Sasco disgusted by universities
Johannesburg - The SA Students' Congress (Sasco) expressed "disgust" on Thursday at the turning away of students by universities.
Sasco president Mbulelo Mandlana said: "We are extremely disgusted by the irresponsible behaviour of turning away students by the University of Johannesburg and Wits University in particular."
He said Sasco structures at UJ and Wits would "turn the screws" in reaction to this "nonsensical behaviour, even if this includes strikes and protests".
To the question of universities having a limit on how many students they could accommodate, Mandlana said the institutions "need to make more of an effort to maximise the extent to which students can be registered".
He claimed some universities would prefer not to admit a student from a disadvantaged background.
"To admit a student who will not pay immediately doesn't go well with cutting costs... they would prefer to take someone who is not on a loan.
"The big five universities, Stellenbosch, Wits, University of Cape Town, and so on... want to keep competitiveness by not sharing in accommodating students who come from a disadvantaged background and who don't pass as convincingly as others."
Mandlana also commented on free education for South Africans.
"We cautiously welcome assertions by the ANC president that this year will result in the incremental introduction of free education for the poor. The ministry of higher education must now answer questions of when and how this will happen," he said.
He said Sasco's 2011 Right to Learn campaign would be officially launched on January 21 with a rally at Stellenbosch University.
Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was expected to address students.
The Right to Learn campaign aims to ensure access to higher education for all potential students, as well as free education.