'This is traumatic for all of us' - Wits SRC official

2016-09-19 22:29
(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg – Students feel they are worse off following the announcement that university fee increases will be capped at 8%, a Wits University's SRC secretary general said on Monday.

“In many ways we are back to where we were last year, before fees must fall, and that is where the big source of anger comes from,” Student Representative Council secretary general Fasiha Hassan told journalists outside Senate House.

“This is not fun. It’s not fun to interrupt the academic project. It’s very abusive and traumatic for all of us.”

She said that as far as students were concerned, government only managed to freeze fee increases, not reduce them. Those who could not afford to pay tuition in 2015 faced a similar problem in the current academic year and would do so again in 2017. She said students were frustrated with government for failing to decisively deal with fees.

“There has been an attempt to focus on the increment, but the issue here is actually free education.”

She was reacting to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement earlier on Monday that university councils had to decide their own fee increases for next year, but that these could not exceed 8%.

Although universities had yet to discuss their options, students had rejected Nzimande’s proposal.

“We are disappointed he put the prerogative back with councils. They’ve raised fees over the years as they pleased without any intervention. We hoped that intervention would come now, but all he is saying is go back,” Hassan said.

Wits University students resolved to continue protesting following a meeting.

They spent Monday afternoon closing off the institution’s entrances and exits and trying to force students out of lecture halls and classes.


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