Higher Education and Technology Blade Nzimande’s plan to place Unisa under administration suffered another setback after he withdrew the Government Gazette notice informing the public of his intentions.
This followed after a recent bruising court defeat ordering him not to place the university under administration pending separate court applications challenging the report he had relied on for his decision.
Reacting to Nzimande’s decision on Monday, Unisa said: “Unisa believes that this decision by Minister Nzimande, which has been occasioned by the Order of the Pretoria High Court of October 6, 2023, is correct and affirms the sacrosanctity of the courts and the rule of law.”
Without divulging what led to the decision or confirming it was occasioned by the court ruling, Nzimande’s spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi would only say: “The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, has withdrawn the Government Notice No. 4015 published in Government Gazette No. 49582 Vol 700 on 27 October 2023, that announced the decision to appoint an administrator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.”
The Pretoria High Court ordered Nzimande to immediately retract the Government Gazette notice that announced the appointment.
Last month, the minister placed Unisa under administration and appointed former University of Johannesburg vice-chancellor Professor Ihron Rensburg to act as administrator for two years after dissolving Unisa’s council.
The court ruled that Nzimande’s decision was in breach of an order granted by Judge Leicester Adams on August 24, ordering him not to act on the recommendations of independent assessor Prof Themba Mosia’s report until two separate applications challenging it were finalised.
The report had flagged incidents of maladministration indicating that Unisa had been plagued by maladministration.
Nzimande’s response was that he noted the order which related to the decision to publish a Government Gazette on the appointment of an administrator and would study the ruling and decide on the next legal route to take.