Friday, March 18, 2011

SASCO Medunsa Interrupts Higher Education Minister

The South African Students Congress (SASCO) has interrupted the public lecture by Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

The students from the University of Limpopo’s MEDUNSA campus and the Tshwane University of Technology are demanding free education in all tertiary institutions in South Africa. The medical students say they want MEDUNSA management to resign, more accommodation for their campus and to be an independent university as it was in the past.

They never allowed Nzimande a chance to start his lecture as they arrived late and started chanting as he was starting his speech. Their songs called him “imenene”, an isiXhosa word meaning a traitor. They also sang a song that repeated the word “dubula” (isiZulu for shoot). Before granting him the opportunity to speak they demanded that the police and security personnel evacuate the room, a request that was denied.

Nzimande asked them to sit down, but they refused to listen leading to the minister to evacuate the room and returned minutes later to engage them on the issues they were angry about.

Various student organisations have called for free education in different universities around South Africa. Nzimande believes it’s too early for them to make this demand as he hasn’t been in office long enough to make relevant changes to the education system, but says he has made some progress towards that demand. “NSFAS students have been removed from being blacklisted.”

Despite Nzimande trying to engage the students on these issues they were still not happy with what he was telling them resulting in him saying he will engage them at whichever moment the choose. “I will drop whatever I am doing and come to you.”

The interruptions at TUT followed a SASCO protest through Pretoria to Nzimande’s offices earlier in the day. He wasn’t there sending a representative from his office. This angered the students leading to the disruptions at TUT.


  1. Isn't it early for the students to start demanding free education? Can it be posibly achieved at this point of time as South Africa is still facing the "economic crisis"? I personaly don't know who to ask these questions but they keep on crossing my mind... A month ago, the President delivered the SONA. He mentioned mellions of rands that are intended to "perform" certain aspects in the Higher Education and Training, The finance minister also delivered the Budget Speech weeks ago, but can those millions allocated cater for all the students in a form of free Education? Are the students considering both the addresses before they start with the demands? because surely they must have misinterpreted it or confused of how the money is allocated to them. My angle on this comment is based on the demanded Free Education... Can South Africa afford it now??

  2. That is so disrespectful. the SASCO ans are suppose to be representing us is this really how we want to be represented?.Free education will never work because there are students who take a 3 year course for 6 playing with school resources.Perfection takes time we should be saying government should be giving bursaries to students who passed.As a student i can see its hard to make ends meet but free education is not the key not right now, go back to your drawing boards and think this through.MR Ndzimane did not deserve that kind of attitude i think the students should apologise, yes all of us are angry but thats no way to treat an adult.......... students should write him an apology