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UJ suspends students over protest

Johannesburg - Twenty students have been suspended following protests at the University of Johannesburg over a shortage of funds from the National Student Financial Scheme (NSFAS), the institution said on Tuesday.

“Registered students have been suspended pending disciplinary action and/or criminal charges being brought against them,” the university said in a statement.

Students from the University of Johannesburg's Kingsway campus protest to express their dissatisfaction with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and registration in Auckland Park. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Students not yet registered and who were part of the protests had been charged with criminal behaviour, the university said.

The UJ said the students disrupted administrative and registration activities.

“The university respects the right of students to protest peacefully, as long as academic and administrative activities are not disrupted and the safety of students and staff is not placed in jeopardy.”

Universities were hit by protests on Monday over the shortfalls of the scheme.

Mangosuthu University of Technology and the Durban University of Technology in KwaZulu-Natal also experienced disruptions as a result of the protests.

About 100 students protested outside the UJ's Kingsway campus.

The SA Students Congress (Sasco) on Sunday called for mass student protests over the shortages.

“No registration at the universities until all students are given equal opportunities,” Sasco president Ntuthuko Makhombothi told reporters in Johannesburg.

Makhombothi said the lack of funds prohibited poor prospective students from gaining access to higher learning.

Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Deputy Vice-Chancellor:

Internationalisation, Student Affairs and Institutional Advancement at UJ, said universities administered funds according to NSFAS guidelines on behalf of NSFAS.

“Unfortunately, it goes without saying that universities can only allocate funds which they received from NSFAS,” Maluleke said.

“In this case, UJ did not receive sufficient funds to assist all students who qualify for NSFAS funding. We understand the students' concern and recognise their problem.”

Sapa

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