Leaders discuss fees

2016-10-26 06:00
The leaders of Campus Ministries Forum and the South African Council of Churches in the Free State are, from the left, Christo Louw, Kgotsi Hendricks, De la Harpe le Roux, Ester Jones and past. Alistair Kingwill.  Photo: Mlungisi Louw

The leaders of Campus Ministries Forum and the South African Council of Churches in the Free State are, from the left, Christo Louw, Kgotsi Hendricks, De la Harpe le Roux, Ester Jones and past. Alistair Kingwill. Photo: Mlungisi Louw

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Church leaders will meet with various stakeholders of the University of the Free State (UFS) to discuss the debacle of the students’ #FeesMustFall campaign when the campus re-opens on 1 November.

On Friday (21/10), the Campus Ministries Forum and the South African Council of Churches in the Free State submitted a plea to the institution regarding the recent conflict on campuses over the increase in tuition fees for the 2017 academic year.

Reverend Kgotsi Hendricks, addressing the media, said the ministries want to create a safe platform where all stakeholders involved will be able to address the ongoing FeesMustFall saga. The students’ anti-fees protest has been overshadowed by violent incidents and running battles with the police, leading to the arrest of some students.

According to Reverend Christo Louw, both organisations stand for greater access to quality education, specifically for poor students. The entities have called on government to assist in alleviating the immediate worrying situation, as well as finding a long-term solution in this regard.

“The voices of students, parents and staff, as well as those of management members, must be heard in the commitment to this ideal,” Hendricks said.

Following recent spates of violence on various university campuses across the country during the #FeesMustFall campaign, the organisations said they disagree with breaking the law, violating the rights of other students on the verge of completing their academic year or using violence or vandalism as a means to attain the ideal.

“Students are not all on the same page concerning the issue, so we need to engage each other,” Louw said.

The pastors have appealed for tolerance and respect when handling the FeesMustFall campaign.

Due to the eruption of violence, the UFS management was forced to suspend programmes on its Bloemfontein campus. The UFS announced that no teaching and learning activities at undergraduate and honours level would be offered between 17 and 28 October. The university will re-start teaching and learning at undergraduate and honours level in the first week of November.

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