Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
16 Apr 2021
10:59 am

Unisa still studying court ruling as 20k first-year students wait in limbo

Siyanda Ndlovu

Unisa accepted 38,000 first-time students, a number that is 20,000 short of what was anticipated.

Students protesting the limits on Unisa's first-year intake. Picture: Jacques Nelles


About 20,000 first-year students at the University of South Africa (Unisa) remain in limbo a month after the North Gauteng High Court set aside the Minister of Higher Education’s decision to cut the university’s first-time intake.

Unisa accepted 38,000 first-time students, a number that is 20,000 short of what was anticipated.

On Friday university spokesperson Tommy Huma told The Citizen the university was still studying the court ruling and will make an announcement once the process is finalised.

“Our legal team will make recommendations and inform the management on the way forward,” Huma said.

ALSO READ: Unisa semester change raises students’ ire

“Any decision on the way forward will be taken with the best interests of the students at heart. Such a decision will also seek to demonstrate our student centredness as a university, as well as our commitment to the ideals encapsulated in the National Development Plan (NDP) and its aspirations to empower young people to improve their lives through education.”

The EFF Student Command and the Black Lawyers Association Student Chapter took the university and Minister of Higher Education Science and Technology Blade Nzimande to court over two decisions.

The first was the reduction of the first-year intake to help ease the burden on the ailing National Student Financial Aid Scheme and the second, a single semester academic year.

This saw students come together to convince the university that a “super semester” would make life harder for students.

In a letter written by the university in January, it said that “all assignment due dates for semester modules in the 2021 academic year will be revised with submission due dates scheduled between May and September”.

AlSO READ: Unisa reduces number of first-time students

“This means students must register for all modules for 2021 [semester 1 and 2 modules, prerequisites, co-requisites, and follow-on modules] before the closing date of 12 March,” reads the letter.

The university’s Veronica McKay could not be reached for comment about how the academic year will be affected.