The SRC threatens to shut down Unisa (University of South Africa). Unisa students did not receive their NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) grants.
SRC Threatens to Shut Down Unisa
SRC stands for the Student Representative Council. Students were not able to register in time before the closing date. It led them by taking part in a strike. Students threaten to have a shutdown in South Africa if it is not sorted out.
Free Higher Education Announcement
President Jacob Zuma announced in 2017 mid-December, that government will grant free higher education. Students who got a loan to study in 2017, will be changed from a loan to 100% grant, according to President Zuma. The SRC claims that Unisa ignored President Jacob Zuma’s announcement.
NSFAS Funding Allocation
Since the announcement of President Jacob Zuma, many first-time students in South Africa applied for Higher Learning for 2018. Students applied for NSFAS funding and have been successful in their applications.
According to NSFAS, they paid R1.5 billion to universities. These costs will cover the following for qualifying NSFAS students:
- Student registration fees
Qualifying NSFAS students should not pay registration fees in 2018. Students should have an offer from the institution that they can study there. These students should be able to register, according to NSFAS. Follow up on the news article about NSFAS funding.
Funding Not Activated
80 000 students in KwaZulu-Natal, could not pay their registration fees this year. Many NSFAS qualifying students did not receive their funding when they wanted to register at Unisa
National SRC president, Zandile Sodladla, said that thousands of returning not to mention first-time students were unable to register at Unisa. It resulted in first-time students are unable to start their studies. Returning students are unable to complete their studies.
NSFAS spokespersons, Kagisho Mamabolo, told News24 that qualifying students should be allowed to register. Universities should only confirm that the student has a place to study with them. He also said that qualifying 2017 NSFAS students should also be able to register. Students with debt should only acknowledge their 2017 debt.
According to Sodladla, NSFAS said that R53 million was paid out to Unisa. Unisa did not give any response to this. Kagisho Mamabolo (NSFAS spokesperson) said that they received no communication from Unisa.
Unisa issued a statement advising that re-registering students (returning students) should be allowed to register for the 2018 academic year. Students should register before the funding process is over.
They also stated that only students who submitted their registration on 02 February 2018, would be registered. Confirmation of student registration will be released on 14 February 2018.
Unisa students in KwaZulu-Natal (Durban campus), participated in a strike action on 08 February 2018.
Mondli Shezi (The university’s provincial SA Students Congress (Sasco) chairperson) said that NSFAS scheduled a meeting with the students on 08 February 2018. Students waited for the NSFAS officials at the campus, however, they did not show up. NSFAS cancelled a planned meeting, to address the students concerns.
Students decided to take part in a strike action. Some students said that Unisa is the reason for them to partake in a strike.
Shezi advised that they gave a memorandum to the university’s management, with all of the students demands.
Students Can’t Afford To Lose More Study Time
Students can not afford to lose any more study time. Already they could not register for the 2018 academic year.
Students joined in on a strike action to voice their disappointment with both NSFAS and Unisa. Police caught up with the students on the arrival at the ANC provincial office. They forced the students to break up the strike.
Many academics joined together to share their opinions, viewpoints not to mention possible solutions to the NSFAS funding crisis.
Mcebo Dlamini, the SRC president at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), shared his thoughts on this:
“We are caught in the middle between NSFAS and the university. The university is saying it’s NSFAS. NSFAS is saying it’s the university, and we are in the middle.”
What Do the Experts Say About Why The SRC Threatens To Shut Down Unisa?
Dr Kelebogile Choice Makhetha, University of Free State academic said:
“Even there at the meeting with the minister, there were no solutions – even about the students who qualified for NSFAS who were in the system and were not funded last year to say now what do we do this year. All universities together with the minister and the CEO of NSFAS could not come with a solution. So each university is coming up with ways to save its students because they’re already in their second year, the third year and are about to finish.”
Professor Adam Habib (Vice-Chancellor of Wits University) mentioned the following:
“I think we have not explored bringing the business sector into play because a lot of companies would ask ‘how can we assist?’ and even with bursaries because most of them have not been approached and there’s more that we can do… If most of the companies listed on the JSE were funding education the challenge would be lighter.”
To read more about the NSFAS crisis, visit the following News pages:
- Times Live: Unisa SRC threatens ‘national shutdown’ and Angry Unisa students go on the rampage in Durban stoning cars
- News24: ‘They are pushing us. Anarchy is the only way’ – Unisa SRC president and Unisa students take to the streets after NSFAS officials’ no-show
- The Journalist
Written by: Olivia Pika
Last updated: 23 May 2018