Durban - THE University of Cape Town announced on Sunday that students with historical debt would be allowed to register.
In a statement released on Sunday, the institution said it had made the decision on Saturday.
“With immediate effect the student registration fee block in respect of 2020 debt will be lifted for South African students and students from the rest of Africa. The lifting of the fee block for students from Africa is consistent with UCT’s Vision 2030, which positions it as a leading university in and for Africa.”
Chair of Council, Babalwa Ngonyama said: “The funding crisis is a national crisis. No university can solve it on its own – the higher education sector urgently needs intervention from the South African government. We must put the students who are in desperate need of financial aid at the forefront of our thinking and planning, in order to support the future and sustainability of higher education in South Africa.”
UCT released the statement in the wake of protests in Johannesburg by Wits University students. The protests, which were characterised by violence, come after students protested over financial exclusion because they owed fees.
Universities in KwaZulu-Natal which also dealt with financial exclusion challenges said they had made various efforts to help students with their financial situations.
Durban University of Technology spokesperson Alan Khan said: “The DUT Finance Department and the Financial Aid Department are both working to help expedite the process of unblocking qualifying, returning students.”
Acting executive director of corporate relations at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Normah Zondo said the institution had the most “pro-poor financial clearance concessions” in the higher education sector. She said UKZN had processes where students did not have to pay 100 percent of their debt prior to registration.
Zondo said they would make concessions for National Student Financial Aid Scheme funded students or those funded by other funders will not be required to make payments and will have to sign an acknowledgement of debt form. She also said: “The university manages a high level of student debt that is in excess of R1.6 billion – the highest of all the public universities in South Africa ... UKZN management will keep its doors open for further engagement with the student leadership.”