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Wed Jun 01 01:51:03 SAST 2016

Door to higher education shut in Roberta's face

Sipho Masombuka | 19 January, 2016 00:25
LOCKDOWN: The current tension across the country's campuses remains acute as students and workers at the University of Pretoria protest over the outsourcing of maintenance services

Roberta Scognamiglio, 19, has been trying to register for her first-year BCom economics and management degree for the past two weeks but the University of Pretoria's gates remain shut.

Yesterday she and her parents again went away frustrated because the gates to the main campus in Arcadia were locked to keep protesters out.

Security guards in riot gear watched from inside.

The university is under lockdown as protesters demand that employees be hired full-time and be paid a minimum of R10000 a month.

"All I need is to hand in the contract for registration. The university's online facility is [ not working]. I'm unable to get residence without full registration," Scognamiglio said.

Her father, Marco, said he sympathised with the protesters but he did not understand why people were prevented from accessing university services.

"It's the university that must be pressured, not those who need access to its services," he said.

For cleaner Rebecca Hlongwane, a single mother of three from Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, the cause is just.

She has worked for the cleaning company contracted to the university for four years but takes home only R1900 a month. She has nothing left after paying for groceries, transport and rent.

"It is a daily struggle for survival," she said.


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