College of Law

Unisa alumnus and insourcing champion continues to inspire while soaring to new heights

Ntanto Sindane is a Unisa alumnus best remembered as a champion of insourcing and among Unisa's student leaders who fervently supported the student-led #FeesMustFall and #InsourcingMustFall movements. At his heart lies a passion for the vulnerable.

Sindane was born and raised in Ogies, a small town in the Mpumalanga Highveld. Growing up, he looked up to his father, with whom he had a very close-knit relationship and who was key in nurturing his leadership calibre.

Career and early aspirations


Ntando Sindane

Sindane, determined to become an attorney, began his academic journey by registering for an LLB degree at Unisa in 2012 and completed it in 2016. He elaborates: "When I began my degree, I was set on becoming an attorney. However, I became largely disenchanted with the law, lawyers and the entire legal system during my studies." Much of this disillusionment, he said, was influenced mainly by the #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall movements, which had engulfed the country in 2015/2016. He continued: "I decided not to become a practising lawyer during my LLB studies. After spending some time with academics from the Department of Theology, I decided that after the LLB, I would enrol in a degree in theology, with a particular focus on the scholarship of Black Liberation Theory." Sindane explains that as soon as he finished the LLB degree, he was recruited by the then Dean of the College of Law, Prof Rushiella Songca, to join the College of Law as a student assistant, and thus his career as a law academic took flight.

Between 2017 and 2020, Sindane was employed at the Unisa Department of Mercantile Law. "In that period," he continues, "I wrote and concluded my LLM dissertation. Immediately afterwards, I was recruited by the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS), where I spent three years (2021-2023)." In that period, he enrolled for a PhD at the University of Cape Town. At the end of 2023, he submitted his thesis for examination, he explains: "The submission of my thesis for examination coincided with being recruited by the University of the Western Cape (UWC)." Today, Sindane is a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape's Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence – "presently on the cusp of being conferred a PhD degree," he stated.

Beacon of hope for vulnerable workers

Sindane states that the #FeesmustFall and #RhodesmustFall movements were a much bigger societal problem coinciding with unemployment. At that point, he and other student leaders at the time embarked on an insourcing campaign. "The clarion call was pretty clear: fight for free education, fight for vulnerable black university employees and demand for rapid change in higher education. I was part of a cohort of student leaders who took up this struggle and saw it through until the end," he says. "To date, many institutions, including Unisa, have insourced cleaners, securities staff, garden workers, cafeteria workers, recycling workers and others," he stressed. In addition, Nsidade says insourcing vulnerable workers remains one of his biggest and proudest life achievements and that he will continue to advocate for the vulnerable.

Key priorities in current office

Sindane says that besides advocating for social justice, his other key priorities in his current office are teaching and learning, research and innovation, community engagement and academic citizenship. "In addition," he says, "I am a law teacher who contributes to the scholarly discourse on various law subjects through written texts and other related intellectual formats."

Despite many of his victories in social justice and academia, Sindane remains acutely attentive to most South Africans' socio-economic backgrounds, especially students. He explains: "At the beginning of every semester, I have to empathise with most of them who usually have funding challenges, among others. I have resigned myself to accepting that society will never be fixed until we defeat capitalism."

Encouraging students of his alma mater, Sindane says: "You are in the biggest university on the continent. Getting a qualification at Unisa sets you apart from every graduate in the country. A Unisa qualification speaks to your resilience, endurance, patience, discipline and determination. Good luck and best wishes."

* By Godfrey Madibane, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2024/03/14

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