Business as usual: Sasco fails to deliver on threat to shut down universities

2010-03-05 00:00

THREATS by the South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) to shut down operations at nine universities around the country, in a campaign for free tertiary education, do not appear to have affected KwaZulu-Natal universities. All campuses reported no disruptions of academic activities yesterday.

The only campus severely affected seems to have been the University of Johannesburg, where police used a water cannon on students who blocked an entrance.

The University of Zululand and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) were two institutions targeted by Sasco. DUT acting vice chancellor Professor Nqabomzi Gawe said all activities ran as normal.

The University of Zululand’s Thabo Leshoro described the demonstration there, which was attended by Sasco’s national president Mbulelo Mandlana, as peaceful.

Superintendent Vincent Mdunge confirmed that the police were deployed at the university, where he said a “handful” of students protested on the university premises, but “nothing came of it”.

Sasco’s KwaZulu-Natal chairman Sandile Phakathi said its plan to “bring institutions to a standstill” did not involve disrupting academic programmes.

He described yesterday’s activities, which included the Westville campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, as marches in support of the national push to speed up the ANC’s promise of free tertiary education.

“We felt it was important that our presence was felt by the institutions because the issue of free education is not only a government problem.

“Whenever the minister of Higher Education increases the allocation of the national student fund, they increase school fees,” Phakathi said .Cabinet has been silent on the ANC’s Polokwane resolution to move towards free tertiary education.

Students on Durban university campuses are expected to gather at DUT’s Steve Biko Campus today.

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