No #FeesMustFall protests at Wits until a meeting is held with students - incoming SRC president

2017-10-30 22:42
(File, Twitter)

(File, Twitter)

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Johannesburg - University of Witwatersrand (Wits) student representative council (SRC) president-elect Orediretse Masebe said on Monday that the EFF-led council would not shut down the institution without having held a mass meeting with students first.

He was speaking at the main campus in Johannesburg on Monday where chaos ensued after confusion about who called for a press briefing and why the media was called before students had been engaged with.

Masebe said that there were still plans to shut the university down, but that he needed to consult with students on the matter to avoid the "selfish" act of making a declaration without having engaged them.

"We are not going to take action because we are being coerced. We are not going to be bullied into taking any decision. I need their (students) own input. I need their own contributions and their own deliberation, so there is nothing that we have trapped ourselves in," he said.

He was responding to interjections from some in the crowd who were pointing out that part of the EFF Student Command's manifesto during elections was that it would shut down the university.

"In our manifesto, we have stated quite clearly that we want a free, quality, decolonised higher education and we are not going to go back on our word. The only problem is that a lot of students are agitated and... those who are bitter have now taken up the opportunity to kind of direct students, and illegitimately so," he said.

Masebe said there were people in the outgoing SRC leadership who wanted to control the direction of the protests by putting pressure on him to shut down the campus. He said that the current president had all the power to shut down the campus as he would remain in power until November 1, when the new SRC takes over.

No faith in Fees Commission

Citing a leaked report, the City Press reported that the Fees Commission appointed by President Jacob Zuma had found that free education was not a viable option in South Africa, and proposed an overhaul of the funding system.

Fees protests have flared up at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the University of Cape Town and the University of the Free State following speculation that fees would increase by up to 10%.

READ: Fees protests: UCT applies for urgent interim interdict

President Zuma is yet to release the report and provide his answer to the recommendations suggested. The Presidency issued a statement stating that he would release the report this week.

Masebe said that the SRC had no faith in the fees report, the commission or the ANC government as it had failed to deliver on most of its promises. He said that commissions of inquiry are used to avoid issues and recuse those who are guilty, citing the Marikana and arms deal commissions.

He said the SRC would wait for the fees report before giving a "proper response".

"It's quite illogical to say someone must respond to something that has not been verified, so we want to give a proper response to the Fees Commission report," he said.

ALSO READ: Fees Commission report expected to be finalised within the week - Presidency

Palomino Jama, a member of the outgoing SRC who is staying for the council's next term, reiterated that it was premature to protest against a fee increment before the confirmation of speculation on fee increases or an announcement on funding possibilities.

Read more on:    wits  |  eff  |  jacob zuma  |  university fees  |  university protests

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