National 19.9.2016 01:56 pm

Wits shuts down as SRC rejects fees announcement

Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande during his statement on fee increments, 19 September 2017, Pretoia. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande during his statement on fee increments, 19 September 2017, Pretoia. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Sasco members think government has missed the point of the #FeesMustFall movement after today’s announcement on fee increments.

Hundreds of Wits University students were marching through the institution’s main campus after its SRC rejected Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement on Monday morning of an 8% fee increment cap for 2017.

‘They only speak of a fee increment and are not dealing with the issue of free quality education.’

While Nzimande added this increment would not apply to NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) students and the so-called ‘missing middle’ who did not quality for NSFAS, but still struggled with fees, members the South African Student’s Congress (Sasco) and the South African Union of Students (Saus) were of the opinion that government had missed the point of the #FeesMustFall movement.

“I think there is a huge sense of disappointment. Essentially, government has again, missed the point,” said Fasiha Hassan, secretary-general of the Wits SRC and deputy secretary of Saus.

“They only speak of a fee increment and are not dealing with the issue of free quality education.”

But the students were split over the decision to continue protest action, saying it was a waste of time and it would disrupt their studies.

While members of EFF Student Command (EFFSC) at Wits were seen marching in the crowds, some insisted they would not put their lives at risk for a futile mission.

Simamkele Dlakavu of the EFFSC and the #WitsMustFall movement was involved in a scuffle, as some students prevented her from addressing the crowd inside the campus’s Senate House.

“My question was, why are we shutting down? because last year, we shut down campuses and [President Jacob Zuma] announced a 0% increase and the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) had a campaign saying #backtoclass,” she said.

“Shutting down is not romantic; we put put bodies on the line, police thr0w teargas and rubber bullets at us; it’s not romantic at all.”

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