Security tight at Cape Town fees commission hearing

2016-09-05 11:30
Parents of UWC students. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Parents of UWC students. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - Security was tight at the first oral hearing in Cape Town on Monday of the commission to look into the feasibility of fee free higher education and training.

Three security officials stood outside the Centre for the Book, in addition to the normal security outfit, with a walk-through scanner inside.

Once through the foyer, participants had to get through an additional throng of guards standing at the hall door with a portable scanner.

The hall was relatively empty by the time the first presentation started.

The commission’s Musa Ndwandwe explained to News24 that students had last week disrupted their oral hearings in East London.

"We had one of our hearings disrupted by a mob of very angry students, from the University of Fort Hare, who were determined to disrupt speakers," he said.

"They demanded to chair the session themselves."

A "serious scuffle" ensued and the hearing had to be suspended for an hour.

Ndwandwe, explaining the extra security on Monday, said the law required them to protect the commissioners and speakers.

He acknowledged the "many voices" of students and other bodies in the commission’s work.

"All demands have been noted and are up for consideration."

The Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training was established following the Fees Must Fall protests, demanding that there be a 0% fee increase.

The first set of hearings was for the commission to receive an overview of the relevant issues from various organisations.

On Monday, submissions were expected from Equal Education, the National Research Foundation, the University of the Western Cape, the Centre for Creative Education and Vuyani Moerane, the deputy president of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology SRC, and political activists.

Hearings will also take place in Bloemfontein and Kimberley this week.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  university fees

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