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It is full steam ahead for South Africa’s 10th medical school, which is located at Nelson Mandela University’s Missionvale Campus in Port Elizabeth.

This was announced by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sibongile Muthwa, and follows the approval and registration by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) for the University to offer the MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) qualification.

The SAQA approval was the final step in the lengthy accreditation process in the journey towards Mandela University’s Medical School.  It follows a visit by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and the Council on Higher Education (CHE) a year ago, during which the University's readiness to offer the six-year medical degree was assessed in terms of curriculum, infrastructure, equipment, staff, the necessary student support and agreements with stakeholders.

“It gives me the greatest pleasure to announce that Nelson Mandela University has received the final approval to offer the MBChB in the country’s 10th medical school and the Eastern Cape’s second, with effect from the 2021 academic year,” said Prof Muthwa.

“I wish to extend a hearty word of gratitude and appreciation to everybody in the University community, and beyond, who has played a crucial role in making our dream for a medical school a reality.”

Prof Muthwa said the final accreditation came at a significant time, as our country grapples with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has placed even greater pressure on the health system – even at the cost of losing the lives of colleagues in the health sector.

Having obtained the SAQA registration, the University can officially open applications from 06 January 2021, for its first cohort of students.  They will be the first to study medicine in a unique, community- focused setting using an interprofessional educational approach.

“The collaborative engagements with our colleagues at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and the support we have had from all the other medical schools across the country enabled us to be ready to launch the new, unique medical programme successfully” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, Prof Cheryl Foxcroft.

“We look forward to collaborating with all our partner institutions, provincially and nationally, in producing fit-for-purpose, service oriented and civic-minded medical professionals committed to making a difference in the lives of the disadvantaged”.

Mandela University’s Medical School, which is based at the Missionvale Campus in the heart of the Bay’s townships and close to Dora Nginza and Livingstone hospitals, will serve as a beacon of hope for communities it aims to serve, as well as the Eastern Cape and South Africa at large.

The Medical School is set to enrol its first intake in March 2021, with applications opening on 06 January 2021.

For additional information go to the Medical School website (


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