The South African Students Congress is going ahead with plans to shut down universities on Monday.
Among its demands is for historic debt to be wiped out.
The shutdown comes after the Wits student protests in Braamfontein last week.
Meanwhile, the Higher Education Department says it’s been speaking to student leaders about missing-middle students.
Students are demanding that none of them is excluded due to a lack of funds.
Universities say they don’t have the money to do this.
Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Buti Manamela said there are many challenges.
“Our economy has been on the decline. We’ve lost more than two million jobs during the COVID crisis,” he said.
“Many families’ income has been on the decline. People who would’ve ordinarily afforded, now can’t afford.
“What we’re saying is that we’re already have more than 54 percent of students whose parents are earning up to R350,000 per annum funded by the state.
“Secondly, that number is going to increase to about 60 percent. In fact if you break it down to universities and TVET colleges, in TVET colleges we have almost all students, in fact, I think there should be about 92 or 93 percent of students who go to TVET colleges who are not expected to pay anything as long as they can show that they qualify,” Manamela said.
“All Sassa beneficiaries don’t even have to say anything. All they have to show is that they are indeed Sassa beneficiaries and they go into universities and TVET colleges for free. Now what is at issue here is those students who are self-paying. The challenges are many.”