No clarity yet on whether fees will fall for 2017

2016-08-10 22:49
The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)

The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)

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Cape Town - The jury is still out on whether Western Cape universities will increase their fees for 2017, after last year's dramatic #Feesmustfall protests brought the institutions to a standstill.

“No decision has been taken in this regard,” Stellenbosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said on Wednesday.

The University of Cape Town said it was in ongoing talks.

“The deliberations over fees are also taking place at the level of the government and with other role-players in the higher education sector,” said spokesperson Elijah Moholola.

“UCT’s fee decisions are usually ratified by council in the last term, so we expect a decision to be made around that time.”

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology had not made a decision yet. Comment was not immediately available from the University of the Western Cape.

This left student funders unsure of what to expect to pay next year, and universities in the dark over what their income would be.

Earlier this week, the SA Students Congress said the issue was non-negotiable, an indication that last year’s protests could be repeated. Even putting the issue of a possible fee increase on the agenda for discussion would lead to a shutdown of universities, Sasco said in a statement.

Minister booed

On October 21 last year, students surprised security at Parliament when they tried to storm into the building to get the attention of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene while he was delivering his mini-budget speech. 

The managed to get into the precinct. Speaker Baleka Mbete called police and stun grenades boomed as police pushed the students back. Nene and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande were booed when they tried to speak to students through a megaphone.

In June this year, Wits University deputy vice-chancellor Tawana Kupe told Fin24 they needed to know if they would have fees, and how much.

President Jacob Zuma announced on October 23 that there would be no fee increases for 2016. He established a commission to inquire into the possibility of free tertiary education in South Africa. The “Fees Commission” began public hearings in Pretoria on Monday.

Commission chairperson Judge Jonathan Heher said that ultimately the decision of whether to raise fees or not, lay with Zuma. He said the commission did not have the power to influence negotiations for next year's increases.

Many students have said government should make higher education completely free because few could afford the over R30 000 a year a basic degree cost.


Read more on:    cape town  |  education

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