The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has set aside a decision by the Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to have the University of South Africa (Unisa) reduce its first-time student intake for the year 2021.
As a result of the decision, Unisa accepted only 38 000 first-year students which was around 20 000 less than what was anticipated.
The case was brought by the EFF Student Command and SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) joined the case as a friend of the court.
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“In what is a victory for education and the future of South Africa, the court has affirmed the application by the EFF Student Command, and the position by the EFF that the exclusion of 20 000 students constitutes a regressive anti-intellectual decision that will subject thousands of young people to the streets of this country, crime and unemployment,” the EFF said in a statement.
It also welcomed the court’s order for Nzimande to pay the costs of the court process, including the cost of counsel of the EFF Student Command.
The SAHRC said it had found the decision to be an impediment to the realisation of the right to further education, which prompted it to apply to be a friend of the court.
“The High Court today agreed with the applicants and the commission. The court ordered that the decision by the minister and Unisa be reviewed and set aside,” it added in a statement.
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“The implications of this decision are wide and far-reaching, but primarily this decision is an important first step in dealing with the many challenges and huddles confronting South African students.
“To this effect, the commission is overjoyed at the prospects of thousands of South Africans enjoying access to higher education. The commission will engage government to ensure that the right to further education is progressively realised on an urgent basis.”