The South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) has demanded Unisa Sunnyside campus respond to their grievances.
This comes after the organisation accused the Unisa finance department of the maladministration of national funding scheme allowances since 2018, reports Pretoria East Rekord.
On Monday, Sasco protested outside the Sunnyside campus, where they gave the university seven days to respond to their demands.
Sasco president Avela Mjajubana said the alleged mismanagement of allowances and the apparent lack of capacity “has led to the unprecedented failure of approximately 22,000 students who were academically deserving in the previous academic year”.
Mjajubana said the students failed due to the university’s “lack of efficacy and late arrival of learning material such as laptops, study guides and books amongst others”.
“The organisation understands that these allowances are, by their nature and design, meant to augment the living and learning conditions of students who come from poor and working-class backgrounds. The university is failing to provide basic services that relate to the very core existence of higher learning institutions,” he said.
The organisation’s demands include the unblocking of all National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students’ results, and that they are allowed to register.
Sasco demanded that the university should let NSFAS students proceed with 2020 registrations.
“They should ensure a dignified exam marking process and sort all discrepancies like marking taking place at McDonald’s. Lastly, they should admit all qualifying students, who enrolled for higher certificates in 2019, who intend to study for their national diplomas.
Unisa said internal investigations were ongoing to see if there was a mismanagement of funds.
Acting director of communications Lusani Netshitomboni said: “We are definitely looking at those allegations made by Sasco. There’s an audit that has to be done and once the investigation is done, we will be in a place to give comment. For now, those are just allegations.”
Unisa spokesperson Edgar Rathelele said that a meeting with the university’s students’ structure was held on Friday to discuss NSFAS queries.
“During that meeting, we came up with solutions. It was agreed that NSFAS students who have been approved and have outstanding debts will be able to register in 2020.
“NSFAS students with lodged appeals will be able to register in 2020, pending NSFAS appeals outcome on condition they sign the acknowledgement of debt with Unisa.”