0% fee hike: Students react with tears and jubiliation

2015-10-23 16:12
(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Cape Town - Students have reacted with tears and jubilation as news spread that President Jacob Zuma had agreed to a zero percent increase on student fees.

News24 reporter Jenni Evans said there were cheers outside Parliament where students had gathered.

Evans said motorists hooted and gave students a thumbs up, while some of the students started singing the national anthem.

"We got what we were asking for," said one student, adding that it had been very emotional to see their fellow students arrested.

Meanwhile at Stellenbosch University, where two students had been arrested earlier, there were tears of joy, said News24 reporter Kelly Andersen.

But not everyone was happy with the outcome.

At UWC, News24 reporter Paul Herman reported that students still wanted free education, rather than a zero percent increase

There were also concerns elsewhere that Zuma had not addressed the students - who had gathered in their thousands outside Union Buildings - directly.

In Durban, Walter Sisulu third year student, Athenkosi Tshayingwe said that Zuma had lied to demonstrators.

"Yes, it is a good thing that the fees won't increase. But that was obvious. The increases in some cases were more than 20%. He must not think he is doing us a favour by making that declaration. This solves zero problems. My life is still one that began in a poor township with no water, no toilets...nothing.

"We have to understand that university fees are too expensive. This is our problem. The #Feesmustfall began because we do not want to pay any fees whatsoever. Not so the president can stay in his air conditioned room and declare whatever he wants."

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University SRC president Nicholas Nyati had mixed feelings about Zuma's announcement.

"I am happy that the students were united, spoke in one voice and the government listened. I am disappointed because it took government a long time to respond to us... I am also worried about what will happen in 2017. Will the fee increase double because there will be no increase next year? Government  needs to come up with a better solution. We want free quality education."

Zuma addressed the nation at about 15:00 to make the announcement.

Students nationwide had protested the proposed fee hikes for 2016 for more than a week.

Protests began at Wits University before spreading to campuses throughout the country.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  stellenbosch  |  cape town  |  university fees

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