Student union claims ‘partial victory’, vows to fight on

While some universities have agreed to register students despite their unpaid debt, the South African Union of Students (SAUS), which is spearheading the latest fees protests, said this was only a partial victory, writes Naledi Shange for Times Live.

The University of Cape Town and University of the Free State are among those that have unblocked indebted students from their registration systems.

“Students have scored some victories in the protests but most of these victories are campus-based, not national. When it comes to the national demands made, the leadership continue to engage and try to find common ground,” said SAUS national organiser Yandisa Nzoyiya. “The demand to clear all student debt has not been met. Not all institutions have agreed to register all students. Other demands related to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) such as appeals and the reopening of applications have not been met.
Full report on the Times Live site

Meanwhile, Bulelwa Payi writes for IOL that as calls grow for free tertiary education, institutions say collective student debt has escalated to about ZAR14 billion (US$935 million). Earlier this month, vice-chancellors met Department of Higher Education officials, including Minister Blade Nzimande, to put pressure on the government to find ways to resolve the matter. Universities South Africa CEO Professor Ahmed Bawa described the debt as a “very significant amount of money” which “cannot simply be wiped out unless some new funding strategy is put in place by the government to address the shortfall”.
Full report on the IOL site