Students at the Tshwane University of Technology say although they support calls for the national shutdown across all 26 universities in the country, they will not participate in any action as they are focusing on completing the 2020 academic year.
Student formations across institutions of higher learning are calling for a national shutdown as a result of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s failure to fund this year’s first-year students.
TUT SRC president, Mike Mothiba, says it would be unfair for the university to shutdown at this stage.
“The reason people are striking now, they are striking because of 2021 issues, and those issues, not that we won’t experience them, we will experience them but we haven’t arrived in 2021. We’re still completing 2020. So as soon as we are done with our 2020 academic year, then we will join the strike as time goes on. We can’t join the struggle of 2021 whereas we are not done with 2020,” says Mothiba.
Meanwhile, a group of University of Cape Town students have shutdown the institution’s medical school in Observatory.
Student leader, Cleo Mbulawa, says the institution is not prepared to clear student debt.
“We are telling them that they need to clear all historical debt, we can’t have a situation where students are not able to register, for example, we are here at Med School right now and what is happening here at Med School is that they started a while ago, it’s more than a week since they have started. Now there are students from Med School who still have not registered who still could not access the course material,” Mbulawa explains.
Students at the Capricorn TVET College in Seshego and the Waterberg College in Mokopane, Limpopo, are also partaking in the nationwide protests.
The main entrance at the Capricorn College in Seshego is barricaded with burning tyres.
The provincial coordinator of the EFF Student Command, Nicodemus Mojela, says they want historical debt to be disregarded.
“We are here as the EFF Student Command Limpopo at Seshego Campus, Capricorn College, we are here because we want to ensure that the programme of national shutdown of all institutions across South Africa has adhered to. It is a call which is going to assist all students to get free registration, to assist students to get academic blockage to be unblocked, it is call that is going to help the students for their historical debt to be scrapped off,” he says.
Students at the North West University’s Mahikeng campus and Rhodes University in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape are also protesting.
CUT SRC to meet management
The Central University of Technology SRC says it will continue to try to engage with management even though they have previously refused to meet with them.
Interim SRC president, Moses Ntonyane, says they have sent an email to management last week to request to meet with them over issues affecting students.
Ntonyane says they are still waiting for management’s response.
“We have said imposing the upfront payment on students is an opportunity for criminals to take money from students, because the criminal would come to a student a say give R1 000 I will help you register for free. Give me R4000 I help you register for free. With that being said we are saying as the call of Sasco national and EFF student command we are going to comply with the call of the structures I’ve mentioned,” he says.
The protests have also extended to Bloemfontein in the Free State. Students from the Motheo TVET College marched to the Free State Premier’s office in protest.
Students from Wits and UJ continue protests
Students in Johannesburg continue with their protest, which resumed at 5am this morning.
The EFF student command in the city says it will ensure that all institutions of higher learning are shutdown from today. It says a complete shutdown of all universities, FET and TVET colleges is the only way to ensure that their demands are met.
UKZN suspends classes
The University of KwaZulu-Natal has suspended its academic programme for the coming week due to the ongoing dialogue between national government and various students’ representative bodies in the country amid the student protests.
Last night, Wits University said it will forge ahead with its academic programme, while it continues engaging in talks to address the demands underlying a spate of student protests that have swept the country.