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South Africa: Nehawu Statement On the Intention By Minister Nzimande to Place Unisa Under Administration

Special Note: Happy 37th Anniversary to COSATU. Formed December 1985

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] welcomes the long overdue announcement by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr. Blade Nzimande of his intention to place the University of South Africa [UNISA] under administration.

The intention by the Minister follows the report by the Independent Assessor, Professor Themba Mosia that had conducted investigations into the affairs of the institution as well as the report by the Ministerial Task Team on UNISA.

The Minister has informed the University Council of his intention to appoint an administrator in terms of Section 49B of the Higher Education Act, 101 of 1997, which empowers him to appoint an administrator.

As NEHAWU, we welcome this pronouncement by the Minister, as we have witnessed the institution besieged by collapse of governance, corruption, maladministration, undermining of collective bargaining, disregard for labour laws and authoritarian management, union bashing, victimisation, harassment, intimidation of employees and violation of recruitment policies.

We welcome the fact that the Minister concurs with the report by the Independent Assessor and has decided to implement the recommendations which amongst others called for the dissolution of the Council of UNISA and put in place an administrator in the institution.

This announcement by the Minister of his intention, provides an opportunity for the restoration of proper governance, administration and management at UNISA in line with its vision of becoming an African University shaping futures in the service of humanity as a centre of knowledge production.

As NEHAWU, we feel vindicated as we have been making a call for the dissolution of the council and consequence management to senior managers of the institution particularly the Vice-Chancellor whose leadership capacity and conduct has been questionable even before the appointment of the Independent Assessor, Prof. Mosia. This call has been informed by inability of the council as dictated by the Higher Education Act as amended to provide leadership and ensure efficient and effective governance by putting management systems that are not easily manipulated and act decisively on wrong doings. We have been fighting for an institutional council that is capable to rise to the occasion and not merely interfering with the management of the institution but focuses to governance to ensure a capable management that can run the institution of UNISA magnitude.

In this regard, we want to assure the university community and South African society that NEHAWU will continue to play its critical role and remain in the forefront in the fight for proper governance and management at UNISA.

Lastly, we are eagerly awaiting for the opportunity to meet with Minister Nzimande very soon in order to affirm our commitment in support of a stable and functional UNISA that is capable to address the societal needs as an asset of our nation, whose existence is to benefit the South African society, the working class and the poor in particular including discussing the strategic way forward for other universities and the imperatives of building an education front as an insurance to the South African vision on education and to the fact that education is a societal issue not merely for institutions or government only.

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