Universities SA CEO calls for solution to student protests

Students from a number of campuses around the country are protesting and demanding the eradication of debt and free registration for the poor.

The CEO of Universities South Africa Professor Ahmed Bawa says a sustainable and concrete solution is needed to deal with demands by students countrywide.

Professor Bawa’s comment comes amid protests and suspension of classes at some tertiary institutions.

He says negotiations are under way between universities, representatives of students and government to resolve the ongoing impasse.

“Most of the issues that have been raised by students are issues that can be resolved. The issue of historic debts … that could be resolved at the universities and that can be resolved at the national level. So, then what I know is that every single vice chancellor’s team, is talking to students. There is no university that communication is not taking place. So, I think we really have to try and find other ways of solving these problems. It is not going to be solved by shutting down the universities.”

Earlier, scores of students at the North West University’s Mahikeng campus picketed at the main entrance of the university.

The students brought registration to a halt on Monday as part of the South African University Student Union’s (SAUSU) call for a seven-day national shutdown of all public universities.

The union is demanding the eradication of debt, free registration for the poor and a revision of guidelines for accreditation of student accommodation.

The students have vowed to continue protesting until their demands are met.