The South African Union of Students (SAUS), announced on Twitter that they are calling for a National Shutdown of all South African universities.
According to the SAUS Twitter feed, on Thursday, 16 January a memorandum with 15 demands from all 26 universities was handed over to the Department of Higher Education, Science, and Technology. The department had 7 days to respond and address each demand.
Some of the demands included in the memorandum were; “the allocation of a debt relief fund for clearance of student debts, all students with historical debts must be allowed to register, students must be given their academic records and certificates despite them owing universities, free registration for vulnerable, poor and missing middle students.”
According to IOL, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said that only NSFAS-qualifying students who still have debt from the previous year will be allowed to register. He added, “Unfortunately, public funds for the university system are constrained and there is no possibility that debts of students who are not NSFAS qualifying can be eradicated by government. A longer-term solution lies in improved funding opportunities for ‘missing-middle’ students and working with the private sector.”
The SAUS Call for National Shutdown read: “The Call for a National Shutdown comes after numerous attempts at engaging and trying to bring sobriety to the Department of Higher Education and Training in light of the difficult and demoralizing realities of student issues on the ground.”