The South African Students Congress (Sasco) has called for a national shutdown of all institutions of higher learning on Monday. This is part of the student’s ongoing protest over financial exclusion.
Meanwhile, the South African Union of Students (SAUS) says Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande failed to respond to their memorandum whose deadline was at 5pm on Friday.
In the memorandum, they had outlined a list of student’s demands including clearing of historical debt for all students, that registration for all first-year students be allowed to proceed, while the government is still sorting out the funding challenges.
They also want a 0% increase for the 2021 academic year.
Sasco President Bamanye Matiwane says it’s all-systems-go for the national shutdown.
“As from tomorrow [Monday], we have delegated all our soldiers to the ground. They have a responsibility to close all campuses. The demands are clear, no student must pay any registration money. NSFAS must give students their allowances. The government must clear all student debt. We are expecting every campus that is open that it must be closed.”
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr. Blade Nzimande has announced that Cabinet took a decision that funding would have to be reprioritised to address the National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding shortfall.
The protests by Wits University students have once again highlighted the exclusion of many students from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Students flocked from different provinces to further their studies at Wits University but those from poor backgrounds with no funding are highly disadvantaged.
This is a reality for thousands of students like first-year student Matshidiso Nchupetsang from the North West capital, Mahikeng.
The past week has been eventful in the streets of Johannesburg with students up in arms about what they call the financial exclusion of poor students.
The students marched in Johannesburg. They’re protesting because the university is refusing to register some students with outstanding debt. The students have blockaded streets.
University students vow to continue with protest action:
This week, Wits University said it has made several attempts to meet with the leadership of the SRC and still willing to engage with them to resolve their differences.
Students vow to continue striking if demands are not met:
The protests form part of countrywide student demonstrations against financial exclusion which led to the death of civilian, Mthokozisi Ntumba, in Braamfontein.
UJ, Wits students stand in solidarity
-Additional reporting by Tebogo Phakedi