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Court orders Nzimande to withdraw Unisa administration notice

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The High Court in Pretoria has ordered the minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande to withdraw his notice of intention to place the University of South Africa under administration (Unisa).

The court interdict comes as the Minister was due to hold a media briefing on Friday morning to announce his final decision on the embattled institution’s fate.

This follows reports by an independent assessor which revealed pressing financial and maladministration issues and far-reaching efforts to undermine the effective functioning of Unisa.

It’s been a few months of uncertainty between the University of South Africa and the Department of Higher Education. In June, former Unisa Registrar, Prof Steward Mothata brought an application to deem Unisa’s council unconstitutional following the resignation of several members.

An independent assessment and report were compiled which found several incidents of mismanagement and financial irregularities at the institution.

Department of Higher Education Spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi explains, “Minister Nzimande’s intention to place Unisa under Administration follows the reports of an Independent Assessor, Professor Themba Mosia and the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) on Unisa Chaired by Dr Vincent Maphai. As expressed in previous media statements, the Minister is satisfied that the Independent Assessor’s report reveals financial and other maladministration of a serious nature and serious undermining of the effective functioning of Unisa. The report also reveals that the appointment of an administrator is in the best interest of UNISA and of the higher education sector in general.”

No representation made

On Thursday, the Minister said he delayed the period for representation to September 4th on mutual agreement
However, no representation was made on why the institution shouldn’t be placed under administration.

The University is adamant that the report is fundamentally flawed and recommendations misplaced, claiming the intention to place the university under administration is premature and irrational.

The institution approached the court to halt the Minister’s intention and on Friday, it was granted the interdict.

However, the workers union, Nehawu supports the Minister’s decision.

“Nehawu in the Gauteng province fully supports the decision of the Minister of Higher Education to send a notice to the university council, Unisa, and the Vice Chancellor that intends to inform them of their intention to put an institution under administration. As a union, we have been at the forefront of efforts to end maladministration, poor governance, and indeed, what we would perceive as corruption, and dictatorship that has been prevalent in the institution. We fully support the decision to put that institution under administration.”

With the end of the academic year-end looming, there were also concerns that the decision to place the university under administration could impact students negatively.

Source: SABC News

Photo: GCIS

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