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29 March 2019 | Story Lacea Loader

No deregistration of students at the University of the Free State (UFS) will be effected until after the Financial Appeals Committee has concluded its process on 5 April 2019.

During a meeting between the university management and the Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) today, the following agreement was reached:

  1. The date for the submission of appeals has been extended to Tuesday 2 April 2019 at 12:00. No further extension will be given. The application form for the Financial Appeals Committee has previously been sent to the ufs4life email addresses of all provisionally registered students.
  2. Students who have appealed their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) outcomes will not be deregistered while awaiting the result of the outcome of their appeal.
  3. Verified final-year students who are provisionally registered will not be deregistered. This will be subject to verification by the Financial Appeals Committee. These students must also submit an appeal.
  4. All other categories of students must submit their appeals to the Financial Appeals Committee.

NB: The documentation mentioned above must be submitted to the Student Finance Office as indicated on the financial appeals form sent to students via their ufs4life email address.

The UFS has taken a pro-poor approach to assist students who are academically deserving. With this approach, the university’s fee structure is much less than that of many public institutions of higher learning in the country. Senior students are also supported through a provisional registration process that grants them the opportunity to pay a reduced amount in order to register, enabling them to fully participate in all activities while extension is provided to secure the necessary funding for their studies.

The university has made a number of concessions to ensure that students are not financially excluded during the 2019 academic year. Many of these concessions were raised by the ISRC on behalf of students and was agreed upon by the university management.  

These concessions include:

  1. Students who have confirmed NSFAS funding for 2019 with historic debt, are to secure registration. This has taken place before the announcement on 24 March 2019 by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor, that the historic debt of NSFAS students will be settled by the department.

     

  2. Students in the missing middle who received a gap grant in 2018, have been assisted to pay a lesser amount to register fully for 2019.

     

  3. Students with historic debt who are not receiving the gap grant have also been assisted to register for 2019. Acceptable payment plans for these students have been agreed upon with the university’s Student Finance Office.

     

  4. First-time entering students were assisted with a reduced first payment to enable them to register for 2019.

     

  5. Final-year students with historic debt of less than R20 000 who could not have been assisted in any of the above concessions explained above were allowed to register.

     

  6. Students who are provisionally registered and who could not find the necessary financial means, had the opportunity to submit appeals to the Financial Appeals Committee by 29 March 2019 to secure their registration. This committee comprises representatives of the university management, as well as members of the ISRC. This committee is scheduled to meet on 5 April 2019.

The above is evidence of the multi-layered efforts by the university to support academic deserving students as far as it is practically possible in order to avoid financial exclusion. Additionally, the university’s Student Finance Office has since the beginning of the academic year communicated extensively on the process with students who are at risk of being deregistered.  

Historically, less than 0,5% of registered students at the UFS are not able to find the necessary means to secure their registration.

To support students in their academic efforts, all matters pertaining to registration should be concluded by the end of the first term. A cut-off date is set by which all registration processes – including concessions – are to be concluded. This date – 31 March 2019 – has already been set in 2018, which is the result of consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including the IRSC.

This cut-off date has now been extended to Tuesday 2 April 2019 at 12:00.

Released by:

Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Marketing)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393



News Archive

Democracy and traditional leadership in rural areas explored
2017-09-22

Description: Democracy Tags: Democracy, customary law, human rights, research, constitution 

Prof Lungisile Ntsebeza, recipient of the NRF Hamilton
Naki Award
Photo: Supplied


The Free State Centre for Human Rights held a presentation by Prof Lungisile Ntsebeza on 7 September 2017 at the University of the Free State (UFS) Bloemfontein Campus on the topic of democracy and traditional leadership in rural areas. Prof Ntsebeza is the holder of the AC Jordan Chair in African Studies at the University of Cape Town and the holder of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Chair in Land Reform and Democracy in South Africa. 

Conflict between democracy and traditional rule
The topic of democracy and traditional leadership in the rural areas is an example of the tension between democracy and customary law governing the appointment of traditional leaders (headmen) that is currently at play in many parts of the country. Prof Ntsebeza made reference to a court case in the Eastern Cape, where a community successfully challenged the appointment of a headman by the royal family of the area. The contention was whether royal families could appoint headmen in rural communities or if those communities ought to democratically elect their own leaders. He argued that in this specific case, the democratic imperatives of the Constitution did not conflict with customary law because of the particular communal practice of electing leaders. 

The Constitution and customary law

The Constitution of South Africa recognises customary law provisions which are not in conflict with its fundamental values. Difficult legitimacy problems may arise where customary practices are different from those governing this particular case. Ultimately the Constitutional Court would be called upon to resolve inherent tensions and develop customary law in line with the direction foreseen in the Constitution.

Student engagement as a vehicle for change
The event was attended by UFS staff and fourth-year LLB students in the Faculty of Law, and was funded by the Free State Centre for Human Rights at UFS. The programme is one of several that the centre seeks to utilise in engaging students with researchers and scholars in the field of law and human rights. Prof Ntsebeza has given academic presentations on various related and trending topics in the current academic climate, such as decolonising the curriculum, Cecil John Rhodes and others. He was recently awarded the Hamilton Naki Award at the 2017 National Research Foundation Awards.

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