Students set to march to protest affects of blacklistings

Thomas McLachlan

Thomas McLachlan

Youth organisations are today marching against financial institutions, tertiary education providers and retailers for "blacklisting students" for unpaid student loans.

"We call for amnesty for all those blacklisted," a statement on the South African Student Congress' (Sasco) website read.

It announced an organised march to the National Credit Regulator in Johannesburg, where it would hand over a memorandum requiring changes to be made to a draft section of the National Credit Act.

The regulator said it was aware of the march and it was awaiting a memorandum from the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) with its proposals.

"Blacklisting is hindering the progress of young people when they exit the tertiary institutions, but don't get a job, they can't repay their student loans, and get blacklisted . they then can't get a loan. This constrains the youth," said ANCYL secretary general Sihle Zikalala.

According to Sasco's website, the march would challenge the retail sector and higher education institutions "that blacklist those of us who can't meet the exorbitant fees demanded for education".

Zikalala said the ANCYL had compiled a study on the effect blacklisting was having on graduates, but said he could not release the information just yet.

"We have handed this information to TransUnion," he said.

TransUnion ITC, an independent credit bureau, said it had received no such document and would not be present at the morning's march.

"We recommended that they hand their memorandum to the National Credit Regulator as it represented the entire industry," the company's spokesman said.