Sasco vows to continue protesting until Unisa meets its demands

South African Student Congress (Sasco) members, who are demanding that the University of SA (Unisa) responds to a range of their grievances, have vowed to continue with their action at the institution's Sunnyside campus in Pretoria on Monday.

The Sasco members' demands include issues pertaining to National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding.

In addition, Sasco chairperson Lundi Nhlenyama told News24: "We have students who have been doing bridging courses, but now the university has said they cannot accommodate them to go into first year as they are saying they do not have enough space to accommodate them. Yet there are new applicants who were given space and are registered."

Nhlenyama said there were also students who wrote exams in 2017 who had also not received their results and were unable to register for the 2019 academic year. 

"When we enquire about it [the results] to management they say they are working on it. That matter has been happening since 2016 /2017 and they are failing to resolve that issue. 

"There are students who are NSFAS beneficiaries but their debts have not yet been cleared up until today and NSFAS is saying it is the fault of the university because they never send templates of students that are studying through Unisa," she said.

Nhlenyama added that the university also made students choose between book vouchers and receiving laptops, which didn't make sense to them because both were vital resources to students. 

She said they had been talking to management since 2018 but nothing had been done to meet their demands. 

"We have been engaging with management from last year June. The registrar came to the campuses and made promises but nothing happened. He made a promise that he would visit the department of marking and so forth, but [nothing] has happened," she said. 

The university tweeted on Sunday that it was aware of the "planned strike action by some student bodies" and urged students to register online. 

Nhlenyama said Sasco would continue with the protest until the university met with them, even though they were aware that registration would be affected. 

"For us the as leaders of the students, it does not make sense that we allow students to register whereas after that, nobody will process their funding. Right now there are students who cannot even register because they have not received their results from last year," she said. 

When contacted for comment, the university said it would respond later in the day.

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