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CPUT students to face the law following protest

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Students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology were forced to sleep on the streets after being evicted from their accommodation. This follows their lease agreements being terminated and an alleged court interdict.

Ndumiso Davsidson, the chief executive of the privately owned property explained that, the eviction follows after students’ protest which led to criminal charges which includes arson, public violence, and malicious intent to damage property.

Nine students were charged and asked to leave the accommodation premises on Sunday.

“The eviction must be seen in context. These students are accused of a range of criminal activities including damage to property, public violence, arson, and interfering with the operations of the residence,” said CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley.

Protests were sparked by students wanting their issues to be undertaken by the University in response to Covid-19. Students were asking that health protocols be relaxed. In response to this the university explained that it had little or no control over the regulations.

The SA Union of students spokesperson also added that, ” If South Point couldn’t accommodate the students then they had no business accommodating them in universities”.

Kansley agrees with the decision taken against the students and further said that the rights of the majority of students and staff to live, study and work should never be threatened.

” A further six students were arrested on the 1st of September and are currently awaiting trail.”

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Universities

Universities with rising Covid-19 cases will be shut down

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IMAGE: @GovernmentZA (Twitter)

Higher Education Science and Innovation Minister Dr Blade Nzimande revealed that the rising Covid-19 cases within universities are a cause for concern as this will lead the department to shut down these universities.

During a briefing on the reopening of universities, the Minister mentioned that there were 3888 confirmed positive cases. The department’s duty will be to closely monitor universities to ensure that both students and staff are safe.

Minister Nzimande also mentioned that the department is expecting to receive statics this week which will determine the action the department should take in terms of allowing students and staff access to universities.

“In universities, there were positive cases that were reported of about 3 888 with 1 499 staff and 1 588 students. The total number of deaths by 13 November was 58 – 48 staff, 10 students. As I’m saying, we will be receiving updated reports on infections and fatalities on the 20th of this month and we want to make it clear that if we identify that there is a rapid increase in particular institutions or campuses of infections, we will close those institutions, no doubt about that. ”

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The ups and downs of the 2021 academic year

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Universities are preparing to begin the 2021 academic year. This has however been met with challenges as some universities had to lower their first-year intake.

The University of South Africa (UNISA) lowered its first-year intake by 20 000 to ensure sustainability. Another reason was due to the inability of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme ( NSFAS) to meet the high demands.

This decision has received backlash as a lot of student hopefuls won’t be receiving access to study.

The University has said that this move was necessary and it also follows an order from Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, which serves to prevent the university from experiencing a backlog when the academic year starts in March.

“From what I can gather, the minister’s question to limit Unisa’s intake is really to bring it back into its enrollment planning. What that means is that Unisa will be in a position where it is admitting 20,000 fewer students this year and that, of course, has consequences in terms of access.”, said Universities South Africa CEO Ahmed Bawa.

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UKZN halts re-opening for the year 2021

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As Institutions of Higher learning are preparing to re-open for the 2021 academic year, they are also looking into unpacking the implications of new COVID-19 regulations.

The University of Kwazulu-Natal postponed its re-opening on January 4 until January 18. According to the university’s spokesperson Normah Zondo, the university decided to suspend its reopening due to that, “both the district municipalities within which UKZN campuses are located have been declared Covid-19 hotspots.”

The university will revisit this decision once further directives are given by the President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande.

It was further stated that the University will continue with its academic activities online and that registration processes will take place online, commencing on the 18th of January.

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