Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande rejected the claims of the South African Union of Students on Wednesday.Sauce) that there is an “eternal paralysis” in the Department of Higher Education and Training.
The Sauce issued a scathing: statement last week criticized Nzimande’s leadership of the department.
The organization claimed the department was riddled with incompetence and impunity, and accused Nzimande of turning a blind eye to student affairs.
“The union is frustrated by the ongoing paralysis of the Ministry of Higher Education, under the alleged leadership of Minister Blade Nzimande.
“The reality is that for the most part, the department operates on autopilot, with higher education institutions moving in different directions, without coordination,” said Saus national spokesman Asive Dlanjwa.
In a statement Nzimande hit back at Saus on Wednesday, saying he strongly disagreed with the union’s criticism of his department.
“I strongly disagree with this and reject the statement by the South African Student Union suggesting that there is an ongoing paralysis in the Ministry of Higher Education and Training.
“Without active involvement with all industry stakeholders (workers, staff, management and student representation) of our department, we would not have managed to work under very difficult conditions for the past two academic years,” Nzimande said.
Defending his department’s track record during the Covid-19 pandemic, the minister said he would continue to ensure that the national student financial aid scheme (Nsfas) paid stipends to the recipients.
He said they were also able to set up the Covid Grant to manage learning and education, engage mobile operators to provide data and Wi-Fi services, and partner with universities and colleges to provide laptops to more than 80% of the students.
“In fact, as a department, we are proud that through this activism and dynamic interaction with stakeholders, we have maintained our post-school education and training system.
“We would like to thank all our stakeholders and their representative organizations for this collaboration and collaboration.”
Nzimande assured all students that his department put their interests first.
He added that they have made ongoing agreements with organizations such as Saus about the state of readiness for the start of the 2022 academic year.
“If there are concerns that de Sauce has about an issue that concerns students within universities, there are institutional as well as ministerial and department-led forums to discuss all the concerns, as has been the case since the beginning of the year. †
Call to calm
Nzimande also called for calm in all higher education institutions and for cooperation between stakeholders to get the academic year off to a smooth start.
“Where there are disputes and complaints, structures are in place for student representatives and institution management.
“I urge student leaders and institution management to use these mechanisms to resolve issues amicably.”
compiled by Thapelo Lekabe