Student leader Chumani Maxwele, known for being the person who kicked off the movement #RhodesMustFall when he threw faeces at a Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town (UCT), said at the university’s campus that students were concerned about talk that universities would be hiking fees by 6% “and we are watching those talks very closely; if the fees go up, we will definitely call communities to shut down universities”.
Maxwele first gained prominence in 2010 after his wrongful arrest and interrogation for allegedly giving an obscene hand gesture to President Jacob Zuma’s presidential motorcade convoy in Cape Town city traffic.
Maxwele said the ruling party’s policy of free education should be taken further or higher education institutions would again come to a standstill.
Maxwele was suspended by UCT after alleged abuse of a UCT staff member. Upon appeal, UCT varied the suspension to allow him to attend classes and use the library. Maxwele successfully challenged his suspension in the Western Cape High Court.
#FeesMustFall was trending all day on Twitter, with students vowing to join the march should universities hike fees.
These people don't wanna provoke the students again #FeesMustFall
— Laille Isaks (@LailleIsaks2) July 25, 2016
OH NOT AGAIN! !!! #FeesMustFall
— shonani makhale (@ShonaniMakhale) July 25, 2016
This after universities lamented that the 0% increase was making it harder for universities to maintain the running of the running of their institutions.
— 702 (@Radio702) July 25, 2016
Last year, when #FeesMustFall first rocked universities, buildings were torched and cars were damaged.
President Jacob Zuma eventually assured students that there would be no fee hikes; however, more protests followed. Students protested against a shortage of accommodation, meals and the insistence on paying for registration – which was later scratched. They also took on the cause of campus staff, who they felt were being shortchanged by being provided to universities through outsourcing companies.
Maxwele warned that the #FeesMustfall protests would not go away if universities continued to exclude poor students.
“Our brothers and sisters are out of the system because they cannot afford to enrol at universities, while we are trying to fight that affordability by calling for free education; then universities want to go back to increasing fees. We will shut down all universities.”