The PE Technikon has its roots in the country’s oldest art school, the PE Art School founded in 1882. The institution later became the College for Advanced Technical Education (CATE), initially situated in Russell Road, Central. The college moved to Summerstrand in 1974 and became the PE Technikon in 1979. The Teachers’ Training College in Summerstrand was taken over by the Technikon in 1994, becoming known as the College Campus, and the Algoa College of Education became part of the PE Technikon in 2001. Situated in Struandale, approximately 25km away from the Main Campus, this became known as the Algoa Campus.
The PE Technikon expanded to the Southern Cape in 1985 when it took over the College for Foresters, Saasveld from the Department of Forestry. The George Campus expanded in 2001 with the purchase of the Hurteria Building in the centre of the town.
At the time of the merger, PE Technikon had more than 10 000 students. The institution’s last Chancellor was former Speaker of Parliament Dr Frene Ginwala, the last Vice-Chancellor Prof Hennie Snyman, and the last Chair of Council Mr Clive Stanton.