More Universities To Join National Shutdown

Students are continuing their fight towards free education along with other demands as the National Shutdown is still in effect. 18 Universities have already joined protests and the South African Union of Students has said that this number will grow.

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The National Shutdown initiated by students to have free education, amongst other demands, continues as more Universities are expected to join. This is according to the South African Union of Students (SAUS).

SAUS has also criticised both the Minister and Deputy Minister and have said that responses they have received are unsatisfactory.

SAUS handed over a list of 15 demands to the Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, and have said to not received adequate answers from him on this.

In a statement released by the Union, the following was stated:

18 universities had joined on Monday, 5 had indicated that they are completing the 2020 academic year and would join the National Shutdown shortly after; and 3 indicating that their institutions had already resolved on their demands but would facilitate engagements with students on a way forward.

The Minister is said to have discussed the 15 demands with Vice-Chancellors but the outcomes of this meeting were not shared with student leaders. 

17 March also saw the Union present their list of demands to the Portfolio Committee of Higher Education. However, the Minister and Deputy Minister of the department, Buti Manamela, left abruptly due to other Ministerial duties.

This has of course only brought more criticisms on Government and fuelled already blazing fires.

SAUS said:

As SAUS we note with growing concern the reluctance of the Minister to engage directly with SAUS and SRCs on issues affecting the higher education sector, and the concerns and demands raised by US as students.

They have also criticised the Ministerial Task Team, headed by Manamela, as they comment, "we note with growing concern the stagnation and inability of the Task Team to continue effectively with its work if it is to be reduced to a talk show and no tangible to the crisis in higher education".

The Union also met with the Public Protector and the South African Human Rights Commission where it's said a "a mechanism to identify and investigate violation of student rights including the abuse of power by vice chancellors through court interdicts and suspension/expulsion of students" was set up.

SAUS continues to have meetings with Student Representative Councils, Universities South Africa (USAf), 

They now plan to march to various sites of government including National Treasury, the Department of Higher Education, NSFAS, Union Buildings and Parliament.

"The South African Union of Students is committed to keep the public updated on the progress regarding the 15 demands"

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