Tertiary education, like healthcare, should be free - UCT student

2016-09-19 22:15
Students and workers hold a mass meeting at UCT to demand that students who were suspended, interdicted or expelled for #feesmustfall related protests be allowed to return immediately. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Students and workers hold a mass meeting at UCT to demand that students who were suspended, interdicted or expelled for #feesmustfall related protests be allowed to return immediately. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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WATCH: Hundreds join mass meeting over fees at UCT

2016-09-19 17:27

Hundreds of students met at Jamieson (or, Marikana) Hall on Monday afternoon.WATCH

Cape Town - Tertiary education, like healthcare, is a basic service which should be free and not commodified, a UCT student activist said on Monday.

“We will not accept anything else,” Masixole Mlandu said shortly after Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande's announcement that universities could increase fees for 2017, but not by more than 8%.

“By the end of the year, we want the call for free education to be realised. Education is part of basic services, like land and water, which today our people have to buy.

“That idea of commodifying necessities comes from the capitalist white supremacist society, which says only a certain few should have the right to access such spaces.”

Following Nzimande’s announcement, UCT vice chancellor Max Price said the institution would hold talks with those affected, including the SRC, to prepare recommendations for council regarding fees and financial aid for 2017.

Mlandu warned that UCT would remain shut until students’ demands were met.

On Monday, student leaders reiterated their call for the university to reinstate students who had been suspended, interdicted, or expelled following protests against fee increases.

They repeated a previous demand for a “Shackville” Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be held within the year.

In February, students erected a shack on UCT’s upper campus, as a symbol of the struggle for student housing and against financial exclusion. The university’s security guards demolished the shack.

On Monday, a group of students made their way to UCT residences to mobilise others to attend a meeting at the Jameson Hall. Protesters referred to it as the Marikana Memorial Hall.

There they discussed their demands. For workers, these included a minimum wage of R12 500 per month, whether they were insourced or not, and protection against victimisation for participating in protests.

Students called for an admissions policy that prioritised black applicants and for statues and plaques “celebrating white supremacists” to be removed.

Lecturer Lwazi Lushaba called for tertiary education that did not alienate black students from their people, culture, and language.

“We can’t depend on white academics to give us decolonised education,” he said to thunderous applause.

Another student meeting was expected to take place on campus on Monday night.

Read more on:    uct  |  univeristy fees  |  education

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