'They are pushing us. Anarchy is the only way' - Unisa SRC president

2018-02-08 17:30
(Picture: Twitter)

(Picture: Twitter)

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Durban – University of South Africa (Unisa) national student leadership on Thursday said that students were being pushed to the point of anarchy.

Unisa SRC president Zandile Sodladla didn't mince her words when she met with a large media contingent, after a meeting with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was cancelled.

Sodladla said students were facing mass injustice because NSFAS and, to a lesser extent, university management were dragging their feet in funding students at the world's largest university.

"NSFAS cancelled with us. They say this is a national issue. But students sleeping outside campus are being stabbed. They are pushing us. Anarchy is the only way."

According to Sodladla, registration funding had not been activated for many. She said returning and newly registered students were not given access to registration because they did not have funding from NSFAS, and therefore could not pay fees.

"Students living outside are waiting for an offer of application to register within the system. This is an injustice."

Pledging solidarity

Sodladla also made a call for the university to join students in solidarity against NSFAS.

"We want them to, in writing, to say that they stand with us. We must all put pressure on NSFAS to allow students to be given what they deserve."

Sodladla said there was also R53m that had been transferred to the university's bank account from NSFAS.

"It is unclear what is happening with this either. The university needs to communicate with us better."

Sodladla and other student leaders at the press briefing said there would be a "kind of march" in Durban on Friday.

"We cannot take all these injustices lying down. There are thousands of students who need help and they are not being treated fairly.

Sodladla said around 80 000 students from KwaZulu-Natal would disrupt classes at Unisa.

'They can do it with their eyes closed'

NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mambolo told News24 that all NSFAS qualifying students must be allowed to register and go to class at all universities.

"This will happen as long as the university can confirm that they have secured a place to study. The universities have the means and capability to assess NSFAS qualifying students. They know the criteria and have done it before. They can do it with their eyes closed."

He said there shouldn't be any first-time students being sent from to pillar to post. He added that all NSFAS students retained from 2017 should also be registered.

"This should happen irrespective of their debt from 2017. As long as they are confirmed as NSFAS retaining students, they must be allowed to register without paying anything upfront. All they have to do is acknowledge their 2017 debt."

The university, meanwhile, issued a statement saying re-registering students would be allowed "to fully register for the 2018 academic year before the NSFAS funding process has been completed".

The university said only students who submitted registration by February 2 would be registered and that those registrations would be confirmed by February 14.

Read more on:    unisa  |  durban  |  university fees

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