Walter Sisulu University. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
Walter Sisulu University. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH

A lobby group, the Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN), has brought an urgent high court application in Gauteng, to interdict the Council for Higher Education from proceeding with its decision to revoke the accreditation of the Walter Sisulu University’s (WSU’s) law degree.

The court is also being asked for an order compelling the Council for Higher Education and the Law Society of SA (LSSA) to jointly institute "a fair, inclusive and transparent" re-accreditation process for the university’s LLB degree qualification.

The council withdrew WSU’s accreditation to offer LLB degrees in its law faculty, effective from January 2019. This was after the council assessed 21 universities and found that the university’s LLB programme had underqualified lecturers and that its lecture halls were not suitable for use, among other concerns.

WSU has said it would make an effort to submit a new programme for accreditation before the end of 2018.

"We reiterate our view that the Council for Higher Education’s decision to de-accredit the WSU’s LLB programme is harsh and failed to consider the socioeconomic-educational implications of its decision," HETN said in a statement Monday.

The summary withdrawal of the accreditation to the WSU unfairly prejudiced the education rights of the rural poor because the university is a large, multicampus and previously disadvantaged institution that serves the entire Eastern Cape.

HETN said in a statement that it had asked for a formal meeting with the Council for Higher Education in November to discuss the matter, but that its request was ignored. "We accordingly have no further option but to pursue legal action via the high court to obtain justice on the matter," it said.