James Masango MPL
Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition.
The DA notes the announcement by President Jacob Zuma that the seat and main campus for the university in Mpumalanga will be at the Lowveld Agricultural College, and can’t help but think that the rest of the province will be highly disappointed by the decision.
How the decision was reached to locate the university in Nelspruit will never be known, as neither the ministerial report nor the task team recommendations were ever made public, or put up for public discussion. Furthermore, government did not once make the university’s location a topic for public consultation, nor did it invite submissions from stakeholders, business chambers and other interest groups.
The province is still in the dark over the academic offering of the proposed university, nor the composition of it. All that has been said is that there will be satellite campuses across the province, but not where they would be located, or what they would offer. The question of accreditation and management have not been addressed either, with absolutely no mention of how the FET colleges will fit into the tertiary education puzzle.
The only thing the provincial government managed throughout the entire university issue was to cloud the waters with premature announcements and rumours, while hiding behind the excuse of it being a national competency, and that higher education minister Dr Blade Nzimande would make an announcement in due course.
While we welcome the fact that Mpumalanga will at last have the opportunity for tertiary education, we can only but wonder if it will ever rise above the controversy and obfuscation that led to its inception. Only time will tell.