Corruption Runs Deep At Universities In South Africa


Recent allegations of corruption, fraud, and bad administration have been raised against several institutions of Higher Education. As a result, the government has implemented measures to address these problems.



South Africa’s Higher Education sector has faced many challenges and academics have flagged corruption at universities as one of the factors leading to unstable governance at these institutions.

Over the past few months, the University of South Africa (Unisa) has been under a microscope after an independent investigation report cited several allegations of maladministration and tender irregularities.

The investigations findings further advised that Unisa’s management and council should be "relieved of their duties" and the institution placed under administration.  

Meanwhile, University of Fort Hare is currently being investigated by the SIU on allegations of corruption claims and the admission and acquisition of post-graduate qualifications by several political figures.

Higher Education spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi stressed:

There are instances where corruption has found it’s way into our institutions of learning, and this is a reflection broadly of what is happening within the country.

He explains that corruption takes place in a range of services within institutions from the transporting of students to accommodation and issues relating to the academics as well.  

As a result of this, Minister Blade Nzimande is considering appointing an ombudsman to remedy the situation, noted Mnisi. He added that the minister is considering the appointment of an ombudsman who will then look at issues of governance across the sector.

In addition, the department has also produced guidelines for good corporate governance for all institutions, which clearly articulates what is the role of council and the role of management is within institutions. 

Safety & Security Concerns

Several concerns have also been raised regarding the safety of students and staff at Higher learning institutions, with calls for the department to put measures in place to ensure that universities and TVET colleges have adequate norms and standards for safety and security.

Earlier this year, Nzimande committed to form a national task force that will work with institutions of higher education to improve safety and security.

The departments says that the arrangement of the formation of the task force is currently under consideration and will be announced once consultations have concluded.

At the beginning of this year we held a workshop with all our security protection services in our Universities and TVET colleges to share the experiences that they are having in various institutions, and they then agreed on their approach to deal with issues of Safety and Security.

The department says they are also working with SAPS to deal with some of the crippling security lapses that have been prevalent at institutions.

Suggested Article:

Unisa investigation

Several allegations were made against South Africa’s largest university and its management after an independent assessor was appointed to look into the university's affairs. The institution is set to issue an official response soon as consultations have concluded. 




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