SRC Mass Meeting on Monday

04 February 2019

Press release statement: For immediate release 

Submitted by Ms Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing & Communications: 

PRESS RELEASE STATEMENT: SRC MASS MEETING ON MONDAY 

On Friday, 01 February 2019, the SRC requested executive management to provide feedback to the students on the status of NSFAS allocations and other registration-related matters. The SRC convened a mass meeting scheduled to commence at 11h00, on Monday, 4 February 2019. However, the University has noted with concern inciting messages of mass student protests being circulated across different social media platforms. These messages are contrary to the discussions between MUT executive management and the SRC leadership and do not seem to have been posted by the SRC.

There seems to be individuals who are determined to dissuade the SRC from leading the student body and are even unwilling to accept gains made by the SRC in trying to work with executive management to make the registration process seamless and timely. These are some of the gains made by the SRC in negotiating challenges faced by students:

  1. Fee concessions

The SRC submitted a number of concessions which it wanted the University to meet as part of opening the doors of learning to all. The University published the concessions on the website and social media platforms.

  •  All cash paying, final year students will be allowed to register provided that they produce a signed letter from the HoD confirming that they have less than 3 subjects left to complete their qualification.  The student will also have to pay the applicable deposit.
  • All NSFAS approved students for 2019, who are in their final year, will be allowed to register.
  • The bursary awarded students will be allowed to register if they comply with the approved concessions, that is, they will be allowed to register if they owe less than R10 000.
  • Students will be allowed to pay deposit for accommodation if they owe less than R10 000.
  • All post-graduate students will be allowed to register irrespective of what they owe.
  • Regarding the Mathematics Pre-Tech issue, EMC has appointed a Task Team to investigate the matter of Pre-Tech students that failed mathematics. The task team will look at the statistics and propose possible means to address the matter.
  1. Notional allowances 

Toward this end, about 8000 students are approved by NSFAS and should receive their first payments before close of business on Monday, 04 February 2019

The University has engaged the SRC to make them aware that the allowances are allocated according to the capped national allowances which the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) has issued for all universities. The meal allowance will be R14,400 per annum whereas the learning materials’ allowance is R5,000. Unfortunately, this decision is not going down well with the SRC as in the past two years, MUT students were receiving R16,000 per annum for meal allowances as well as R7,000 for learning materials, in line with a decision MUT took in 2017.

The directive for the capping came in 2018, after MUT had already started paying the allowances according to its decisions.  The DHET then gave MUT a concession, but only for 2018.  From 2019 onwards, MUT is expected to adhere to the limits issued by the Department.

Nonetheless, the University negotiated with DHET to allow MUT to exceed the notional allowances but was not successful.  The University understands the students’ frustration on what the reduced fees mean for them. There are some collaborative programmes which the University will propose to the SRC. As things stand, there is a Student Pantry that has been put up through the donation of one of the MUT alumni. Needy students will be provided with a basic start up pack and the SRC has commenced an initiative on to provide students with sanitary towels. The University is fully behind this initiative and has commenced discussions with some partners in this regard.

  1. Update on student numbers

By Friday, 01 February, the University had registered 11,900 students of its targeted 12,500 students of which 600 are expected to register in the second semester.

  1. Residence allocation

With regard to residence allocation, the process is currently underway. The University will do its best to ensure that NSFAS funded students get accommodation. The University provides students sufficient time to choose a student residence of their choice. The residence pre-allocation project was completed in December 2018. However, allocation is based on the capacity of that residence. It is impossible to accommodate every student on campus but  campus residences can only take a certain number of students. In this regard, the University is offering alternative accommodation.

Conclusion

The University urges students to accept the allowances and ensure that the African child gets the utmost education. Every day, hour, minute, second is important in filling the African child with knowledge. The words of one of our democracy’s Founding Fathers should inspire the MUT son/daughter to become something:

  • “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
  • “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Issued by the Marketing & Communications Department