Fees Must Fall protest at Parliament on October 21, 2015 in Cape Town. Image credit: Getty Images
Black First Land First Student Movement (BLF-SM) condemns Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, for not meeting the demands of the South African Union of Students (SAUS), after being put on terms to do so within 7 days from 16 January this year failing which a national shutdown of all universities will be embarked upon.
We support the call by SAUS for a national shutdown all campuses until all its demands are met.
BLF-SM is not surprised by the actions of Nzimande. Heis the same minister who at the height of the #FeesMustFall protests refused to listen to the call for Free Education.
We know that the pseudo-communist worked in cahoot with Sizwe Nxasana, the former chairperson of the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to throw poor students to the vampires called banks through their Ikusasa Lethu Programme.
It took the gallant efforts and resilient spirit of the the Fees Must Fall Movement to achieve, among other things, Free Education for the poor. Also giant steps were made towards making sure that students from working class families are able to go to university even if their families can’t afford it. Nzimande has even taken away the progressive grant subsidy of the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) that covered the shortfall of fee increases up to 8% and enabled millions of students to register even when carrying historic debt.
Today Nzimande is in cahoots with the Universities South Africa (USAf) to action a mass financial exclusion bloodbath in the public universities.
We are not surprised by this because ever since this new dawn government of Cyril Ramaphosa came into place it has sought to reverse all gains made by the poor during the Zuma administration.
BLF-SM calls on all progressive forces to join the #NationalShutdown until the following demands of the students are met:
‘1. Allocation of debt relief fund for clearance of student debts and all students with historical debts must be allowed to register.
2. Students must be given their academic records and certificates despite them owing universities.
3. Post-graduate students and B-Techs must be allowed to register. We are demanding postgraduate funding.
4. Correct accreditation process for private accommodation.
5. Free registration for vulnerable, poor and missing middle students.
6. Re- opening of NSFAS applications for new students and walk inns.
7. Revision of the DHET bursary guidelines to include submissions made by SRC Presidents last year especially on off campus students allowances and free sanitary towels for womxm students.
8. Increase of enrollment quotas amidst the high pass matric rate of 83.1 %.
9. A clear implementation plan for student Mental health, safety and security in campuses.
10. Inclusion of UNISA in all allowances.
11. DHET must address the shortage of student accommodation, decaying infrastructure for teaching and learning.
12. Expedite the NSFAS appeals process and elimination of n+1 and reinstatement of n+2 rule.
13. Food security for hungry poor students who are unfunded.
14. Improving the central application process and redesign the CACH to avoid excluding students.
15. Fees must fall in all universities that increased fees without consultation with the SRC.’
Let’s defend the gains of students to ensure that no academically deserving student suffers financial exclusion.
Issued by the Black First Land First-Student Movement
27 January 2020
National Secretary for Student Affairs