Dr Allen Grootboom, MPL
DA Northern Cape: Spokesperson for Education
The Democratic Alliance welcomes the establishment of a university in the Northern Cape. However, promises that such a tertiary institution will be up and running by 2014 are not practical nor are they realistic.
Talks and endeavors towards establishing a university in the province have been on the backburner for far too long and there can be no denying that it is time that government moves faster towards this end. There seems, however, to be a lack of understanding as to just how such an institution comes about. A university is not merely vested in a building. Instead, it is a complex institution entailing managerial, administrative, financial and academic processes.
We hope the latest commitment pertaining to a university for the Northern Cape does not simply get used as a lobbying tool to win votes for the ruling party in 2014, especially when considering the province’s history of mixing politics with academia, as was the case with the National Institute of Higher Education. If a reputable tertiary institution is to be established in the Northern Cape, it is important that the right people are put in place to do the groundwork and that proper processes, not least of all supply chain management processes, are adhered to. Trying to bypass due processes in order to meet an unrealistic due date could see us ending up with another white elephant on our hands, as was the case with the mental hospital.
This said, the DA hopes that the university and the building will not become a political tool but will rather endeavor to enrich the minds of the young.