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Nusas declares shutdown of universities over funding, accommodation, & safety

The National Union of South African Students (Nusas) sent a list of 15 demands to Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande over a week ago on issues relating to student funding, accommodation, and safety.

The entrance of the Unisa Sunnyside campus. Picture: EWN

DURBAN - The National Union of South African Students (Nusas) has declared a shutdown of the country’s 26 public universities.

Nusas sent a list of 15 demands to Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande over a week ago on issues relating to student funding, accommodation, and safety.

In his response, Nzimande said that many of those issues were already being addressed but the union said it was not satisfied.

Nusas’ Thabo Shingange said that several higher education institutions around the country had already started shutting down.

“The North-West University, University of Venda, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Unisa are currently engaged in a shutdown,” Shingange said.

Shingange said Nzimande had expressed arrogance and failed to provide an adequate response on how his department planned to assist poor students in the 2020 academic year.

“There are poor students who cannot enter the university due to historic debt. As things stand, students cannot enter the universities due to no walk-ins, students cannot further their postgraduate studies and they're sitting at home due to a lack of postgraduate funding. Thousands of students cannot get meaningful employment because their academic records are being withheld,” he said.

In a letter to unions, seen by Eyewitness News, Nzimande said his department had worked to meet some of the demands, including ensuring all National Student Financial Aid Scheme qualifying students did not have to pay any up front fees to register for their studies.

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