First announced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in his February 2020 State of The Nation Address, the university will primarily focus on science, innovation and technology.
Presenting in a parliamentary briefing on Thursday, May 14, 2020, the Department of Higher Education provided planned timelines for the establishment of the new university and includes the following:
- A feasibility study will now be undertaken to establish the nature and scope as well as the location of the new institution in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan by March 2021;
- A plan for the establishment of the new institution, based on the feasibility study, will then be finalised by June 2021;
- Funding for the new institution will be in line with the findings of the feasibility study and the plan must be secured from voted funds from the national fiscus;
- The promulgation of the new institution as a university college in terms of the Higher Education Act, provided funding is secured, should be completed by December 2021;
- The first student intake into the university college is planned for January 2022 – assuming there is some existing infrastructure in which to accommodate students.
The department noted that in terms of the Higher Education Act, the institution cannot be established immediately as a university, but must first list as either a higher education college or a university college.
As a result, the department is also developing a 10-year development plan (2022 – 2032) for the growth of the university college to establish a fully-fledged university. These plans should be finalised by March 2023, it said.
In the time being, the institution will operate as a ‘university college’ under the governance of a selected university (identified in the feasibility study) until it meets the requirements of a fully-fledged university.
Once these requirements are met, it will be declared as an autonomous university (a juristic person in terms of the Higher Education Act) and operate under an independent council.