Stalemate on Unisa students' demands

09 January 2019 - 11:42
By Tankiso Makhetha
Student leaders at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in Sunnyside  shut down the campus, leaving hundreds of students who had come for their registrations devastated.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU Student leaders at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in Sunnyside shut down the campus, leaving hundreds of students who had come for their registrations devastated.

The University of South Africa and its student representative council (SRC) have failed to reach an agreement on the demands made by students.

This comes after the SRC shut down all the institution's campuses across South Africa after accusing it of among others allowing students to register for unaccredited qualifications. The student body has, however, made an about-turn on making the university ungovernable should its demands not be met.

Unisa spokesperson Martin Ramotshela said the institution acknowledged that there were unaccredited courses that up-loaded onto its system but those were removed and were in the process of being accredited.

However, he said the institution and the SRC failed to agree on any of the demands made by students.

"The parties did not reach an agreement on any of the issues presented in the memorandum. At the moment, we will engage the student leadership to carve a way forward."

Ramotshela urged returning and prospective students to register online.

On Monday, thousands of students across the country were left frustrated after being told that registration and application processes were halted due to a national shutdown facilitated by the SRC.

Unisa SRC president Wadzanani Mazhetese said they will request an urgent meeting with the SA Qualifications Authority and the Council of Higher Education to resolve the most important demand on their memorandum.

Among the demands, students want Unisa to improve the administration of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

He said they also demanded for students to receive meal vouchers and accommodation. "NSFAS students are getting laptops and not book allowances, so now NSFAS is saying students should choose between the two. We want NSFAS to cater for both," he said.