Home South African Acting public protector to meet with Nzimande over higher education crisis

Acting public protector to meet with Nzimande over higher education crisis

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The acting public protector will meet with the Minister of Higher Education and has also extended an invitation to the NSFAS CEO to address problems plaguing the higher education sector.

Wits students protest over registration related issues. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

THE OFFICE of the Public Protector has confirmed that Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka will be meeting with the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Blade Nzimande, on Tuesday night.

The meeting is said to be a part of the public protector’s multi-pronged mediation effort in finding solutions to the higher education free education crisis. The public protector will also be joined by representatives from the SA Human Rights Commission.

The Office of the Public Protector has also written to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) CEO, Andile Nongogo, for an urgent audience.

Meetings will also be requested with the South African Union of Students and the South African Universities Vice-Chancellors Association.

According to the Office of the Public Protector, it received numerous complaints last year relating to failure by NSFAS to pay for tuition, inadequate allowances for study material and non-payment of living allowances.

Since last week there has been a wave of disruptions at universities across the country due to students being blocked from registering for the 2021 academic year due to historical debt.

Students at higher education institutions from across the country protested calling for access to free education.

A man was killed in a stand-off between police and Wits University students.

“We see this volatility every year. Where is the planning? How do we make sure that students are in lecture halls at the start of each academic year rather than see them pouring into the streets to protest for access to tertiary education?” asked Gcaleka.

Gcaleka added: “How do we curb the arrests and the brutality at the hands of the police? We need to find lasting solutions.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Gcaleka visited the University of Venda, in Limpopo. She is scheduled to visit the University of the Free State, the University of Pretoria and the Tshwane University of Technology campus in Nelspruit.