Offers a mix of vocational and
academic programmes that advances freedom,
democracy, equality and human dignity.

Stellenbosch University is a public research university
situated in the town of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Walter Sisulu University is a university of technology
and science located in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa,
which came into existence on 1 July 2005 as a result of a merger
between Border Technikon

Established in 2004 as Vaal University of Technology (VUT),
it originated as a College of Advanced Technical Education (1966-1979)
and was later known as Vaal Triangle Technikon (1979-2003).

The University of Venda is a South African Comprehensive
rural based university,located in Thohoyandou in Limpopo province.

The University of Zululand is the only comprehensive tertiary educational institution
north of the Tugela River in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Tshwane University of Technology is a higher education institution in South Africa
that came into being through a merger of three technikons —
Technikon Northern Gauteng, Technikon North-West and Technikon Pretoria.

The North-West University is a newly merged institution from 1 January 2004
onwards with three campuses at Potchefstroom, Mahikeng and Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


Nelson Mandela University is a South African university
with its main administration in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth.

With more than 28000 students on seven campuses in two cities,
Durban University of Technology (DUT) continues to play an important role
in developing leadership in technology and productive citizenship.

Central University of Technology, Free State or
Central University of Technology is a University of Technology in
Bloemfontein in the Free State province of South Africa.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology, a university in Cape Town, South Africa,
is the only university of Technology in the Western Cape province,.
and is also the largest university in the province, with over 32,000 students.

Founded in 1829, UCT has a proud tradition of academic excellence and
effecting social change and development through its pioneering scholarship,
faculty and students.

The University of Pretoria is a multi-campus public research university in Pretoria,
the administrative and de facto capital of South Africa.

The University of South Africa is the largest university
on the African continent and attracts a third of all
higher education students in South Africa

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,
is a multi-campus South African public research university
situated in the northern areas of central Johannesburg.
It is more commonly known as Wits University.

The University of the Western Cape is a public university
located in the Bellville suburb of Cape Town, South Africa.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal or UKZN is a university with five campuses
in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. It was formed on 1 January 2004
after the merger between the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville.

The University of the Free State is a multi campus public university in Bloemfontein,
the capital of the Free State and the judicial capital of South Africa.

Welcome to USAf

Welcome to USAf - Dr Phethiwe Matutu

Universities South Africa (USAf) is an umbrella body representative of the 26 public universities in SA. USAf endorses a comprehensive and equitable national higher education system that is responsive to the challenges facing South Africa. Through lobbying and advocacy, USAf promotes and facilitates an optimal environment conducive for universities to function effectually and maximally contribute to the social, cultural, and economic advancement of South Africa and its people. It also enables universities to contribute to resolving immense global challenges such as global warming.

USAf’s concomitant value proposition for the South African higher education sector in the next decade is to:

  1. Promote a values-driven academic mission relevance and responsiveness.
  2. Shape and secure the long-term sustainability of the higher education sector.
  3. Strengthen higher education’s capacity to address the challenges of building a just, inclusive democracy through advancing equity, inclusivity, diversity, collectivism, and collaboration.
  4. Build and support effectiveness and efficiency.
  5. Encourage creativity and innovation.
  6. Strengthen sectoral differentiation and articulation. Contribute to shaping an effective post-school education and training sector.
  7. Embrace the new technology moment, good practice, and shared learning.

In the period ending in December 2026, USAf is deploying a three-pronged strategic focus on students, sustainability, and engagement.

Students: This strategic thrust is to optimally enhance the social, intellectual, and emotional development of students while they are at university.  It poses the question: what kinds of institutional culture change are required to achieve this outcome? It also focuses on growing the participation of 18 – 24-year-olds in the system, enhancing the success rates, which, in turn, is tied to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the funding of higher education. Growing student intake also depends on government’s ability to sustain funding of needy students and finding a lasting solution for the students not qualifying for the NSFAS bursaries.  The student focus also includes looking at instability at university campuses and working at finding a lasting solution to this perennial challenge.


Who We Are

Sustainability: USAf’s strategy groups are engaged in or exploring projects in areas that have a bearing on long-term sustainability of the system. Priority projects include looking at government’s subsidy scheme in its totality; addressing inequity in the system; attracting new talent and strengthening staff retention; broad transformation programmes including curriculum renewal while maintaining teaching and learning, research and innovation and administrative infrastructure; and improving technology deployment to improve efficiencies in operations all-round. A key project is to strengthen the role of the universities in building a strong, effective PSET sector and its articulation with the labour market and the economy more generally. USAf continues to engage the Department of Higher Education and Training to ensure a flourishing post-school education and training sector, which includes a focus on growing community education and training colleges. USAf will work with the private higher education providers to ensure the development of a coherent university sector.

Engagement: USAf is preoccupied with ensuring that its member institutions engage with society, the national economy, and global grand challenges.  This is about ensuring that universities are simultaneously embedded in their local contexts, addressing societal challenges in that context while also responding to global grand challenges facing humanity.  This is all about the nature of the knowledge project of universities. While recognising that each institution is unique and that it will devise its own engagement strategy in alignment with the external context in which it is embedded, USAf will facilitate building interconnectedness with other national entities to ensure that national conversations inform universities’ teaching, research, and engagement approaches.

Our Vision

A higher education system that is responsive to South African and global challenges through the growth and development of new cohorts of engaged graduates and through high-quality knowledge production geared towards progressive and inclusive social and economic impact.

Our Mission

To strengthen the capacity, sustainability, and structural form of USAf that supports:

addressing student access, success, and the development of new cohorts of organically engaged graduates;

strengthening the role of the sector in deepening democracy and social cohesion;

building the capacity of South Africa’s higher education system as an internationally competitive system to effectively engage human and social development through its knowledge project;

building the leadership of the sector in the production and dissemination of knowledge through the performance of research and innovation;

strengthening the articulation of the sector with the needs of an inclusive, growing, competitive economy through high-quality, impactful research and innovation;

improving the efficiency and effectiveness of universities; and

addressing the key transformation challenges facing the sector and the society.


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