ihron Rensburg as the administrator.

However, the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, found that the decision to appoint an administrator a was in breach of previous court orders and illegal.

Nzimande acted after an independent panel, led by professor Themba Mosia, flagged incidents of maladministration indicating that Unisa had been plagued by maladministration challenges including instances of corruption and supply chain challenges.

The report also accused the Unisa council and its VC, Prof Puleng LenkaBula, of poor management, maladministration and displaying an authoritarian management style which resulted in the advent of a culture of fear, intimidation and bullying.

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