- The University of KwaZulu-Natal has decided to suspend its academic programme this week amid protests over funding.
- Students have vowed to shut down 26 institutions.
- UKZN will continue with registrations online.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal has suspended it academic programme for the week after students across the country embarked on a shutdown over funding.
However, registration for returning and first-year undergraduate students will continue online.
"After thoughtful consideration of the ongoing dialogue between national government and the various bodies representing student formations in South Africa, we have decided to suspend the academic programme for the coming week, that is, from Monday, 15 March until Friday, 19 March 2021, both dates inclusive.
"University management will inform staff and students on the dates for recommencement of the semester," UKZN spokesperson Normah Zondo said.
The South African Union of Students (SAUS) had vowed to bring all institutions to a standstill through mass protest action at 26 different universities.
Among its demands was that historical debt should be cleared for all students and that registration for all first-year students should be allowed to proceed while the government sorts out funding challenges. In addition, they want a 0% increase for 2021.
Meanwhile, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande responded to the union's demands and said the department was not in a position to scrap historical student debt.
Nzimande said the department was not in a financial position to support institutions clear student debt.
"We are aware that there are many students whose families struggle to keep up with fee payments, and indeed many families who have also been negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic."
Nzimande also said that, given the "difficult fiscal situation", all government departments, including the Department of Higher Education and Training, were subjected to budget reductions for the 2020 and 2021 financial years.
In an early morning protest, students blocked roads at the University of Johannesburg.
Protesters blockaded Kingsway Road in the early hours of the morning, police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said.