The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) has noted with great concern the contents, findings and recommendations of the Independent Assessor appointed by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology into the University of South Africa (UNISA). SADTU is disturbed by the findings which amply demonstrate the nature and extent of maladministration and poor governance at UNISA.

SADTU is concerned about the plight of the thousands of aspirant educators registered at UNISA as well as many serving educators who study at the institution to improve their qualifications. The biggest concern of SADTU is the effect the state of the university will have as many more persons need the university to improve their qualifications and thus contribute to improving our educational outcomes. UNISA remains the most affordable and accessible university for those keen to join the education sector.

The recent developments which introduce Grade R into the mainstream schooling system and programmes to upgrade the qualifications of Early Childhood Development Practitioners, the majority of whom prefer Unisa because of its accessibility undermines efforts to transform our education system.

SADTU condemns in the strongest terms the acts of corruption, maladministration, and poor governance at Unisa. SADTU is further saddened that a national university is being brought down on its knees with impunity. We remind government that we remain pained by the plight of many of our children who cannot afford university fees whilst university executives are feeding off the hard-earned money of the poor and disenfranchised. The Independent Assessor has made the findings and has called on the government to intervene immediately and take corrective decisive action in the public interest.

The Fees Must Fall movement reminded us of the need to realise the objectives of the Freedom Charter to open the doors of learning. These doors will remain closed if mismanagement and corruption at our universities is allowed to fester.

Having studied the report, SADTU calls upon the Minister of Basic Education to engage with her counterpart to ensure that students including aspirant student educators are protected against this malaise. We remind the Minister of Basic Education that as National Senior Certificate results improve every year, most spaces are needed at universities. What we cannot afford is to have UNISA being mismanaged to the detriment of the entire education sector.

SADTU also calls on the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology to take decisive action as per the recommendations of the Independent Assessor and to approach law enforcement agencies to conduct further investigations where criminal conduct is identified.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat

CONTACT: General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968

                   Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651

                   Secretariat Officer, Xolani Fakude: 071 355 1566

                   Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157