31 July 2013
The South African Students Congress (SASCO) notes the announcement of the beginning of the process to develop universities in the Mpumalanga and Northern Cape provinces. Whilst we understand this should have been a key intervention in increasing access to higher education, we view the proposed student intake for the next academic year as not only ridiculous but also an attempt to undermine the call we have always made.
The proposed 150 and 140 intakes for the next academic year in both the Sol Plaatjie University and the University of Mpumalanga respectively is the most ridiculous announcement to ever reach our ears in the recent past. The proposed intake is not even bigger than the totality of learners registered for matric in some of our high schools. We are seriously concerned that the business community is only having its eyes fixed on contracts to be provided without investing anything in the development of the universities themselves.
We are disappointed because instead of receiving our Free Education memorandum and addressing students on 25 July, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr. Bonginkosi Nzimade, decided to call the media briefing together with President Jacob Zuma to announce that only 290 new spaces will be created in the 2014 academic year. Much more puzzling is the failure to even open a faculty related to mining business despite the rich mineral wealth in those provinces.
SASCO will lobby the Department of Higher Education and Training to increase the student intake for the 2014 academic year for the two universities. We also call upon our people to reserve some energy so that if the boardroom engagements fail, the decision can be met with mass power from below.
For more information contact:
Ngoako Selamolela, SASCO President, 076 333 9127
Themba Masondo, SASCO Secretary General, 079 199 3421