On 2 January 2004, theUniversity of Pretoria officially incorporated the Mamelodi Campus of the erstwhile Vista University as per national government's restructuring of the higher education landscape. This followed the announcement of Prof Kader Asmal, Minister of Education at that time on 24 June 2002. The incorporation followed a year-long consultation process through theme committees, comprising staff members of both institutions.
In terms of the Higher Education Act, the incorporation meant that all the assets, liabilities and obligations of Vista University's Mamelodi Campus were transferred to the University of Pretoria. This included all Vista staff with their existing conditions of service. At the time of the incorporation, the Mamelodi Campus had approximately 123 full-time permanent and 14 contractual staff members.
In accordance with the incorporation process, guided by governmental decree, the staff became part of the University's relevant academic and support service departments. Several training sessions were conducted to enable the Mamelodi staff to find their feet in their new institutional environment.
Apart from the physical assets and staff, the University also inherited the students enrolled at the former Mamelodi campus of Vista University. According to the Act and the incorporation guidelines, these students are considered "pipeline students", who have to be allowed to complete their academic programmes and graduate with an endorsed UP degree certificate, indicating that they followed the Vista curriculum.
To implement this prescript, the University of Pretoria had to rationalise the academic programmes for which new students would be allowed to register at the Mamelodi Campus in 2004. It was decided to continue with some of the viable undergraduate programmes offered at the Mamelodi Campus for the pipeline students in 2004, while not admitting any new students to these programmes in 2005. A new set of UP programmes was developed for the faculties of Humanities, Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Economic and Management Sciences. The LLB programme offered by the Faculty of Law on the Mamelodi Campus was discontinued. A limited intake was allowed to register for postgraduate courses at the campus in 2004.
The University of Pretoria's Senate, by way of a Special Senate Committee tasked with academic issues for the Mamelodi Campus, processed and approved the new programmes to be offered on the campus from 2004 onwards.
The University engaged with student structures to ensure the smooth integration of the Mamelodi student structures into the greater University of Pretoria student governance structures. Thus, the University Council agreed to allow student organisations to discuss and develop an appropriate student governance structure in 2005 that would suit the University's students and best serve their interests.
Furthermore, the University invested enormous amounts of resources to improve the IT infrastructure on the Mamelodi Campus for both students and staff. All student IT laboratories were refitted with state-of-the-art computers. Those used by academic and support service staff were also upgraded.
In an attempt to reach out to the Mamelodi community and initiate dialogue regarding the resource the campus represents to the community, a meeting was set up with community leaders identified by the University Council. The meeting presented a successful contact point and plans are afoot to formalise the interaction to enable the local community to be a part of, and involved in the University.