DURBAN – At least three institutions of higher learning in KwaZulu-Natal have suspended their academic programmes until further notice in the wake of fresh student protests.
On Monday, all five campuses at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the Mangosuthu and Durban Universities of Technology were unable to begin classes as their campuses were disrupted.
Students have responded to a provincial call by the African National Congress Youth League, Sasco and the Economic Freedom Fighters to shut down tertiary institutions until National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) qualifying students are allowed to register and the financial aid scheme pays out.
Some of the other demands include providing a living allowance to NSFAS students, the registration of postgraduate students who are owing money and issues around poor housing.
Classes at the University of KwaZulu-Natal were suspended until further notice after students blockaded entry points on all five campuses with management and the SRC expected to continue with their negotiations.
UKZN Central SRC President Sanele Hlongwa said they tried to facilitate a meeting with NSFAS through the university’s vice-chancellor but that effort proved to be futile.
“We’ve realised that NSFAS is arrogant towards students and then we took the decision to close the entire institution so that the university will make means to engage NSFAS to come and meet us.”
Hlongwa said they want the funding office to assist needy students with registration and living costs and the institution can then claim the money back from NSFAS.
“The funding office should verify whether those students meet requirements of NSFAS and those people should be cleared for registration. After that, the university should be able to sustain those people through meals allowances and also the book allowances.”
In a short statement, the university said it has received a memorandum of grievances from the SRC and the suspension of the academic programme will give them an opportunity for all involved parties to reach an understanding.
The Durban University of Technology says while the academic programme has been suspended until Thursday, registration on campus will continue.
At the same time, the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) says the inciteful language on social media flies in the face of negotiations management has been having with the SRC.
In a statement, MUT said around 8,000 students would be receiving their first payment of allowances by the end of business yesterday.
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