Steven Tau, Batlile Phaladi and Valeska Abreu
2 minute read
12 Jan 2016
7:00 am

Fees Must Fall protests halt registrations

Steven Tau, Batlile Phaladi and Valeska Abreu

Toddler seriously hurt in unrest at Unisa; Wits confirms ‘disruptions’.

Wits students gather in the Senate House, 11 January 2015, at the Wits Campus in Johannesburg. The protest action saw student registration come to a halt at the institution. Students are calling for free education and scrapping of the registration fees. Picture: Alaister Russell

The academic year got off to a bumpy start on Monday with stun grenades and teargas being fired at protesting students, rubble being set alight and the suspension of registration processing at several universities.

Amid renewed #Feesmustfall protest actions at campuses countrywide, a toddler was left in a serious condition during protests at Unisa in Pretoria. Wits University management confirmed on Monday that disruptions occurred at Senate House and Hall 29 where students registrations were taking place.

Regarding the first fee payment, the university has put in place an arrangement, the details of which were communicated to all students last year, it said.

“Students who can pay are being asked to do so. Students who cannot pay, can fill in a form online and the university will allow them to register.”

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Wits’s Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib, said only face-to-face registrations have been suspended until tomorrow due to the latest protest action.

“Telephone and online registrations are still opened,” he said. On the issue of historical debt, the university said an agreement has been reached with the state for all students who were on NSFAS last year.

“But students who were not on NSFAS in 2015 will unfortunately be obliged to clear their debt before they will be allowed to register. The historical debt of these students amounts to over R100 million.”

At the University of Cape Town (UCT) this year non-NSFAS and NSFAS students, whose outstanding fees add up to R222 million, would have their fees converted to a loan should they fail to pay.

“We have already made a commitment that academically-eligible students would not be prevented from continuing their studies on the basis of financial affordability,” UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said. According to Mpho Morolane, president of the EFF students who were protesting at Unisa, the protest was against an agreement that a multidisciplinary task team be established to look into the issue of outsourcing. “Still nothing has materialised,” he said.

“There is money for free education and government has to provide it. We will not rest till we have free quality education for all in 2016,” Morolane said.