Pretoria – Student registration at the University of Pretoria is steaming ahead, despite threats from the South African Union of Students (SAUS) to shut the institution down.
University spokesperson Candice Jooste said the process was going smoothly and that, by Thursday, approximately 25 000 students had already registered.
SAUS threatened to shut the institution down if the university continued to demand motivational letters from some students who took part in the Fees Must Fall movement last year.
A number of students who took part in the protests last year have been requested to motivate why the university should allow them to register for the 2017 academic year.
Jooste said 40 letters had been sent out to students who have criminal cases pending against them as a result of last year's violent protest action.
"It has come to our attention that the criminal case against you pertaining to these or some of these incidents was postponed to January 26, 2017. Disciplinary proceedings have been pended provisionally, awaiting finalisation of the criminal matters," the letter read.
Letters 'not a punitive measure'
"In light of the above, the university management has to reconsider whether you should be allowed to register at the university for the 2017 academic year, subject to certain conditions and undertakings."
SAUS secretary general Sthembiso Ndlovu said the organisation did not appreciate the way the university was handling the situation.
"We encourage students not to write those motivational letters. We made a promise that we are going to shut the university down and we are sticking to it," Ndlovu said.
However, Jooste said a majority of the students had already made submissions, either in writing, or have engaged with university management in person, and had been allowed to register.
"This is not a punitive measure and the university is open to engaging with students."
SRC president Henricho Barnard said it was of utmost importance that stability was restored at the university.
"The past year , has had detrimental impact on students' studies, thus it is of utmost importance to restore stability on campus in order to ensure that the academic programme continues undisputed as all the students at the university are deserving of this opportunity," he said.