Former Fees Must Fall mediator: Nzimande made students’ outcry a joke

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande (Tina Hsu, News24)
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande (Tina Hsu, News24)

Johannesburg – Students should not look to Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande for guidance in their quest for free education, said religious leader and former Fees Must Fall mediator at the University of the Western Cape, Xola Skosana.

“He [Nzimande] turned the students’ outcry into a joke, and lost all his integrity,” Skosana told News24.

Skosana said he believed there was no clear way forward. Some students were already threatening to shut down campuses while management at some institutions have put contingency plans in place ahead of an announcement by Nzimande on how much more students might have to pay for their education next year.

The minister postponed a media briefing scheduled for Friday to make the announcement, following a meeting with vice chancellors and student leaders.

Erupt organically

“Things can erupt in an organic manner. Anything can happen; look at the levels of unhappiness in this country and its history. If something happens it will be so ugly, worse than last year’s protests," Skosana said.

He didn't believe Nzimande should still be in charge of the higher education portfolio.

“He should have been removed right there, when issues started. I told religious leaders we should call for Nzimande to go, he is part of the problem 'cause he failed to step up when he needed to.”

But the ministry of higher education questioned Skosana's comments, with its spokesperson, Khaye Nkwanyana, saying the community leader was out of order.

Easier to be a populist

“The minister is engaging with everyone, including the Council of Churches. His [Skosana's] comments don’t hold water. [It was] far from the truth,” he said.

Nkwanyana said the minister had allowed vice chancellors some time to brief and discuss his proposals with their councils. He said Nzimande cared about the fees issue and was acting with the students’ needs in mind.

“He asked that there be no real increase, but just to adjust in line with inflation. Why push the councillors to accept such a low deal if he is insensitive?” Nkwanyana asked.

He said it was easier to be a populist like Skosana and attack someone who was trying to find a solution.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 4369 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 4041 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 453 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.05
0.0%
GBP/ZAR
19.67
0.0%
EUR/ZAR
17.10
0.0%
AUD/ZAR
11.03
0.0%
JPY/ZAR
0.13
0.0%
Gold
1,831.32
0.0%
Silver
27.45
0.0%
Palladium
2,929.64
0.0%
Platinum
1,256.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
68.28
+0.3%
Top 40
62,573
+1.4%
All Share
68,520
+1.4%
Resource 10
71,474
+2.1%
Industrial 25
86,856
+0.9%
Financial 15
12,711
+1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo