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Blade Nzimande must withdraw Unisa administration notice, court rules

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande’s notice of intention is in breach of a court order instructing him not to act on the recommendations of the Mosia report until two separate applications challenging it are finalised.
Higher education minister Blade Nzimande’s notice of intention is in breach of a court order instructing him not to act on the recommendations of the Mosia report until two separate applications challenging it are finalised.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered higher education minister Blade Nzimande to withdraw his notice of intention to place the University of South Africa (Unisa) under administration.

This follows an urgent high court application brought by Unisa’s council on Thursday after Nzimande indicated his intention to announce his final decision on Friday.

Nzimande’s spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi, said on Thursday the minister delayed his decision “on mutual agreement that the period for written representations be extended to September 4”.

“Being mindful of the legal and administrative requirements, the minister awaited the response of the Unisa council and nothing of substance happened for more than a month.”

Mnisi said the council had been going about its business as if there was no pending decision.

“The minister cannot wait indefinitely.”

Nzimande’s decision to place Unisa under administration follows reports from independent assessor Prof Themba Mosia and the ministerial task team report on Unisa chaired by Vincent Maphai.

Mnisi said Nzimande was satisfied Mosia’s report revealed financial and other maladministration of a serious nature and serious undermining of the effective functioning of Unisa.

However, Judge Harshila Kooverjie ruled Nzimande’s notice of intention was “in breach” of an order of the court granted by judge Leicester Adams on August 24.

On August 24, Adams ordered Nzimande not to act on the recommendations of the Mosia report until two separate applications challenging it are finalised.

One application was brought by the chair of Unisa’s council James Maboa, who sought an order to interdict Nzimande from appointing an administrator.

In a separate application, vice-chancellor Prof Puleng LenkaBula launched an application for an order to review and set aside Mosia’s report.

Kooverjie ordered Nzimande “to immediately cease and desist from taking any steps to publish and implement the notice or to take any steps of whatever nature to implement the notice”.

“The minister is interdicted from taking any action in respect of his notice and is ordered to pay the costs.”

Council chair Maboa declined to comment.

TimesLIVE

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