UWC SRC: We want free education, but 0% increase is a start

2015-10-23 17:22
(Paul Herman, News24)

(Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town - University of Western Cape (UWC) SRC president Akona Landu has said the student body is happy with President Jacob Zuma's announcement of a 0% increase in university fees, but that it was only "a start".

Speaking to News24 outside a packed Student Centre on the Bellville campus in Cape Town, where UWC Rector Tyrone Pretorius addressed the students publically for the first time this week, Landu said UWC students welcomed the decision.

The Bellville campus was the scene of clashes between students and police on Thursday night.

Students nationwide protested against proposed fee hikes for 2016. Zuma announced on Friday afternoon that there would be no increases.

"We are happy with the outcome in terms of the 0% increase for 2016," she told News24 on Friday.

"We just want confirmation that all universities have agreed.

"This question of autonomy has been hanging over our heads in that institutions decide their fee structure for themselves.

"However, we do welcome the decision from government."

There was a general sense of satisfaction within the UWC student camp following the announcement on Friday, while some students were just happy to start concentrating on end-of-year exams.

Others though, including a former UWC SRC deputy president, felt the 0% increase was not enough.

"#FeesMustFall does not mean that there will be no increase. It means there must be no fees," he told News24 on condition of anonymity.

Other students, though, felt a drastic switch to a free education system was too impractical to implement quickly, and felt the 0% increase was "good enough, for now".

Landu agreed the intervention from the President was "a start".

"We do agree with the free education cause, we want to see it in our lifetime," Landu said.

"We see the 0% fee increase as a start, but we also want a plan on how we can achieve free education going forward."

UWC spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said the university could not yet comment formally on the implications of the president's announcement.

"We do sympathise with the students' cause, but we need to look at the official document to see how this will affect the institution financially," he said.

Read more on:    uwc  |  cape town  |  university fees

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