Unisa SRC threatens ‘national shutdown’

An SRC member addresses students at Unisa’s Pietermaritzburg campus on January 7 2019.
Image: Makhosonke Ndlovu via Twitter

The Student Representative Council (SRC) of the University of South Africa (Unisa) has called for a “national shutdown” should certain demands not be met by the institution on January 7.

“Today there will be no operations or registration taking place until further notice,” Eastern Cape SRC deputy chairperson Lungile Mnukwa said.

Mnukwa said the shutdown aimed to resolve challenges of access and development in higher learning at campuses in the province.

He said one of the biggest challenges this year was that many students who had applied to Unisa had been rejected.

Mnukwa said the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFas) had also failed to pay outstanding student debts and allowances to certain students.

“We want Unisa to improve the NSFas service by improving the administration. Unisa students don’t get meals and accommodation, so now we are saying we should be given the same service as NFSas students in other universities.

“NSFas students are getting laptops and not book allowances, so they (NSFas) are saying students should choose between the two. We want NFSas to cater for both,” Mnukwa said.

He said no registration was expected to take place at the Port Elizabeth, East London and Mthatha campuses.

Mnukwa said they had also engaged with leaders at campuses in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.

“The SRCs of Unisa nationally… are interacting online and we are ensuring that we have implemented the national shutdown on our campuses.

“We want all the issues resolved and if they are not resolved, registration won’t take place,” Mnukwa said.

Other issues included:

– CCTV and security control in study and examination spaces.

– The “failure of PE management to manage fairly, without discrimination, favouritism, exploitation and neglect of students on contracts given to them for skills development”.

– The need for an ICT technician, ICT repairs for students and students who require Arcswid support.

– Study material efficiency and the accessibility of tutorial and research classes for students.

– The proposal for companies hired by Unisa to offer internships, placement and skills-development funding for Unisa students.

Unisa opened registrations for the 2019 academic year on January 3. According to the university, 74,122 students had already registered.

“The university is aware of planned strike action by some student bodies, starting on January 7 2019. While the university acknowledges the right of individuals to strike, the university is open to assisting students the best way it can, including continued engagements,” the institution said.


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