Department Provides Update On South Africa’s Two New Universities


The establishment of two new universities in South Africa's higher education sector promises to serve a dual purpose. Catering to the demands of industries requiring highly skilled professionals, while simultaneously enriching society by producing educated individuals capable of addressing societal needs.



In his State of the Nation Address in February 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the establishment of two new universities in South Africa. This would take the counrty's amount of universities to 28 upon completion of the new institutions. 

The establishment of the University of Policing and Crime Detection and the University of Science and Innovation represents a significant step forward in addressing key educational and societal needs in South Africa. These institutions aim to address critical needs in the country's educational landscape, with one focusing on Science and Innovation in Ekurhuleni and the other on Policing and Crime Detection in Hammanskraal.

Following the announcement, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) initiated a comprehensive feasibility study, divided into two phases, to assess the viability and requirements for the establishment of these institutions. 

The Director General of the DHET approved the appointment of the Project Manager who was part of Phase 1 of the feasibility studies to ensure acceleration of the feasibility process. The Phase 1 feasibility studies were completed in September 2022. The studies recommended further work to be done concerning the infrastructure and academic enterprise including the naming of the university.

Phase 1 was completed in September 2022 and laid the groundwork for further development and decision-making.

Phase 1 Feasibility Studies

The Phase 1 feasibility studies focused on several key areas. One of the main focuses was defining the Vision, Mission, and Academic Mandate of the two new institutions by evaluating the overarching goals and educational objectives of the new institutions.

They also looked at planning for the growth and governance structures during the incubation period. The department also drew important insights from existing educational models, both nationally and internationally. Assessment of the suitability of identified sites for construction and operation was also evaluated as well as projecting the financial implications and sustainability of the proposed universities.

Phase 1 also outlines the proposed academic programmes and qualification mix for each institution.

Key Findings - University of Policing and Crime Detection 

The identified site in Hammanskraal was deemed ideal for the institution, being government-owned with available bulk infrastructure.

The Proposed qualification mix includes certificates, diplomas, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in various fields related to policing and crime detection. Financial projections indicate a deficit and cash flow shortfall for the initial years of operation, requiring significant ad hoc grant funding.

The Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande consulted with the Minister of Police who advised that the Police institution should not be named as a Higher Education College but be a fully-fledged University of Policing and Crime Detection.

Key Findings - University of Science and Innovation

The institution is slated to offer programmes in green energy technologies, technology-driven agro-processing, aerospace engineering, artificial intelligence, and more.

Financial projections suggest a deficit and cash flow shortfall for the initial years, necessitating ad hoc grant funding for sustainability.

In 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the establishment of the university in Ekurhuleni is critical as it is South Africa’s only metropolitan area that does not have a university.

Phase 2 Future Steps

The next phase of development, Phase 2, encompasses four broad areas:

  1. Academic: Finalising programme structures, curriculum development, and faculty recruitment.
  2. Financing: Securing funding sources and financial sustainability measures.
  3. Governance and Administration: Establishing governance structures and administrative frameworks.
  4. Location and Infrastructure: Finalising site development plans and infrastructure requirements.

Ongoing Developments

The Ministry has submitted a Cabinet memo highlighting Phase 1 progress and the need for financial security to proceed with the projects. Concept designs are being finalised as a critical milestone toward project commencement. A work plan for project implementation from 2025 is being developed by the project manager.

Financing remains a challenge, particularly in light of cost containment measures.

Through meticulous planning, collaboration, and resource mobilisation, these institutions aim to contribute to the advancement of science, technology, and public safety in the country.

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