Campus registration threats despicable and unwarranted - Parliamentary committee

2019-01-08 17:42
Students queue to register at UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus on Monday.

Students queue to register at UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus on Monday. (Ian Carbutt)

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Threats of violence over registration at universities are despicable and unwarranted, says chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, Connie September.

This after the Economic Freedom Fighters Students Command (EFFSC) vowed to take to the streets if the government did not meet its demand for fee-free registration at universities.

"We don't intend to cause anarchy, but if we are pushed, we will be left with no choice – because we are capable," EFFSC president Peter Keetse warned at a media briefing held in central Johannesburg last week.

However, September says constructive engagements are needed to make sure that issues are attended to and that the majority of students are able to access university places and funding.

In a statement released on Tuesday, she said the committee would monitor the situation at university campuses and would give students a chance to voice their concerns in Parliament about registration at universities.

"They are an important stakeholder and the committee has been working on a joint programme with the students to ensure that the implementation of free education for the poor and working class benefits the students and their communities.

"The committee wants to see a smooth and peaceful start to 2019, where students will not be bothered by anything other than registering and getting started with the first term."

The official term for 2019 begins in the first week of February.

"The focus of all student leaders should be on advancing the higher education sector for the benefit of all, especially poor students. Student leaders need to be talking about how they hope to assist universities resolve such challenges as student accommodation and waiting lists, and in this way help institutions realise smooth and successful registration," said September.

September added that the committee supported the efforts of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in ensuring that students did not face the same problems they did in the past, such as late and failed applications from qualifying students.

Read more on:    eff  |  education  |  university protests

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