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In 1996 the University Education Committee and the University Technikon Education Collaboration Committee merged and were tasked to pursue the establishment of a University in the Province by the former MEC for Education, Mr D D Mabuza. The National Institute for Higher Education (Mpumalanga), established in 2006, under the leadership of the late Prof C C Mokadi coordinated the provision of Higher Education in the province. An important milestone was the decision taken at the African National Congress’s National General Council meeting held in eThekwini (Durban) in 2010 which resolved to establish two new universities. This decision was instrumental in facilitating for the establishment of a university in the Mpumalanga Province.
In 2010, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr B E Nzimande, appointed two task teams to investigate the feasibility of establishing new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. The Mpumalanga task team which submitted a favourable report in September 2011, recommending the establishment of a new University in Mpumalanga was led by Prof T Z Mthembu.
In July 2013, the State President, Honourable Mr J G Zuma, announced the name of the new university as the “University of Mpumalanga” as well as the names of the members of the Interim Council to oversee its formal establishment. The University of Mpumalanga, a comprehensive university, was formally and legally promulgated through the publication of Government Notice (No. 36772) on 22 August 2013 and launched on the 31st of October 2013. The Interim Council appointed the Strategic Management Team which managed the day to day operations of the university.
The inaugural students were enrolled in February 2014 in the following programmes:
- Bachelor of Education ( Foundation Phase Teaching )
- Diploma in Hospitality Management
- Bachelor of Agriculture (Agricultural Extension)
The University Council was inaugurated on the 14th of August 2014. The Registrar of the University was appointed on 01 August 2014 followed by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Planning and Institutional Support) who were appointed on 01 October 2014. The Vice Chancellor, Prof T V Mayekiso, appointed on
01 November 2014.. The Students Representative Council was elected in December 2014.
Two additional programmes have been introduced in 2015:
- Diploma in Agriculture ( Plant Production )
- Diploma in Information Communication Technology ( Application Development )
The Lowveld College of Agriculture was formally incorporated into the UMP on the 01st of January 2015.
The University is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years, once the infrastructure has been fully developed.