Students Call For Minister Nzimande To Be Fired

Unisa's decision to accept fewer first-entering students in 2021 has not been received well. Now, the University's Student Representative Council along with the EFF Student Command are wanting to take both the University and the Minister in charge of higher education, to court.

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Unisa's Students Representative Council and the EEF Student Command (EFFSC) have taken the steps to take Minister Blade Nzimande and Unisa to court over Unisa student limits.

This comes following the Minister's request for Unisa to accept fewer students in 2021, having the university cut down on 20 000 in their first-time entering students intake. Nzimande's instruction came as a result of wanting to ease the pressure on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

EFFSC demands that this decision is reversed.

We are very much disturbed because you cannot, as a Minister, give such an instruction to actually reduce the number of students that must access education in this academic year so we have taken a decision to actually challenge and fight and also demand that Blade must be removed from that office.

- EFF Student Command

They continued to say, "he is old enough, he must leave the office because that office doesn't need someone like Blade anymore. Someone who cannot think."

EFFSC believes that Government doesn't care about education for South African students. 

As for the reason behind the cut, the Student Command says that Government should do what they need to do to have funds available, even if that means raising funds.

They then allege that NSFAS is corrupt and that there are ghost students being funded and receiving allowances.  "These government officials are stealing money from NSFAs through those ghosts," says a member of the EFFSC.

Everytime the EFFSC has engaged with the department, they have said that they don't listen as government is headed by the ANC and the Student Command is governed by the EFF. 

We are taking it to the streets ... Blade cannot stop the revolution. Blade cannot come and tell us what must happen and what must not happen because we don't take instructions from him but we take instruction from our own students that we represent.

On Unisa accepting fewer students this year, Nzimande previously explained, "Over-enrolment carries the risk of not only collapsing the economy of a single institution, but the entire system, particularly if its scale imposes major financial consequences. Under-enrolment is also not tenable, as it does not enable South Africa to sufficiently grow the size and diversity of its post-education and training system to meet the needs of our economy and society".

The SRC and EFFSC are also speaking out against Unisa's decision to have one registration period and one examination period this year.

Unisa has previously explained that the decision to have one registration period for the year is just, simply put, to buy some time. This will mean that time won't be needed to register in July and will allow for extension of the two semesters to provide extended teaching time, the University explained.

As for the examination period which is set to run between September and December, Unisa said:

Official data indicates that for the past 10 years, the average number of modules taken by a student is between four and six. Also, many undergraduate assessments are continuous and not summative examinations, hence no student will have to write 12 exams in the same examination period as has been claimed.

EFFSC, while speaking to SABC News, continued to say that the South African Union of Students (SAUS), the South African Student Congress (SASCO) and the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) are useless because they account to Minister Blade's pocket.

The court hearing is set to take place on 2 March.

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