President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday plans to build a new University of Science and Innovation in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg.
This is a victory for Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, who had been lobbying government for the establishment of the university since he took office.
“Ekurhuleni is the only metro in our country that does not have a university. This will enable young people in that metro to be trained in high-impact and cutting edge technological innovation for current and future industries,” Ramaphosa said in his state of the nation address (Sona).
Ramaphosa did not give timelines on when construction was expected to start or when it was expected to open its doors to students. Its addition will take up the number of South African universities to a total of 27 across the country.
During his state of the city address last year, Masina explained that the idea of the university followed a feasibility study for the institution to be located in his municipality.
It is expected to specialize in areas like engineering, tourism, aviation, science, and tourism.
He said at the time that his municipality was lobbying the national government to make the idea a reality.
“So far, we have reached a common understanding with the Department of Higher Education and Training and have an in-principle agreement that this university can be established.
“We are still negotiating modalities of what shape and form it will take and over what period will it come to life,” Masina was quoted saying at the time.