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Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) was established when the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande in terms of section 20 of the Higher Education Act 1997 (Act 101 of 1997), promulgated the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) in the SA Government Gazette no: 37658 of 16 May 2014.


The promulgation followed the announcement made in 2011, by Minister Nzimande, when he announced his intention to separate the Medunsa Campus from the University of Limpopo. The minister’s intention was based on the findings and recommendations of the task team that was established and led by Prof Malegapuru Makgoba, former Vice-Chancellor of University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) and Dr Max Price, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Cape Town (UCT).


In developing a vision for the university, the institution acknowledges a number of critical aspects which give the institution its identity. These include a focus on excellence in teaching and learning, developing research and innovation, combining clinical practice and community service and focus on a broad range of fields in the health sciences. The university also has a critical role in contributing to the transformation of the health sciences sector in South Africa while at the same time making a meaningful contribution to the needs of the community it serves and South Africa as a whole.

With these components in mind, the institution has adopted as its vision the following: Transforming health services through excellence and innovation


The mission statement highlights that the institution provides a comprehensive range of qualifications across a broad range of health sciences fields. The mission also highlights that the institution combines excellence in teaching and learning with a focus on research and innovation with community engagement at the centre of its approach to all that it does.

The mission statement of the institution is as follows: SMU is a dedicated health sciences university providing professional training and education in a range of fields through excellence in teaching, learning, innovative research and community engagement.


The university acknowledges that institutional values which are adopted and lived by the entire university community can make a substantial contribution to the culture of the institution and the alignment of the objectives of all stakeholders. Our institutional values are fundamental principles and guide our behaviours and actions every day.
The values of the institution are as follows:

• Accountability: We are obliged to answer for the execution of our responsibilities. Accountability cannot be delegated, whereas responsibility can be delegated without abdicating accountability.
• Effective leadership: we are results-driven and focus on achieving strategic objectives and positive outcomes.
• Efficiency: We pledge to be efficient stewards of the resources entrusted to our care to ensure maximum benefit for the university.
• Excellence: Performance excellence in the core and operational functions of the university.
• Integrity: We act with integrity in accordance with the highest academic, professional, and ethical standards.
• Respect: We respect and honour the dignity of each person, embrace civil discourse, and foster a diverse, inclusive, and safe community.
• Student centred: Promoting student-centeredness as the heart of the academic enterprise.
• Ubuntu: ubuntu encompasses respect, dignity, value, acceptance, sharing, co-responsibility, humaneness, social justice, fairness, personhood, morality, group solidarity, compassion, conciliation, et cetera.