South Africa is getting a new university for police

In his 2020 State of the Nation Address (Sona), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government will establish a new Crime Detection University in Hammanskraal to improve the quality of general and specialised SAPS investigations.

Expanding on this new university in a recent parliamentary Q&A, minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande said that in terms of the Higher Education Act the institution cannot immediately be established as a university but will instead be opened as a ‘higher education college’.

“A higher education college is an institution that is established by the minister, as an independent institution, to offer a scope and range of qualifications that is defined as relatively narrow, possibly in a specific field, e.g. crime detection, safety and security, and military studies.

“It is likely to have a relatively small student population, e.g. less than 5,000 students when it is fully operational.”

Nzimande said that the college will offer a range of qualifications and skills programmes including higher certificates, advanced certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, undergraduate degrees and postgraduate diplomas accredited through the Council on Higher Education (CHE)

He said that the institution could also offer short skills programmes or occupational programmes accredited through the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).

“Once the college is fully established and it shows potential to grow further and expand, it could then be declared as a university college, under the governance structure of an established university,” he said.


Nzimande said that a project plan has been developed for Ministerial approval to set out the process and deliverables towards the production of a feasibility study for the new college.

He said that the study aims to address a number of critical issues including:

  • The size and shape of the new institution;
  • Its site(s) of establishment, land assembly and spatial framework;
  • Supply and sustainability of required engineering services; environmental sustainability;
  • Socio-economic impact analysis; and the digital technology requirements for a contemporary higher education institution.

“A project management team will be set up to manage the process,” Nzimande said.

“The feasibility study will be undertaken in the current financial year and will determine the timelines for the establishment and development of the institution in line with a costed plan.”

He added that the feasibility study will also determine which disciplines will be taught by the institution.

These could include:

  • Policing and security studies that will develop professional and occupational knowledge;
  • Skills required to bolster capacity in policing;
  • Crime detection and prevention capabilities;
  • Investigative capacity, including the use of forensic methodical approaches and technology, data analytics, criminal and evidentiary law, and investigative practice.

The feasibility study should provide guidance on how this public higher education institution would be differentiated based its mandate and mission, Nzimande said.

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South Africa is getting a new university for police