From 2002 to 2005, the South African higher education landscape underwent an extensive merger and incorporation process to bring about a more equitable dispensation to meet the requirements of a fast-developing, new democratic nation.
The existing thirty-six universities and “technikons” were merged in various ways to produce twenty-three universities in three categories:
- Traditional academic universities
- Comprehensive universities (which offer both academic and technological qualifications)
- Universities of Technology.
As one of six comprehensive universities in South Africa, WSU has positioned itself as a developmental university focusing on urban renewal and rural development.
It may be characterised as scientific, technological, innovative and responsive to local community needs, the requirements of commerce and industry and the socio-economic niche areas of national government.
WSU is uniquely positioned to play a powerful role in the national government’s new focus on rural development in particular.
Over 24,000 students and about 2,500 staff live and work across four campuses with 13 delivery sites in Mthatha, Butterworth, Buffalo City (East London) and Queenstown.