Thousands of UKZN students still face exclusion over unpaid fees

2015-10-28 10:44
Students march in Durban (Jeff Wicks, News24)

Students march in Durban (Jeff Wicks, News24)

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Durban - Thousands of University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) students face the risk of being financially excluded next year, the students’ representative council (SRC) has said.

SRC members from the Pietermaritzburg, Westville and Edgewood campuses said the majority of those students owe the university R30 000 and more.

The SRC members said they had asked those who are struggling to pay their tuition fees to come forward.

On the Pietermaritzburg campus SRC chairperson Star Radebe said over 1 000 students might not be able to come back next year.

Radebe said the future seemed dark for these students as he said the university only offers the Registration Appeals Committee (RAC) process to 750 students across the university.

“We are working on finding a civilised plan to counter this. What people need to know is that we are not striking animals. However, we cannot allow the university to exclude so many students just because they are poor.

“The Fees Must Fall campaign has opened many opportunities for us to take advantage of,” he said.

Although they will be channelling their energy towards their upcoming exams, Radebe said students had not forgotten their call for free education.

“We are giving the government one year to finalise a practical plan on free education,” he said.

Edgewood College SRC president Siphamandla Chagwe said more than 800 students had come forward there to say they cannot pay their fees. The students marched to the Department of ­Education’s district office in Pinetown on Tuesday to plead for help.

“We have also sent out the information to different municipalities to plead with them to help those students coming from their municipalities. We are also going to be engaging different stakeholders — the university, business sector and the general public — to help these students because they are academically deserving. We also appeal to any individuals who can assist in whatever way they can to come forward and assist,” said Chagwe.

At the Westville campus, SRC chairperson Nesh Khumalo said about 2 000 students had said they do not know how they are going to pay their outstanding fees.

“If you are going to exclude so many students from the system, that means there will never be transformation in UKZN,” he said.

Khumalo maintained that Westville campus was not bound by the agreement that was brokered by student leadership and university management that ended the four week student protest.

“Our leaders were arrested so we had no representative,” he said.

A meeting between the Westville campus SRC and university management was aborted on Monday night after the university allegedly asked the SRC president to sit out of the meeting because of the ongoing court case.

UKZN had not commented by the time of going to press.

Read more on:    ukzn  |  durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  education  |  university fees

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