/ 26 March 2024

Damelin, Lyceum College and CityVarsity deregistered

Damelin is one of four colleges that has been deregistered by the department of education.

Hundreds of thousands of students may be stranded after the decision of the department of higher education and training to deregister Damelin, CityVarsity, Icesa City Campus and Lyceum College as private higher learning institutes.

According to a statement posted in the Government Gazette on Friday, the department’s director general, Nkosinathi Sishi, cancelled the registrations because the private institutions had failed to submit audited financial statements since 2020.

Based on the provisions of the Higher Education Act, private tertiary institutions are obliged to submit financial statements to the department as part of the accountability process.

Damelin, CityVarsity, Icesa City Campus and Lyceum College are owned by Educor, the largest private education provider in Southern Africa. It manages 10 educational brands on more than 60 campuses and sites in South Africa and internationally.

The South African Union of Students spokesperson, Asive Dlanjwa, said they believe the decision by the department was in the best interests of students. 

According to the student union, the department has been in the process of deregistering Educor’s private institutions since July 2023 but the final decision was made on Friday.

“These institutions should probably not be reregistered again because there has been no management or governance structure for the last two years to three years, so these institutions have completely failed, they have been given an opportunity to correct and restore the credibility of the institution and have failed,” said Dlanjwa.

In November 2023, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) flagged maladministration at Damelin and its sister colleges (ICESA, Lyceum and Central Technical College) after its non-payment of salaries to employees at campuses nationwide. 

“Damelin, and Educor in general, are denying their employees across the different institutions the opportunity of meeting their spending obligations in their varying manifestation by abusing and disregarding their rights,” Saftu’s spokesperson, Trevor Shaku, said in a statement in December 2023. 

Saftu could not be reached for comment on the recent decision.  

A Damelin student at the Braamfontien campus, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was worried about the future of her education.

“It’s quite a shock, this is my first year so I do not know much about the campus administrative history. For me, Damelin, or private institutions for that matter, have given some students after matric who have not gotten accepted at universities, a safe haven, and now that is gone,” she said.

According to the private institution’s provisions, Students are to be given recourse as well as academic transcripts and it has a responsibility to assist students in their registration process at other higher learning institutions.

The student union is appealing for calm among students and added that the deregistration does not affect students who have already acquired qualifications.

Educor is yet to comment on the matter.