Students back at Parliament for 'date' with dept

2015-11-02 13:00
Students and workers outside Parliament. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Students and workers outside Parliament. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - About 100 students and university workers have arrived outside Parliament for their "Monday date" with Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduza Manana to hear the department's response to their ongoing #FeesMustFall battle.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

Two University of Cape Town (UCT) workers, who did not want to be named, said their achievements so far had been brought about by the unity between students and employees.

One explained since the commitment to stop outsourcing, she would have job security and medical aid.

She said it that finer details, like pay grading, still had to be worked out, but she was happy she would become a permanent UCT staffer.

While news on how government and universities would fund a multi-billion-rand shortfall after agreeing not to raise fees for 2016 were still under discussion, many of the protesters were still pushing for fees to be scrapped altogether.

Manana last week Thursday graciously donned a protest T-shirt offered to him by a group of protesters outside Parliament sporting the slogans #EndOutsourcing #FeesMustFall. He was pressed to say when he would respond and Monday was set as the date.

The group - made up of students and workers from various universities - handed over a memorandum on the day calling for an end to outsourcing at tertiary institutions and an explanation for "excessive force used by police" during nationwide student protests last week.

Days earlier the students scored a major victory with President Jacob Zuma announcing on October 23 there would be no fee increases next year.

‘Why did you shoot at us?’

"I want to thank you for this struggle... We have said this is a noble struggle," Manana told the crowd last week. "Thank you for reminding your government."

"But why did you shoot at us [referring to the police actions]?" some of the students wanted to know.

Holding out an olive branch, Manana apologised to students for feeling there was a deliberate delay "and an actual feeling that we have actually shelved the [free tuition feasibility] report".

"The report says free education is feasible, but we need to work with the private sector to find money. The national fiscus on its own can't do it."

He assured the group they would "definitely" investigate claims of police brutality.

On October 21, police fired stun grenades and arrested 29 people as protesters surged towards the National Assembly building.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  university fees

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