South Africa: University Academic Year Starts With a Death, Arrests and a Hunger Strike

analysis

Protest action has flared up around the country as students from university and TVET colleges began the academic year, demanding accommodation, National Student Financial Aid Scheme allowances and cancellation of historic debt. Within the first two weeks, scuffles between students, SAPS and private security broke out on multiple campuses that so far has left one student dead and scores arrested.

Before the academic year had started, the South African Union of Students (SAUS) called for a national shutdown of university campuses. The shutdown, announced on 7 February, was called in response to issues of historic debt, financial exclusion, problems around National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding and allowances, and accommodation issues.

Last week officials from the Department of Higher Education and Training, including Minister Naledi Pandor, met student leaders and representatives from NSFAS in Parliament to discuss student grievances. Pandor issued a statement in response to 12 issues raised by SAUS.

Volatile campuses

Despite commitments to resolve student grievances, protest action turned violent on Monday at the Umlazi Campus of Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) in Durban.

SAPS KwaZulu-Natal Provincial spokesperson, Major Thulani Zwane, told Daily Maverick that police officers "didn't use a lot of force" on students throughout...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.