Student Protests Halts Registration & Orientation Processes

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As the 2023 academic activities kick off at higher education institutions, student protests have been ramping up at various universities in the Western Cape, and as of late, the Northern Cape.

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On Tuesday 14 February, students at Sol Plaatje University (SPU) in Kimberley embarked on protest action, demanding that their concerns are addressed.

The disruptions are believed to have stemmed from student accommodation placements and food issues. The protests at SPU led to the temporary suspension of registration and orientation as students vowed to prevent the university from opening its doors for the 2023 academic year.

Students claim that university management has only made housing provisions for first year students and that returning students are being side-lined by being put on waiting lists.

Buntu Mnyaka from the institutions management said the following:

“Our managers for residences are currently now working on ensuring that the last batch of those places that needed to be processed are being processed.”

Regarding the student residences, Mnyaka says the issue is that the number of beds that are accommodated have to meet the number of students that are there, and management is currently in the process of making sure enough beds are available.

Furthermore, students say they have been sleeping outside and on campus grounds without any food and that management have not been handling the matter with urgency. 

One student expressed: "We have students who have been sitting for 12 hours waiting for accommodation without receiving food which is very unacceptable."

He adds, “There is not going to be an academic year if our demands are not met.”

The university is expected to open its doors for academic activities and first semester classes as of next week. 

Meanwhile, the university strongly condemns any form of violence and damage to university property and says it's engaging with all relevant stakeholders to attend to students' concerns.

Yesterday the management team of the university met with the Student Representative Council (SRC) to address concerns and challenges faced by the students.

During the discussions, university management noted that it has secured an additional 150 beds in accredited off-campus accommodation (AOCA) that will be made available for returning students, from 18 February 2023. 

The university says it will continue to update and publish the AOCA list, however, students must apply directly to the landlords for accommodation.


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While the academic year commenced at several higher education institutions got underway this week, two universities based in the Western Cape have encountered protests. Student Representatives are working to resolve the current issues.


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