The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)has suspended its academic activities for this week due to the ongoing dialogue between government and various student representative bodies in the country.
There have been protests at several universities across the country over the exclusion of students with historical debt from registering.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal started its registration for first year students on March 8 and is due to continue until the first of next month.
According to a statement issued by the university, online registration will continue for returning and first year students.
University management says staff and students will be informed about the dates for the re-commencement of the semester.
Earlier, students from the University of Johannesburg a gathered at the Kingsway campus in Auckland Park, amidst a heavy police presence.
A small group of UJ students blockaded several roads outside the SABC headquarters in Auckland Park, with burning tyres and rocks.
UJ student leader Tiego Khoza says, “Students are gathering in numbers. We are anticipating more students and once students start arriving in numbers we will start to move. We have a strategy. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a very repressive institution so I can not reveal that strategy but it is overwhelming. The security build-up is tense, there are police nyalas, private security of UJ is already here so we are expecting a lot. So we are hoping for the best for us and all other institutions across the country and I encourage everyone to please go out and support the students.”
SAUS vows to continue protests until demands are addressed
The South African Union of Students says it won’t rest until all deserving students are admitted to institutions of higher learning.
Student Representative Council leaders from across the country and government representatives held a two-day meeting in Pretoria at the weekend.
SAUS president Mischek Mugabe says Deputy Higher Education Minister, Buti Manamela, was in that meeting.
“We indicated that the solutions they were proposing were not tangible to resolve the issues confronting the students so we are still standing on our 15 demands. One of our demands is that all students must be allowed to register despite them owing because the student debt is at 13 billion and it is affecting every university and student. To demand now that students must pay before they register is not feasible and possible.”
SAUS calls for a national shutdown of all of South Africa’s 26 universities:
UWC clears student debt
Authorities at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) say they have cleared all the students’ debt including the historical one to allow for a smooth registration process.
UWC spokesperson Gasant Abarder says they’re not expecting any protests at the university today.
“At the University of the Western Cape everything is quiet and calm and there is no indication that there will be any participation in the shutdown or protest. Registration has been going down very well so far, ever since we financially cleared all our students including those with outstanding debt.”
Eastern Cape university students heed calls for a national shutdown
Students at Rhodes University in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape have heeded the call for a national shutdown of all institutions of higher learning. Students have closed entrances at the Makhanda campus.
The university’s SRC vice-president, Hlumela Mpiti, says they have extra demands specific to students at Rhodes.
Nelson Mandela University SRC president, Temba Nyikilana, says they are in solidarity with students that have blockaded the entrances to the North and South campuses in Gqeberha which is formerly known as Port Elizabeth.
University of Fort Hare’s SRC president Siphiwo Ngcenge says, “We are saying all historic debts must be cleared. We are saying there must be a concise plan for the middle plan. NSFAS must open an appeal for 2021 because they haven’t responded to appeals for the previous year. The list is endless and the more we remain silent on these matters, the more we allow these forms of injustices to continue.”
UFS students expected to join protests called by SASCO
Students at the University of the Free State are complaining that some students are unable to register while others are awaiting a response from NSFAS.
Twenty four students that were arrested last week, have been released on free bail by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.
The video below is an update on what is happening at UFS: