Our Purpose and Constitution

Accountable and transparent governance

TENET is a registered short name for the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa NPC.

TENET was created in August 2000 by the public universities of South Africa as the organisational home of, and vehicle for, collaborative inter-networking by universities, science councils and associated support institutions, replacing the then UNINET Project of the then Foundation for Research Development.

TENET was originally incorporated under the Companies Act as a ‘Section 21 Company’ (and was originally called the Tertiary Education Network). Subsequent amendments to the Companies Act and a broadening of our mandate led TENET to re-incorporate as a non-profit company with members. All public universities and science councils qualify to participate in TENET’s governance as members of the company. We are recognised by SARS as a Public Benefit Organisation that is exempt from income tax, and by the Department of Social Development as a Nonprofit Organisation.

TENET holds electronic communications licenses from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) that permit us to build and operate electronic communications networks, including optical fibre networks, and to provide electronic communications services to other parties. We also hold multiple ICASA spectrum licences for specific points of service delivery, primarily to rural areas.

TENET is a founder member of the UbuntuNet Alliance for Research and Education Networking, the regional research and education network organisation for eastern and southern Africa. The Alliance provides TENET with connectivity to many research and education networks of the world.

Board of Directors

TENET is managed by a Board of fourteen Directors, twelve of whom are elected by the members. There are equal numbers of elected Directors from each of three categories: those serving universities; those serving research councils; and independent directors with no affiliation to either a university or a research council. The Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer are appointed by the Board and are also Directors.

Operational control is delegated to the Chief Executive Officer who is supported by three other executive officers, staff members and expert consultants. Most members of staff, including the executive officers, are based at the head office in Wynberg, Cape Town; and a small number of engineering staff members are based in Johannesburg.

Service Provision

TENET provides Internet and related services to several hundred university and research council campuses and enters into a formal service agreement with each of the institutions it services. The "REN Service Agreement" is the master services framework agreement that sets out TENET’s service level obligations, specifies ordering, billing and payment processes, and binds the institutions to compliance with Acceptable Use and Connection policies. We recover the full cost of service delivery through service charges that its Board sets from time to time, as TENET does not receive any subvention of its operating costs from either Government or donors.