'Hands off student leaders', Union says

Stand-offs between campus security and students continue. /Sandile Ndlovu
Stand-offs between campus security and students continue. /Sandile Ndlovu

The South African Union of Students has issued a stern warning to vice-chancellors not to suspend student leaders who participate in protests.

The warning came yesterday after allegations that at some universities student representative council members have been threatened with suspension.

Saus spokesperson Thabo Shingange said they had noted "regrettable measures" taken by some vice-chancellors to try and stop protests.

"We are not afraid to run a campaign to unseat any vice-chancellor who suspends SRC members as a means of avoiding accountability and protecting corruption. We will expose them," Shingange said.

Saus announced a national shutdown of public universities on Monday to demand allocation of funds for clearance of student debts and that all students with historical debts be allowed to register, that students be given their academic records and certificates regardless of outstanding tuition fees, among others.

Shingange said minister of higher education and training Blade Nzimande has disregarded the plight of students across the education sector.

Nzimande said as agreed in 2019, all students whether they owe the university or not should be allowed access to their academic records, either for the purpose of pursuing employment opportunities or further study.

"All NSFAS-qualifying students are able to register at all 26 public universities without paying an upfront fee," he said.

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