UKZN appeals for funders to help students settle R72m historic debt

Protesting students blockaded the main entrances to UKZN's Westville campus recently. Recent violent demonstrations have caused R31m in damage to the institution.
Protesting students blockaded the main entrances to UKZN's Westville campus recently. Recent violent demonstrations have caused R31m in damage to the institution.
Image: Supplied

The University of KwaZulu-Natal's council has implored stakeholders to help 1,435 students settle their R72m historic debt, a portion of which must be paid before they will be allowed to register.

“All stakeholders have been implored to work together to raise the funds required to immediately help these students with payments required prior to registration, and also the funds required to settle their historic debt during the course of the academic year,” the council said on Wednesday. 

The council said the university “could not provide free enrolment to every unfunded student whose annual family income is below R350,000, when even government policy on fully subsidised higher education does not provide such funding”.

The council said it had taken into consideration the “financial and cash flow implications of the concessions that are already in place and resolved that any additional financial clearance concessions would be self-defeating for all concerned”.

“The council also noted and welcomed the student leadership’s commitment towards raising funds for the affected students and their pledge to contribute a portion of the 2020 SRC budget towards this,” the council said.

In recent weeks the university has been plagued by violent protests which included incidents of arson at some of its campuses, as students voiced their anger about the historical debt issue.

Students were required to settle 15% of their historical debt before registering for the new academic year.

Vice-chancellor Nana Poku revealed this week that the violent demonstrations had resulted in R31m in damage to the institution.

Duduzane Zuma reportedly pledged an “undisclosed amount” of money recently to help  students after receiving letters asking for financial assistance.

In a viral video, Zuma can be heard pleading with the students to stop burning buildings.


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