ANC in Parliament pleads with students to be peaceful

2016-10-11 16:54
Jackson Mthembu (Susan Cilliers, Netwerk24)

Jackson Mthembu (Susan Cilliers, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The ANC in Parliament has pleaded with protesting students to conduct themselves peacefully and within the confines of the law, as they continue to demand free higher education.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu briefed the media on the results of the party's midterm lekgotla on Tuesday, and said party MPs were sympathetic to the demands of protesting students.

"The ANC remains unwavering in its commitment for the realisation of free higher education for undergraduates from poor and working class families," he told journalists.

"Free education is already being progressively implemented. No-fee education at poor public schools has already been realised, and poor students at all TVET colleges are receiving full bursary grants which they don't pay back.

"Students who are on NSFAS receive a full bursary for their final year of study. Next year, about 75% of the student population will not pay any fee increase."

The lekgotla expressed concern, though, at the adverse effects the ongoing protest would have on this academic year for current students, the new students who are set to join these universities next year, and for the country's economy, he continued.

Mthembu called on stakeholders to urgently sit down around the table, find one another, and thrash out a settlement with cool heads.

"All key stakeholders must do everything necessary to save the current academic year and find a lasting solution for the progressive realisation of free education."

The Heher commission into free higher education is scheduled to release its interim report next month. Mthembu said the commission needed to accelerate its inquiry.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande is due to address the fees crisis in the National Assembly next week.

Read more on:    anc  |  jackson mthembu  |  parliament 2016  |  university fees  |  university protests

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