Students protest over financial scheme

2014-01-27 19:41
(<a href=’https://twitter.com/N_ata6ha’>Natasha</a> via Twitter)

(Natasha via Twitter)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Johannesburg - Universities were hit by protests on Monday as students expressed dissatisfaction over a shortage of funds from the National Student Financial Scheme (NSFAS).

About 100 students were protesting outside the University of Johannesburg's (UJ) Kingsway campus over the shortfalls of the scheme.

Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, deputy vice chancellor: internationalisation, student affairs and institutional advancement, said universities administered funds according to NSFAS guidelines on behalf of NSFAS.

"Unfortunately, it goes without saying that universities can only allocate funds which they received from NSFAS," he said.

"In this case, UJ did not receive sufficient funds to assist all students who qualify for NSFAS funding. We understand the students’ concern and recognise their problem."

He said in order to be able to accommodate the 7 800 qualifying students on the NSFAS loan at UJ, the university had to add R30m from its own coffers.

"Unfortunately, for 2 170 qualifying students [who would need R113m] NSFAS has not provided funding. The university is currently in discussion with the NSFAS office and the department of higher education," he said.

Maluleke said UJ management would continue to seek an urgent and lasting solution to the problem.

Mangosuthu University of Technology, in Durban, was also hit by protests that led to disruptions of lectures.

Students’ demands

Protesting students were demanding to be re-registered despite unpaid student fees. The unpaid fees related to students funded by NSFAS.

"This year, the university has received a grant amounting to R167 512 494 from NSFAS, only 6% more [than] last year's grant.

"This is a challenge because even last year NSFAS could only fund 20% of first-year students. This is beyond the control of the university because NSFAS is an external and autonomous body in its own right," she said.

NSFAS had not paid last year's fees for some students, Mkhize said.

She said the institution would communicate with NSFAS and the higher education department to resolve the issue.

Lectures were stopped on Monday, but Mkhize said security had been beefed up and she expected lectures to resume on Tuesday.

Classes cancelled

Durban University of Technology experienced similar scenes, as protesting students pulled others out of lecture rooms.

Students Representative Council president Ayanda Ngidi said a meeting with the university's executive on Monday revealed that the management had failed to act on any of its demands.

Students presented their grievances to Vice Chancellor Ahmed Bawa last Wednesday.

"They didn't even attend to one issue," Ngidi said, adding that the students had embarked on a full-blown strike.

DUT spokesperson Alan Khan said lectures were cancelled shortly before midday in an attempt to ensure the safety of staff and students who were not participating in the protest.

He said the police were called, but because of the size of the three campuses - Steve Biko, Ritson and ML Sultan - it was impossible to ensure the safety of those who were not protesting.

The SRC's main demand was that students whose fees had not been paid by NSFAS should be allowed to re-register despite the non-payment.

"We have no jurisdiction over what NSFAS disburses. The majority of students are not part of the protests," Khan said.

He rejected Ngidi's assertion that DUT had not tackled any of the students' demands.

He said the book allowance had been increased from R1 000 a student to R1 500.

"It wasn't pleasant being on campus today," said Khan.

He said management would meet later on Monday to decide what action to take and when lectures would resume.

Calls for protests

On Sunday, the SA Students' Congress (Sasco) called for mass student protests over the shortages.

"No registration at the universities until all students are given equal opportunities," Sasco president Ntuthuko Makhombothi told reporters in Johannesburg.

Makhombothi said the lack of funds prohibited poor prospective students from gaining access to higher learning.

He said the NSFAS continued to cater for few students and exclude majority of those who were poor, even if they met the requirement of being academically deserving and financially needy.

He called on South African students to rally behind their action.

"Everything we have achieved in this country was through united actions. This is not a time to lock ourselves in boardrooms and have permanent meetings that do not resolve the plight of our students," he said.

He said it was shocking and extremely disturbing that the institutions that were confronted with the problems were the previously black institutions where children of the workers and the poor studied.

"It is, therefore, an attack on the poor and it ought to be responded to with serious mass action. In the principle of unity... Sasco is engaged in preparations for a... strike in the entire tertiary landscape," he said.

- SAPA
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Guardian, Zuma did not talk

2014-10-21 23:11
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
48 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Oscar Pistorius
 

6 impressive camping tips

Check out these great tips that will make your camping experience so much better!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding
Action camera for all occasions
Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.