The University of the Witwatersrand’s new student representative council president has told students that Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimamde’s announcement on 2017 fees increases cannot be accepted‚ and called for a shutdown.
An internet feed of Nzimamde’s speech was interrupted by singing students and poor connection at the university’s Senate House where students had gathered to listen on Monday.
Nzimamde had announced that universities must determine the level of fee adjustments for 2017 themselves‚ with the proviso that this should not be above 8%.
Incoming SRC president Kefentse Mkhari said the student body will not accept this.
“Comrades we aren’t going to entertain that 8%. What we want is simple. We want free education now. Not then. We are shutting down‚” he said.
Students then became restless and broke off into smaller groups‚ with some singing and dancing‚ as leaders tried to regain control and address students.
In a statement released earlier‚ the SRC had said that after months of meetings with stakeholders over issues related to fees it still demands the realisation of free‚ decolonized and quality education.
“The question should not be whether South Africa can afford free education but can we afford not to have free and quality education.
“Should the minister fail to address the urgent call for free education … We will be forced to act.
“Our stance is clear. We hope Blade will not waste our time‚” it said.