University of Kwazulu natal
UKZN campus remains volatile after violent student protests erupted on campus grounds at the beginning of the academic year. Protesters committed acts of arson and damaged property on the Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses with the HIV support center at Howard College campus being one of the recent buildings to be set alight.
The students protested against the requirements that UKZN management put forth stating that students will only be able to register for the new academic year if they pay off 15% of their historical debt. The students submitted an open letter to the university management asking them to allow students to register for the academic year despite not being able to pay the required percentage of historical debt.
University of Western Cape
UWC also saw its students take to the streets to protest against conditions put forth by the University for registering students who had historical debt. The open letter formulated by students has the following demands:
- A call for the immediate postponement of the start of the academic year to 10 February 2020;
- Clearance for registration; and,
- Student accommodation.
However, the postponement was said to be unlikely as UWC kept its campus open in January to accommodate students who were ready to register. Gasant Abarder, UWC spokesperson,
stated that the university “will never turn away an academically deserving student on the grounds of student debt” and explains that the SRC demands for bulk clearance goes against UWC policy.
Students protested accommodation as the outsourcing of hostels that was declared last year meant that fewer beds will be provided for students. However, Abrader explains that “The University had been able to secure 766 bed spaces to accommodate the students previously residing at South Point as well as new qualifying first-year students.”
Stellenbosch University has temporarily banned alcohol in residences and university houses in an attempt to combat alcohol abuse among students, as well as gender-based violence. The temporary ban came into effect on 1 January.
The university said the decision was reached due to the rising concern for students. Two incidents were highlighted; the first being of a student who choked in his sleep after a night out, last year, and the second being with regard to the global issue of gender-based violence.
Compiled by Susanna Anbu and Sam Mukwamu