Unisa 150th: LenkaBula denies any misconduct as VC, only 'marked improvements'

Ahead of the university's 150th birthday celebrations on Monday, Prof Puleng LenkaBula said the university has markedly improved since she joined in 2021, despite allegations of poor performance and maladministration.

FILE: Unisa Vice-Chancellor Professor Puleng LenkaBula. Picture: @unisa/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The University of South Africa’s (UNISA) Vice-Chancellor (VC), Professor Puleng LenkaBula has denied any claims of misgovernance at the institution, saying the university has markedly improved since she joined in 2021.

She was reflecting on some of the institution's achievements ahead of the 150th birthday celebrations on Monday.

Unisa was founded in 1873, and is one of the world's mega-universities.

However, in recent times, the university has come under the spotlight with allegations of poor performance and maladministration.

There have been allegations that the institution’s finances are being misappropriated, with an independent report finding that the person at the helm is responsible for the mess it finds itself in.

But speaking to Eyewitness News, LekaBula refuted these claims, saying that she found the university in a worse financial state when she joined.

"We had R6 billion reserves and R2 billion savings. And in my tenure the university has raised investments to R15,8 billion.”

LenkaBula also pointed out that the institution's dropout rate had decreased from 40% to 30% over the last two years.

The VC said these were some of the more positive achievements by the university than the negative that she said have been put out in the public.


She said since assuming her role in 2021, the institution has moved up the rankings and is now in the top ten universities in the country.

"When I joined the University of South Africa in almost all the rankings, we were number 13. We are now number 8 or 7 on almost all the rankings. Meaning we are in the top 10”.

Speaking about the celebrations, LenkaBula said Unisa's rich history and achievements over the years continue to make it one of the best higher education institutions in the world.

She described the institution as the grandmother of South Africa's university system, having birthed most of the higher education institutions that currently exist.

"It is a forbearer and has formed universities in South Africa, whether you speak about the University of Cape Town, University of the Free State, Rhodes University, and others."