Red tape at root of student strike

2011-03-03 00:00

LECTURES at the Howard College campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban have been suspended by the university as illegal protests by students continue.

University spokesperson Nomonde Mbadi said damage to property continued yesterday. She added that the student representative council (SRC) has stipulated that negotiations will take place only if the police, who have been monitoring the situation, are asked to leave the campus.

“Management is committed to discussions with students in a peaceful and constructive manner. But we are extremely concerned at the damage and destruction to property and investigations are continuing. Any student found damaging university property will be dealt with in accordance with the university rules,” said Mbadi.

The SRC has called for a media briefing tomorrow.

One of the SRC leaders in the central branch, Simphiwe Mkhize, said he could not delve into the issues that have led to the strike until the briefing.

However, he said, a big frustration for students is the burdensome process involved in acquiring financial aid, which he said has been designed by the university to restrict certain students.

While the National Student Financial Aid Scheme has officials assigned to process applications, Mkhize said, the university also employs people to administer the fund, which ends up prolonging the process.

Another gripe involves what is referred to as the “robot system”, which is designed to monitor the students’ progress. Students who fail are downgraded from green to yellow and then to red, meaning expulsion.

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