Too early to celebrate

2015-10-24 10:00
A student holds a banner aloft during the march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday.

A student holds a banner aloft during the march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday. (Theana Breugem)

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Pietermaritzburg - Do not pop your champagne corks yet, independent political analyst Xolani Dube has told students.

Yesterday, President Jacob Zuma announced that university heads and students’ leaders had agreed on a zero percent fee increment for next year.

However, Dube said the students should not take this as a victory.

During their nationwide protest under the banner #FeesMustFall, the students had said the current system was excluding poor students.

Dube said he did not understand how yesterday’s agreement would benefit those who cannot afford university fees.

“The core of the matter was free education. The big question is, how many of these students are going to be re-admitted by universities? Will universities allow those in debt to register for next year? What about those who do not have registration fees for next year?

“This will only benefit those who can afford to pay for university fees. This will benefit those at Wits and the University of Cape Town (UCT),” he said.

Dube said the protest had highlighted class segregation in society.

“When University of South Africa students slept outside over being excluded, nobody talked about them. When Durban University of Technology and Mangosuthu University of Technology students were being hit by stun grenades, everybody just kept quiet.

“University of KwaZulu-Natal students were protesting for three weeks and some of them were arrested, but nobody talked about that.

“As soon as the Wits and UCT students started protesting, then the country rallied behind them. This shows that the life of the poor is not being respected.

“Obviously their protests were very different. At Wits and UCT, protesting students were given sandwiches and drinks, but they did not have that privilege at other universities,” he said.

Dube also questioned who “the real enemy” was in the fee increment protest.

“At the beginning, these students were fighting against university administrations, which were shutting out poor students. After three days, they marched to the ANC headquarters. Some universities were supplying these students with buses to go to the Union Buildings yesterday.

“Some of these universities have become private companies that are making big profits, but these students are not questioning them,” he said.

Dube said the government had managed to counter any political implications the protest might have had. “Local government elections are coming up next year. The hot spot for the students’ protest was Gauteng, which is targeted by opposition parties. So the government had to do something,” said Dube.

He said the country was likely to see more students’ protests next year

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  student protests  |  #feesmustfall

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