COSATU urges the Minister for Higher Education and Training to place UNISA under administration

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) urges the Minister for Higher Education and Training, Dr. Blade Nzimande, to urgently place the University of South Africa (UNISA) under administration following recommendations from the Independent Assessor, Professor Themba Mosia. 

UNISA has been occupying media headlines for all the wrong reasons for several years now.  Serious allegations have been raised by workers and consistently by COSATU’s Affiliate, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) at UNISA about corruption by very senior management, nepotism, abuse of office and general mismanagement.  Workers who have blown the whistle on such malfeasance have been victimised and threatened.  Students have long complained about shoddy IT systems and unresponsive academic support making it very difficult for them to thrive and complete their studies.

UNISA is meant to be the backbone of higher education not only in South Africa but for Africa as the leading long-distance university.  Many workers who cannot afford to study fulltime at university look to UNISA to educate and empower themselves, to enhance their career and earning prospects, improve the lives of their families and contribute to the nation’s development.  These dreams are being shattered by a university, funded by workers’ hard-earned taxes, that is being run like a private farm.

UNISA can and must be restored to its rightful place.  The Federation and our militant Affiliate, NEHAWU, urge the Minister to act swiftly and place UNISA under administration as per his powers under the Higher Education Act.  It is critical that a competent administrator of the utmost integrity be appointed.  We have witnessed all too often some dubious administrators have themselves fallen into the temptation of putting their hands into the cookie jar at the expense of the institutions they were tasked to stabilise and set back on a path of good governance.

Key to rebuilding UNISA is for a new management team to be put in place and one that will respect our labour laws and the Public Finance Management Act, to respect collective bargaining and engage with organised labour and workers in good faith, to accelerate the fight against corruption, and place UNISA at the centre of higher education excellence.

Issued by COSATU. For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687