Wits students to learn fee fate today

University students protest against fees. Picture: Michel Bega

University students protest against fees. Picture: Michel Bega

Wits students will today hear the outcome of the University of the Witwatersrand executive committee of council’s deliberations on ways to reduce a fee increase.

The university will be closed today after a three-day protest by students against the proposed 10.5% fee hike. University spokesperson Shirona Patel disclosed vice-chancellor Adam Habib had said if government could contribute R8 billion or more, it would cover the tuition fees of every student at every university.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe also said the tuition hikes at universities were worrying and must be addressed. He hoped Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimade would find an amicable solution to the matter.

Student leader Mcebo Dlamini said students were fighting for the cancellation of the fee hike because they could not afford it.

“At the beginning of this year, we were fighting to get some of the students in the university as the registration was expensive … again, we had to fight Habib,” said Dlamini. “Now, when we were settling down, there was a hike in fees. We cannot let money stop us from being educated.”

Education expert Graeme Bloch said although free education was a great goal, students must understand it cannot happen immediately. Bloch said it was reasonable for students to protest and make radical demands, but the university would have to find other means to get the money.

The university has promised students it would not revert to its initial decision for a 10.5% hike if the latest negotiations broke down.


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