As the first of April looms, many students at the University of the Free State (UFS) will be subject to deregistration – a process of removing students with tuition fee debt, from the system.
Students at the university’s Qwa-Qwa campus demonstrated on Monday March 27 against the deregistrations. The Student Representative Council (SRC) met with the students to compile a memorandum of demands. The main agenda of the memorandum appealed to management to scrap deregistration entirely. The memorandum was submitted to management as protests continued, with security booths set alight and scattering the grounds with debris.
Later during that day, management called for an end to academic activity and since then the campus has been shut down. SRC president Njabulo Mwali said the strike will continue until their demands are met. Mwali said management is unwilling to negotiate with the students and has ordered all deregistered students to leave.
“There are students from Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, they have no money for transport yet the university is ordering them to leave. Where should they go?” Mwali said.
Students at the Bloemfontein campus await the prospect of deregistration with bated breath, hoping that their newly elected SRC will be able to negotiate an extension with management. Bloemfontein campus SRC president Sikhululekile Luwaca revealed that management seems unwilling to yield to the pleas of the students and if they continue to do so, Luwaca confirmed that there will be a strike on the Bloemfontein campus.
Students who have received National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursaries are still waiting for the funds to reflect and with only a day left until deadline, it is likely that these NSFAS students will soon find themselves returning home.
- More on this story to follow
Written by: Tammy Fray