Pretoria — Government has expressed confidence in the consultation process regarding the establishment of two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, with construction expected to start soon.
Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration, Collins Chabane, on Thursday said Cabinet noted the progress made in the planning and development of the universities, including consultation with the public and affected stakeholders.
"Cabinet further noted the intention to promulgate the establishment of the universities by January 2013, which requires publication of the address and therefore that the state-owned land identified for each university has to be committed for the establishment of the universities," Chabane told media following Cabinet's last meeting of the year.
The building of the institutions is aligned with government's policy to expand access to higher education for the growing number of qualifying school-leavers.
However, Chabane said setting up the universities would involve several steps.
"Among other things, you have to do a feasibility study and look at issues like what is going to be taught. We are confident that the amount of consultation which has been made can make it possible for us to gazette the establishment of the universities. Once gazetted, the formal processes will begin where decisions of curriculum are going to be made.
"We still have a bit of a long way to go but the fact that we are gazetting means that the process is picking up and construction will start very soon," he said.
The establishment of the universities was announced by President Jacob Zuma earlier this year in the State of the Nation Address.