The Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of South Africa (UNISA) is threatening to go to court over the institution’s delay in accepting thousands of students for the 2021 academic year.
This is despite a court ruling in March that set aside the decision by the Higher Education Minister to cut the intake of first time entering students by 20 000.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Student Command and the Black Lawyers Association Student Chapter took the University and Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, to court over the decision.
The university, which has blamed the chaos on over-enrollment, is yet to indicate its plans to address the issue.
The SRC has since embarked on a number of protests, including an online strike, but has not been able to disrupt academic activities already in full swing.
SRC Chairperson, Inga Ketwa, says they are disappointed by the university’s failure to comply with the court judgment.
“So, now we are surprised when we see the institution not complying with the court judgement and we view this as a serious undermining, very disrespectful way of approaching things. It’s disrespecting our justice system.”
Despite several engagements between student representative bodies and university management, Ketwa says they are now considering going back to court.
“We have tried to shut down campuses, physically, (and) so, it has not been effective. So, we’re left with no other choice, but to seek a legal route. But of course, a legal route is draining. So, we are still exploring that. On Friday, higher education officials told parliament the minister was seeking legal counsel on the matter after receiving a copy of the judgment on April 6th. The university was not available for comment,” says Ketwa.
Nomvelo Zulu has been in Pretoria since February hoping to finally start with her Law degree after completing a higher certificate in 2020.
Although not a first time entering student, the decision to limit the new intake seems to have affected her too. She visits the Sunnyside campus daily, hoping for better news. But her hopes are slowly fading.
“I was wearing size 35, but now I’m wearing 32. I’ve been here since February to try and to have the offer. It’s very difficult for me because I’m paying for myself. In my heart, I do have room for disappointment. It’s now May, and you would also lose hope if you were me.”
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