Nzimande Responds to Students Demands

Written by on 15 March, 2021

By: Sthulile Mdletshe & Mfundo Mabaso

Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, says government doesn’t have the money to support students who want their historical debts cleared.

Nzimande is responding to the 15 demands submitted by the South African Union of Students (SAUS).

South African Union of Students says it will be conducting a national shutdown for all 26 public universities, as from today, calling for the inclusion of students with historical debt to be allowed to register.

SAUS says Nzimande failed to respond to their list of 15 demands which they had set a deadline for last week Friday at 5pm,

Meanwhile, the minister says the country is not in a good position to support tertiary institutions for free education.

In a statement, Nzimande says they are quite aware of the impact of COVID-19 that left many parents without jobs, however, all government department have been hit with budget reductions.

“The historic debt of NSFAS-qualifying students is being addressed through a process between NSFAS and institutions,” explains Nzimande.

On SAUS’s demand zero percent fee increase for the 2021 academic year, Nzimande says the department and universities have reached another fee compact to ensure fee increases are kept at affordable levels and to ensure the sustainability of universities.

Another demand was the 100% return of all students to campuses under level 1 of the lockdown, due to connectivity issues when studying from home and online registration challenges.

Nzimande says individual institutions must manage these processes in line with their own resources and strategies and the ability to provide a safe environment for the return of students and staff in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nationwide shutdown continues across the country .

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