#FeesMustFall campaign back

Wits students (Mpho Raborife, News24)
Wits students (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Durban – The #FeesMustFall movement will be making a return in 2016 when it occupies the Wits University Solomon House on Monday, the first day of registration, the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) has said.

In a statement, the SRC said January 2016 saw students confronted with “a similar problem that we faced a year ago”.

“Thousands of young people do not have access to institutions of higher learning despite their academic capabilities in the most challenging circumstances!”

The statement added that the SRC spent the last weeks of last year and the first of this year fully engaged in assisting students.

“One academic and financial exclusion is one too many, and we know that academic exclusions are often linked to financial issues because there is a campus for the rich and a campus for the poor. Thus this system is designed to systematically exclude the black child. We have seen many students who have had horrific experiences and will ensure that these students are given the adequate support that they deserve to succeed.”

According to the SRC, it raised R4.4m to assist students but said despite the campaign to raise money, “no amount of fundraising can solve the higher education crisis”.

“Fundraising treats merely a symptom of the current system - a structurally exclusionary system. Fundraising for students is not a solution to the problem. It is this problematic system that has necessitated the need to interrogate and challenge the system itself.”

The SRC added: “Although everything we have achieved has been difficult, and has been significant - we cannot say that we have won and we can now enjoy the fruits of our struggle. This is just the beginning.”

#FeesMustFall is a student led protest movement that began in mid-October 2015 in response to an increase in fees at South African universities. Protests started at the Wits University and spread to the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University before rapidly spreading to other universities across the country. President Jacob Zuma eventually declared there would be a no fee increase in 2016.

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