South African Students Congress

SASCO condemns the manner in which Tshwane University of Technology management has handled the student dispute

18 September 2014

The South African Students Congress notes with utter disgust and irritation the manner in which the management of TUT, led by the tyrannical and inept Vice-Chancellor Professor Ogude, is handling the current dispute on NSFAS in the University.

Students in the University decided to go to the street, for the third time this year, to protest on a variety of issues but on the main the issue of NSFAS which has told students that they should pay their fees as there is no funding and that poor students should pay their fees. We believe that this is out of order as many of the said students will be unable to pay their own fees due to their background. This happens under a background of the university returning R90 Million to the NSFAS offices alleging that all poor and deserving students in the institution have been covered and a promise of R10 Million – which is yet to materialise – made by the lazy Vice-Chancellor of the institution.

We will accelerate the call for funding of students with our Free Education March on the 25th of September and we will ensure that we ask the ministry of higher education to answer the question of what happened to the R1 Billion that was announced at the beginning of the year as these same challenges are still prevalent. The organisation will also meet with NSFAS to force it to deal with challenges of students and not hide its hand in the sand thinking they will disappear as it usually does.

When an understanding was reached on Friday that the University management is to meet with the Student Representative Council on Monday to deal with these grievances, the university decided to suspend the SRC before the meeting could sit and thereby polarising the climate of negotiations. This is not only despotic but also incompetent of the university management.

As if this was not enough, the university management went further to fake a court order evicting students from the university and this in the main led to a serious unrest which moved to all campuses of the university, something that has not happened in the recent history of the institution. Many students were shot by security and police because of this fake eviction order.

SASCO will continue to support the legitimate right of students to protest as a means to having their issues addressed. We will not endorse any acts of vandalism by students or security personnel, as this works against the very interests of our students. We call on institutions and the police to exercise restraint and allow students to demonstrate freely. We are convinced that institutions impose interdicts and eviction orders in order to provoke students so that they can be arrested and expelled from our institutions. We must remind Vice Chancellors that our institutions are not their property, but belong to our people; therefore they must disabuse themselves from acting as if they own them. Students have a right to education and a constitutional right to raise their grievances through mass action. It is hypocrisy for these institutions to claim to uphold academic freedom and at the same time act aggressively against students who dare to question transformation at these institutions.

We sometimes wonder as to what these VCs discuss in Higher Education South Africa ( HESA) because just recently a number of institutions that experienced the same type of protests, on the issue of NSFAS, experienced this irrational response by the institutional managers. The Vaal University of Technology was shut down last week and students were sent packing, the SRC of the NMD Campus of Walter Sisulu University was disbanded out of the blue and the SRC of the Central University of Technology was expelled. These are all institutions participation in HESA and this causes us to believe that HESA exists as an institution for the design and execution of nefarious plans in universities.

Issued by the SASCO NEC

For more information contact:

Ntuthuko Makhombothi (President): 071 875 2209
Luzuko Buku (Secretary General): 071 879 3258