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Cabinet slams campus violence

Some protesting students were forcibly removed as they were occupying the ground floor of Senate House after disrupting the registration process at Wits University. Picture: @WitsFMF

Some protesting students were forcibly removed as they were occupying the ground floor of Senate House after disrupting the registration process at Wits University. Picture: @WitsFMF

Published Jan 14, 2016

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Cape Town - Cabinet on Thursday warned that violence and intimidation at the country’s university campuses was unacceptable.

“Government is committed to providing post-school education for all academically deserving students that is free at the point of delivery for the poor and working class, within fiscally sustainable limits,” said Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe while briefing journalists following Wednesday’s special cabinet meeting on the state of the South African economy and the upcoming February budget.

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“Actions that disrupt learning or create unreasonable and practically unachievable expectations are counterproductive. Violence and intimidation are not acceptable.”

Radebe said during the meeting, which dealt with the deteriorating global economic outlook and the effect on South Africa, that Cabinet endorsed amendments to national budget allocations that would see money shifted to fund universities.

The measures include an allocation of R2.3 billion to meet the shortfall that universities would experience this year as a result of government’s decision to implement a zero percent fee increase for students for 2016.

It also includes the reprioritisation of around R2.5 billion in government funding to provide loans to 71,753 students who were either unfunded or underfunded in the past three academic years. Another R2 bn would be allocated to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to fund students who do not have enough money to complete their qualifications this year.

These allocations were over and above the R10 bln that would be administered through NSFAS during the current year.

The cabinet statement came as some university campuses in South Africa were already experiencing renewed student protests over demands for free tertiary education.

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