Students ‘have won their battle against university’

Sabelo Nsele, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - South African Students Congress (Sasco) on Monday claimed University of KwaZulu-Natal management had reached an agreement with the students’ representative council (SRC) on the students’ demands.

The university has seen violent protest action in the past three weeks after students started to protest against the cancellation of the Registration Appeals Committee (RAC) and funding issues.

The RAC process allows students owing the institution fees to enter into an agreement to pay their debts in instalments while continuing with their studies. However, provincial Sasco secretary Phinda Mofokeng on Monday said the students had “won their battle against the university”.

“We negotiated from 2pm until 8pm with the management. With regards to RAC, we agreed on the 2011 model. That agreement favours students because it says those who owe R25 000 and below should be allowed to register for next semester,” said Mofokeng. “We also agreed that if you are doing your final year, you should be allowed to register no matter how much you owe,” he said.

Mofokeng said the university agreed not to change the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nasfas) policy which says in order to get funding for the next semester, students must pass their modules with 50%. “The university was aiming too high with that 70% they were coming with,” he said.

Mofokeng said the university had agreed to drop all internal disciplinary hearings that had emanated from the strike action.

“They also agreed not to oppose bail for those who were arrested. They said they could not drop those charges because police are involved,” he said.

However, the UKZN would not deny or confirm whether any agreement had been reached, and said they would be releasing a statement in due course.

The violent protest resulted in millions of rands in damages and the frequent disruption of lectures.

The university also decided to extend the current semester back by a week due to the disruptions.

The Witness