Thuli Madonsela, Stellenbosch University SRC challenge corporates and donors to help pay student debt
Stellenbosch University's (SU) social justice chair, Thuli Madonsela, together with the university's Student Representative Council (SRC) have challenged alumni and corporate companies to contribute to the cause of scrapping student debt.
Madonsela herself has pledged R27 000 to the Maties student funding initiative. The initiative's first goal is to raise R2 million, owed from 2019, to help students register by March 15.
The second target is R2.7m by April 27 and the final target is R10m by June 16 for 2020 debt.
“This year marks 27 years of healing the divisions of the past and freeing the potential of all. As unemployment and poverty explode, we do not want angry young people seething over stolen dreams,” said Madonsela.
SU affected students would be unable to register by March 15 if the first target amount was not raised.
The issue of student debts, which has deprived many students from registering for the 2021 academic year, has sparked unrest in universities across the country.
Wits University said student debts have ballooned to R1 billion. Wits students have spent the week protesting against the financial exclusion and at one of the protests, a man was killed.
Meanwhile, the University of Cape Town (UCT) said it had 1655 students with historic debt, amounting to R88 million. On Friday, students occupied the university’s fees office, Kramer Law Building, in a bid to address management.
In a statement, SU said the #Action4Inclusion was a student funding initiative aimed at ensuring academic inclusion by settling outstanding study fees for students in need.
The initiative was established by the SRC and Madonsela, with the support of the university’s Development and Alumni Relations division (DAR), to ensure that no student was left behind due to their financial circumstances. This will also help in paying the fees of those who cannot access their results due to the outstanding balance.
“(This) challenges all to give a ‘democracy dividend’ to young people striving to get a university qualification. In addition to alleviating students’ financial stresses related to their possibilities of re-registration, your donation to #Action4Inclusion will help Maties access their academic results that cannot be made available due to outstanding fees. Getting them over the final hurdle will in turn enhance students’ social mobility in pursuit of social justice while capitalising them as essential assets for sustainable economic growth and development," said Madonsela.
SU SRC chairperson Xola Njengele said: “Outstanding student debt is regarded as one of the most significant challenges faced by many SU students from poor and working-class families.”
#Action4Inclusion on Maties Alumni website.
#Action4Inclusion on GivenGain website.