Unisa students closed the Sunnyside campus as they joined the universities' national shutdown. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)
Unisa students closed the Sunnyside campus as they joined the universities' national shutdown. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Unisa students invade Pretoria CBD over funding row

By Liam Ngobeni Time of article published Mar 17, 2021

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Pretoria - Students at Unisa yesterday intensified their protest action by invading the CBD to shut down every institution of higher education that was operational.

Protesters went to Tshwane North College where tyres were set alight.

Unisa is the only local university actively participating in the national shutdown over funding issues.

Shatadi Phoshoko said there were National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) beneficiary students whose registrations were still not finalised because they had not been funded.

"On top of that, there are new students who must be funded; the demand is the speedy roll-out of funds to students so that they can commence with their academics."

She said the university had increased fees without even formally informing students. The new fees were added to last year’s debt which many couldn't settle because of the effects of the lockdown, among others.

"Measures must be put in place to lessen the financial burden on self-funded students. We call for the state to intervene in that - if they can fund a talk show like the state capture commission for millions, with no anticipated real results, or bail out Eskom, which can be bailed out by those looting money from it by recouping the money from them as they're known, then they can bail out students," Phoshoko said.

In the CBD, one student was arrested during the unrest.

On Monday, EFF student command said it did not accept the government’s responses to the lengthy demands laid out by student bodies. The movement vowed to continue the shutdown on all campuses until it received a positive response.

Meanwhile, Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande was expected to consult vice-chancellors of different universities regarding the unrest.

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