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Prof Thuli Madonsela, the Law Trust Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University (SU), members of the SU Student Representative Council (SRC) and certain student political organisations, officially launched the Action for Inclusion campaign at a special press conference in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve on Saturday 7 March.

According to Thembalethu Seyisi, member of the Action for Inclusion campaign, “the initiative aims to eradicate the amount of historical student debt posed by students at SU”.

“The issue that this initiative aims to tackle, is being done to prevent problems such as certain students not being able to register and thus prevent subsequent calls for help towards big corporates from ensuing. The initiative further attempts to provide student funding for students who are identified as being in need of the specific aid,” Seyisi said.

Lewis Mboko, the SRC Chairperson, stated that Action for Inclusion aims to allow for students and potential students from all backgrounds to enjoy an education that allows them to reach their full potential.

“We believe in social justice in the sense that if you look at the context of South Africa and people in universities, we all come from different backgrounds financially. The problem of not having the financial muscle shouldn’t be stopping you from getting your degree and exploring your full potential,” Mboko said.

The figurehead of the project, Madonsela, urged all South Africans to take part, donate and show support for the initiative.

 “Action for Inclusion is a crowdfunding initiative which uses action to bring attention to this plight of students and gets this crowd, which is the village of South Africa and hopefully the rest of the world to contribute to the crowd fund,” Madonsela said.

Madonsela is of the opinion that government or corporate South Africa should step in and provide help in the form of suretyship.

“Either government or corporate South Africa should provide surety because whilst you are collecting the money someone has to step in and provide a guarantee for the money to be paid. Considering the size of the nation and the resources between us this is really nothing – it is just a question of joining hands,” Madonsela said.

This movement for funding came only a day after Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, urged students and universities to work together in order to resolve student debt.

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