Students embark on university national shutdown

In previous years 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
In previous years 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

The university national shutdown is currently under way at some of the public universities across the country. This is after the South African Union of Students (Saus), student representative presidents and secretary-generals met at the weekend and resolved that they should embark on a national shutdown of all universities until their demands are met.

Saus national spokesperson Thabo Shingange said they had hoped that minister of higher education and training Blade Nzimande would take poor students, students from working-class backgrounds and the South African nation into his confidence by bringing practical solutions that will meaningfully contribute towards enabling access and success for thousands of students who have been left destitute.

“Student issues have been met with arrogance and complete disregard by the minister and his department which has now led us down this particular path. Conversely, we are calling for a solution-driven response to ensure that poor students are not denied access to institutions of higher learning,” Shingange said.

He said as things stand, students from vulnerable and missing-middle backgrounds cannot register due to historic debt.

“Students cannot enter universities due to no walk-in applications, poor students cannot further their postgraduate studies and are sitting at home without funding and thousands of students cannot get meaningful employment because their academic records are withheld by their institutions,” Shingange said.

Shingange said following their meetings they have unanimously resolved that they should defend students against financial and academic exclusion through a national shutdown until Nzimande responds positively to their demands. The universities that are affected so far are Unisa, University of Mpumalanga, Central University of Technology, University of Free State and North West University - Vaal.

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