The announcement on whether there will be an increase in tuition fees for institutions of higher learning next year has been delayed to “sometime” this month.
Students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) have already started protesting again for free education.
UKZN Student Representative Council secretary-general Simiso Memela said yesterday: “We want free education now.” Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande had said he would announce the decision on fees for 2017 by the end of August but that has now been delayed.
Last month, the Council on Higher Education (CHE) recommended an across-the-board fee increase of 6.3%.
Department of higher education and training spokesperson Busiswa Gqangeni said Nzimande had hoped the meetings with role players would be completed by Wednesday but they were not.
“On Tuesday the minister was still meeting with stakeholders while others, who have already been part of the talks, said they had to go back to their respective constituencies before making a final decision.
“I am not at liberty at this stage to divulge the contents of the discussions the department has already had with the stakeholders, except to say that an official announcement on next year’s fees will be made sometime during September,” Gqangeni said.
Since getting the CHE’s recommendations, Nzimande has been talking to university vice-chancellors and council chairpersons, student leaders and youth organisations, organised labour, faith communities and government officials.
Meanwhile, students from UKZN have made it clear that fee increases for next year and beyond would not be welcome.
Several students from various campuses have been protesting for the past two weeks. They are demanding free education and that one of their Student Representative Council members be allowed to sit on the university’s executive management committee.
During this week’s protests, a coffee shop at the university’s Howard campus was set alight.
Yesterday, Memela said student leaders would meet today to decide on the next step.
“Students have made it clear that any announcement suggesting there will be a fee increase next year will not be welcomed.”