Pupils marched in the streets of Rustenburg on Friday demanding a university. Photo by African News Agency (ANA)

RUSTENBURG - Hundreds of pupils marched through the streets of Rustenburg on Friday, demanding that a university be built in the  platinum-rich city.

Representing various schools, the scholars chanted and waved placards as they snaked through the streets, slowing traffic on Oliver Tambo and Beyers Naude Drive.

They were joined by members of the  SA Student Congress (Sasco) - which coordinated the march - the Young Communist League (YCL) and the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).

Addressing the marchers, ANCYL North West provincial spokesman Tshiamo Tsotetsi said there was a need to establish a university in Rustenburg in order to complement the skill needed in the economy of the Bojanala region.

"If you can check the number of young people studying at the North West University in Mahikeng, the number of those from Bojanala are less compared to those who are from Mahikeng and surrounding areas. It is not that young people in Bojanala do not want to go to university. They want a university that can complement the economy of the region. We want a university that can train you to change chrome into a usable substance," said Tsotetsi. 

He called on the Rustenburg Local Municipality to identify land where a university could be built.

Sasco's deputy regional chairperson for Bojanala, Ndivhuwo Maage, said the only university in region was the University of South Africa (Unisa) and Orbit College, with its three campuses.

He said young people from Rustenburg attended universities outside the city and consequently paid a lot more for accommodation and transport.

In a memorandum addressed to the department of higher education and training (DHET), the youth representatives said the current available public institutions were not adequate to accommodate the needs of potential students in the region. 

"We are precisely demanding a university in the district under the fact that many young people are hopeless and disgruntled, they have turned out to be vagrants, smugglers, drug addicts, drug dealers and others as they do not know where to go after their matriculations," read the memorandum.

It also highlighted the plight faced by youngsters so desperate for tertiary education that they enrolled at fly-by-night institutions and lost money in the process. 

Earlier this year, the Rustenburg municipality and DHET closed several colleges for non-compliance or failing to be registered. 

DHET was given 30 days to reply to the memorandum.

African News Agency (ANA)