Student representatives from the Free State say they will fight tooth and nail to ensure that all deserving students are able to register.
The Central University of Technology (CUT) has suspended academic activities, while at the University of the Free State students are facing registration challenges.
Some students’ academic future remains in limbo as they are facing exclusion due to outstanding fees, while others still await their financial allocations.
To make the situation worse, the Central University of Technology has suspended academic activities to curb tensions relating to the status of the Student Representative Council. Some students say they are now stranded.
“NSFAS doesn’t give me any response so I’m struggling because I come from Clarens and I have to take transport everyday and money is also a problem.”
“I’ve been successfully admitted to study for this year but right now I’m still waiting for NSFAS to reply because when I check my status it says it’s in progress. So that’s what is happening.”
The former SRC of CUT has accused the management of violating students’ rights. The status of the Student Representative Council has lapsed.
Former SRC president Moses Ntonyane explains, “We have requested them from the month of January that they should reconsider the extension of the interim SRC or reappointment of the extension of the interim SRC. So that in the university we have either a substantive or an interim SRC. But they failed to do that 9 days later we to them and say to the management we are without an SRC or student representative at the university and we think you are on the wrong side of the law as the must all material times be a legally recognised body that represents the student.”
Free State SASCO convenor, Asive Dlanjwa, says they will fight for the poor.
“These students you see here, some of them are not going to be funded because the government has withdrawn funding. Institutions are closing their registrations before NSFAS completes their processes. Therefore what is that saying, it says the poor who are waiting to be funded by NSFAS, who have not received their responses, will not be able to register on time. So those who will be able to register are those who can afford it. What the government is doing is sideling students.”
CUT management has dismissed claims that they are not willing to engage with student leaders. Seithati Semenokane is the CUT spokesperson.
“The university initiated the process of finding common ground and proposed that they serve for the next two months after which elections will be held. Instead, student leaders attempted to halt management hostage by demanding them 50% subsidies of the residents and tuition fees to be converted into cash allowances.”
Meanwhile, students from the University of the Free State are also struggling with online registration.
The University’s SRC deputy secretary general Kamohelo Seleke explains, “Now the institution university is not allowing students to register until they have received a complete list from NSFAS -which is something wrong. We, as the SRC, are going to make a proposal to management that they allow students to register without paying the registration fee. Not only students who are on NSFAS even those who are not having any sponsors and their registration will then form part of the tuition fees.”
UFS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Francis Petersen, says the first-year registration period has been extended until next Friday.
“There have been questions and queries from the students and faculties have been engaging with the students. Probably not at the pace witch the students would have liked it to be. But I’m satisfied that the faculties are now dealing with most of those queries in an effective way. There were also challenges with regards to NSFAS and the university is working with NSFAS to resolve the challenges.”
Some students say it’s costly to travel from home to campus without any financial assistance.