Home South Africa News Acting public protector to meet Minister Blade Nzimande over student protests

Acting public protector to meet Minister Blade Nzimande over student protests

Kholeka Gcaleka

Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka is expected to meet virtually with Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande on Tuesday evening.

This comes amid student protests at various institutions over financial exclusion and the scrapping of historical debt.

The Office of Public Protector said the meeting between advocate Gcaleka and Nzimande is part of mediation efforts aimed at finding lasting solutions to the challenges that have seen students declare a shutdown of universities across the country.

Gcaleka said on Monday over the next five weeks she would visit six institutions of higher learning nationwide to engage with management, student representative councils and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) on issues related to access to tertiary education.

She also said her office was investigating allegations that NSFAS had incurred irregular expenditure amounting to R7 billion.

On Tuesday, Gcaleka was joined by the provincial representative of the South African Human Rights Commission, Victor Mavhidula, at the University of Venda in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. They engaged with the institution’s management, student leadership, and the NSFAS campus office.

Gcaleka said she had also written to NSFAS chief executive officer Andile Nongogo to secure an urgent audience with him.

“We see this volatility every single year. The question is where is the planning? How do we make sure that students are in lecture halls at the start of each academic year rather that see them pouring into the streets to protest for access to tertiary education? How do we curb the arrests and the brutality at the hands of the police? We need to find lasting solutions,” Gcaleka said.

Over the next weeks, the acting public protector will also visit the Tshwane University of Technology campus in Nelspruit, the Orbit TVET College in Rustenburg, the University of the Free State in Mangaung, and King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College in Mthatha, as well as Unisa in Pretoria.

-The Citizen

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