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Our history

The evolution of the new Unisa

In January 2004, the former Unisa merged with Technikon Southern Africa and incorporated the distance education component of Vista University (Vudec) to form the new Unisa. The merger brought together vast resources and infrastructure, while consolidating the knowledge bases built up over the years by the three former institutions.

Legal establishment: On 1 January 2004, the new Unisa officially came into being through the merger of the former University of South Africa and Technikon Southern Africa with the incorporation of the Vista University Distance Education Campus, Vudec.

Inaugural meeting of the Interim Council: On 5 January 2004, the Interim Council approved the structure of the academic units within the new Unisa, resulting in the creation of five new colleges. 

Official launch: The new Unisa was officially launched on 28 January 2004 at a function attended by 500 guests. The keynote speaker was Prof Kader Asmal, then Minister of Education.

Appointment of the Executive Deans and Executive Directors: These appointments were made with effect on 1 March 2004, followed by the constituting meeting of the Senate, which took place on 31 March 2004. Prof Louis Molamu, Registrar (Academic), was elected Secretary of Senate.

First graduations: The first graduations of the newly merged Unisa took place on 16 April 2004. Approximately 13 800 students graduated at ceremonies held in various towns and cities, including Windhoek, Namibia and Harare, Zimbabwe.

Substantive Council takes office: On 1 July 2004, the Interim Council was dissolved and the substantive Council put in place. Dr Matthews Phosa, Chairperson of the Interim Council, was appointed Chairperson, with Ms Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo as Deputy Chairperson.

Unisa 2015 - An Agenda for Transformation: On 23 July 2004, the substantive Council approved the new vision, mission and value statement for the new institution.

Integrated Institutional Forum: On 16 August 2004, the Institutional Forum held its constituting meeting, and appointed an interim executive committee with Prof Danny Titus as the interim chairperson.

Chancellor elected: In November 2004, the substantive Council announced that Judge President Bernard Ngoepe had been elected as Chancellor-elect of the new Unisa.