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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Blade Nzimande Hails The Establishment Of A New University In Ekurhuleni

Charles Molele

Higher Education, Science and Technology minister Blade Nzimande has welcomed the establishment of the new university of science and innovation in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg.

This follows an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his state of the nation address last Thursday, where he also promised to resolve shortage of student accommodation at universities and other institutions of higher learning.

Although a formal name has not been agreed upon yet, an interim name of the OR Tambo University of Science and Innovation was being used.

The curriculum design would focus on engineering, agriculture, logistics, aviation and aerospace studies, as well as design

Ekurhuleni is the only metro in South Africa without a university.  

“We believe that this location, together with fresh new challenges arising from the revolution in science and technology in the third decade of the 21st century, offers an opportunity for a new initiative to provide cutting-edge science and technology innovations across crucial areas such as Data Science, Machine-Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain, Robotics, Hydrogen-powered technologies including smart transportation and logistics systems,” said Nzimande.  

Nzimande said he would outline all the details on the establishment of the University during the upcoming Departmental Budget Vote 2020 later this year. 

Nzimande also welcomed Ramaphosa’s announcement of R64 billion to be set aside for student accommodation.

“We are currently developing large projects comprising of 7 273 new beds at various universities, where there is gross shortage of student accommodation,” said Nzimande. 

Nzimande said that from the 2019/20 Historically Disadvantaged Institutions Development Grant, R147.674 million for the Mangosuthu University of Technology, University of Venda and the Walter Sisulu University recommended allocations will be allocated.

“For the two new universities of Sol Plaatjie and Mpumalanga, 2 331 beds have been funded from the New Universities Infrastructure Grant to the amount of R772.950 million,” said Nzimande.

“We have made strides by commencing the building of nine (9) new TVET colleges campus sites scheduled for completion in 2020. They include Sterkspruit, Aliwal North, Graaff Reneit, Ngungqushe, Umzimkhulu, Greytown, Msinga, Nongoma and Kwagqikazi. Construction will commence with a new campus site for Mitchells Plain in 2020.”

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