Some international students at Wits University in Johannesburg claim they are unfairly discriminated against by the institution. 

A group of international students at Wits University have claimed unfair treatment at the hands of the institution’s bureacracy but this is not the case according to international students office manager Gita Patel.

Patel denied claims made by the students that the university discriminates against non-South African students. According to the students, they are forced to pay 75% of their fees upfront and are charged an application fee that is seven times more than that for South African students.

Patel said there are consequences for the university when international students deregister and decide to go back to their home countries. “It is difficult for the university to get that money back.”

“I doubt that the university will review their plan because collecting the balance of the 25% has been difficult as well,” Patel said.

Zimbabwean Students Society Chairperson Tanshinga Sakwiya said the international students office is making an invalid excuse. “How many students register a year? Who would use their money to come to South Africa and then decide to leave without finishing their degree?” Sakwiya asked.

Sakwiya said there are lots of processes followed by international students which include providing evidence that they can afford to pay their fees. “The international students office does not make sense, other South African universities like University of Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University are doing away with the upfront fee business, why Wits can’t do the same thing,” he said.

The Wits SRC (Students Representative Council) has undertaken to draft a memorandum to send to Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Habib which details the grievances of the international students.