‘Meet our demands or we march on’

2019-02-20 06:02
Students marching to Legislature last WednesdayPHOTO: lethiwe makhanya

Students marching to Legislature last WednesdayPHOTO: lethiwe makhanya

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HUNDREDS of students under the South African Students Congress (Sasco) marched to the Provincial Legislature last Wednesday where they submitted their memorandum of demands.

The march, organised by Sasco­ in Umgungundlovu, follows protests that have halted learning at universities across the province where students have experienced problems with accommodation, registration and funding, and academic issues.

STUDENT DEMANDS INCLUDED:

• Immediate response to all students who applied for change of mind and late applications.

• Unblock all National Student Financial Aid System (NSFAS) qualifying students.

• Unblock all post graduates who were previously NSFAS beneficiaries.

• Bring back campus accommodation at Plessislaer, Appelsbosch, and Elangeni TVET College.

• Public works and municipalities in the district to help with the accommodation crisis.

• Establish housing department for all the TVET sectors.

• Demand student cards for all the students at Umgungundlovu TVET.

•Free access to free education (prohibit CAO application fee).

• Recognition of Educare graduate students at the Department of Basic Education.

Sasco regional chairperson Snenhlanhla Nyaniso, who was reading the memorandum, said they want their problems to be treated as a matter of urgency. She said if they do not get a response in time, they will march until their problems are resolved.

Sasco Provincial Chairperson Vezinhlanhla Simelane added that if their demands are not met they are going to shut down all the universities and colleges in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We are not doing this because we are hooligans or because we do not want to study. We are doing it because we want free education.We cannot force education if people do not have places to stay. How are they going to attend without having accommodation? Students are required to have 80% attendance in order for them to qualify to write their examination, but how can you attend if you do not have a place to stay? This is very painful,” he said.

Congress of South African Students (Cosas) regional convener Sbusiso­ Madondo said they are tired of marching repeatedly about the same issues.

“If it is not NSFAS it is accommodation.With this march we are sending a message to Naledi Pandor that we are tired now; we want action. If they do not attend to our problems it will lead to us going straight inside their offices to look for answers and solutions,” he said.

The memorandum was accepted by Secretary of the KZN Legislature Nerusha Naidoo and the Legislature were given until yesterday (February 13) to respond to the demands.

The situation has been calm at universities and colleges following the march.

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