With the #FeesMustFall movement’s demand for free education for all unresolved in the second week of the new year, several student leaders made it clear this week that the struggle will continue.
Last year, students from universities around the country protested for free and decolonised education. The protests were sparked by an announcement by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande to the effect that it was up to universities to decide on tuition fee increases, which he said should be capped at 8%.
This did not sit well with students and minutes thereafter protests started at Wits University in Johannesburg before spreading to other institutions of higher learning.
According to Wits student representative council president Kefentse Mkhari: “Once the registration process has been concluded, we will then meet with all the students to strategise the way forward with regards to #FeesMustFall. We told all students when we left for the holidays last year to continue with the groundwork which entailed mobilising all sectors from the community because we will need new plans for the new year,” Mkhari said.
He said the possibility of more protests this year could not be ruled out at this stage. University of KwaZulu-Natal student leader Nkehlizana Mbanjwa said more protests can be expected this year.
“The protest action for free education will only end once free tertiary education is realised,” he said. Leader of the EFF Student Command Mpho Morolane said it was too early to say what is likely to happen regarding the #FeesMustFall campaign in the new year.“We have not had any discussions about that as yet,” he added.