Wits SRC leader fears anarchy

Johannesburg, 24 February 2015 - The SRC at Wits has raised R1.8 million for students battling to pay for their studies as of Monday. This money is earmarked for students who are eligible for NFSAS assistance, but can't afford the upfront payment. Video: eNCA
Johannesburg, 24 February 2015 - The Wits University One-million 0ne-month campaign has exceeded its target in just over two weeks. And generous South Africans haven’t stopped giving. Video: eNCA

JOHANNESBURG – The Wits SRC is meeting with the institution's management on Tuesday morning to discuss lower registration fees for students in need. 

Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini says while the target R1-million was reached in almost half the time after launching the "One Million, One Month" fundraising campaign, only a hundred students would be able to register if the registration fee is kept at this year's rate of R9,300 a student. 

Dlamini has appealed to university management to be more generous to the over 2,000 students who stand to be denied an education should negotiations fall through. 

"We are raising money for the destitute. Why is the university so cruel? Why so harsh? They don't really need the money. We have generous donors," said Dlamini.

Dlamini said the SRC would continue with the fundraising initiative while they're in negotiation. 

"We've engaged more donors like The (Patrice) Motsepe Foundation," said Dlamini. 


Fearing the worst

Dlamini says he fears violent political interference in case the two parties fail to reach a timeous resolution.

"I am scared and the university must be scared as well. The fear is that political parties are all quiet. We took powers from all the political parties (on campus).

"I engaged them personally, to say give us time. We know what we are doing. They are waiting for that mistake and for us to say that we've failed and there will be anarchy."

Dlamini believes failure by the university to let the students enrol could also aggravate the students in need whom he believes "have nothing to lose". 

With the registration deadline fast approaching, Dlamini is also concerned about students missing out on lectures which may lead to their academic careers being compromised in the current year.

"We must also go back to class. I'm doing an LLB and I’ve never been to class (this year)," said Dlamini. 


'Protect our students'

The SRC has called on the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, Wits Chancellor Adam Habib, the university and the government to protect the students. 

He also wants Habib to provide answers as to why Nedbank have pulled out as a university sponsor.

"Nedbank was our largest donor. It used to close the shortfalls of NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme)."

The SRC earlier this month launched a "One-Million One-Month" campaign which surpassed expectations and continues to receive donations.

This money is earmarked for students who are eligible for NFSAS assistance but cannot afford to pay registration fees upfront.

The latest students can register is Friday, February 28. 

For detailed reports, watch the videos in the gallery above.


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