The Moses Kotane Institute (MKI) was formed in 2007 as the South African National Liberation Institute of Technology, Philosophy and Political Science (SANLITPPS). It was named after Moses Mauane Kotane – the general secretary of the South African Communist Party, the African National Congress Treasurer and a well-respected self-educated leader who had no formal education, but always believed that economic freedom was attainable by way of education in strategic disciplines.

In 2009, the MKI was formally registered as a non-profit company and since 2018, the institute was relaunched as a Research Institute with the main focus on Research and Development, Maritime, Economics, Innovation and Technology.