South Africa: Nzimande Condemns Violence At University of Zululand, Calls for New SRC

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has condemned recent violence at the embattled University of Zululand and called for the re-establishment of the Student Representative Council (SRC).

This after he met with the institution's management and student structures after a protest that resulted in students allegedly setting university and private properties alight.

The violent incidents included the torching of police and university vehicles as well as an SSD building, the use of intimidation and inflammatory language against students and staff, and an attack on the current SRC administrator.

The university suspended academic activities.

"Following these violent incidences, I would like to restate my condemnation to violence that characterised the student protest at this university and other universities and TVET colleges throughout our country," Nzimande said in a statement on Monday.

"These instances of violence provides no solution to student concerns but rather delay the implementation of the agreements reached with students through the South African Union of Students (SAUS)," he added.

Financial issues

Nzimande said he had met with the SAUS to discuss a framework on student financial support and to discuss matters raised by it in its memorandum on 31 January.

"It is in the meeting with the SAUS, which represents all SRCs, where it agreed to call off the national shutdown with immediate effect in the wake of the common understanding and agreements reached in the meeting.

"We agreed with the SAUS and USAf [Universities of South Africa] that institutional matters will be dealt with at institutional level, however my door as a minister and that of my department will always be open for further consultation," Nzimande said.

Both parties agreed he would facilitate engagements between the university council and student representatives.

Election of the SRC

Nzimande added all parties had agreed processes should be put in place to re-establish the SRC.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme

He said the meeting had resolved there should be a process to categorise students who have been academically and financially excluded.

"This process will then lead to the finalisation of the registration process for these categories of student."I would like to restate what I said on my media briefing on 26 February that our funding guidelines provides for the implementation parameters for the 2020 DHET bursary scheme, and sets out the high-level policy applicable to the scheme, including the roles and responsibilities of students, universities and the NSFAS."

The closure of the university

Nzimande said all parties in the meeting had resolved that all outstanding issues be discussed, including the reopening of the university and return of stability.

"Of importance is the need for all role players to work together to identify problems and seek to resolve them timeously and at an institutional level."

Source: News24

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