University Caught Up In Student Protests As Academic Year Begins

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Students at North-West University‘s Mahikeng campus have been caught in the middle of protest action between taxi drivers and landlords. The stakeholders claim that they have been sidelined in the provision of transport and accommodation for students. 

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The North West University in Mahikeng is reported to still have a lot of brewing tension amongst its stakeholders. The Mahikeng Taxi Association, the Mmabatho, Montshiwa, and Landlords Association allege that they have been left out of the plans for providing student housing and transportation.

Earlier this year the Higher Education Department announced that NSFAS-funded students would be provided with accredited student accommodation as well as transport services to commute to and from campus.

The issue of involvement in these arrangements has been ongoing since 2019 according to an ANC Youth League Student Command member, who says the taxi drivers are being unreasonable.

He goes on to say that the relationship between accredited accommodation providers is fractured because they charge exorbitant fees and some of their demands cannot be met.

Yesterday they protested again saying that they are not included in the transportation of students to campus from accredited accommodation. We have been engaging management and have engaged them, that there must be meetings. However, we reject some of their demands because they make no sense.

Meanwhile, the higher learning institution’s spokesperson confirmed that they have not entered into any transportation agreement with any external party aside from the private accommodation providers.   

In addition to this, the university has also opened a case of public violence and malicious damage to property following student protests at the institution this week. According to media reports, police are investigating at least four cases as a result of the ongoing fees demonstrations.

The university protest was initially part of a statewide strike by students who demanded an end to financial exclusion at South Africa's higher education institutions.

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