“Our stance is clear. We hope that Blade will not waste our time.”
That’s the line the student representative council (SRC) of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) is taking after it had “been informed that the Minister of Higher Education and Training‚ Blade Nzimande‚ will be making an announcement (on Monday) around the issue of fees and higher education”.
“Should the minister fail to address the urgent call for free education and seek to divide the student movement by putting forward a haphazard fee increment for 2017‚ we will be forced to act‚” the Wits students warned in a statement.
On the Fees Commission “set up by the President of the Republic”‚ the SRC said: “We are tired of talk shops and task teams without implementation. We reject them in their entirety.
“Our demands are clear: the realisation of a free‚ decolonised and quality education‚ as well as a moratorium on fee increments up until the implementation of free education.”
The SRC noted that it was drawing “closer to the historic one-year anniversary of #FeesMustFall and the October 6 Insourcing movement”‚ but added: “We cannot every year protest for a moratorium; there needs to be a greater structural solution to the crisis that is higher education.
“Merely freezing fees every year is not opening up access. We could not afford the fees in 2015‚ and we still can’t afford them today‚ thus the call for free‚ quality and equal education.
“The question should not be whether South Africa can afford free education but can we afford NOT to have free and quality education.”
The University of Cape Town (UCT) will remain open on Monday and staff have been requested to attend work‚ but “classes‚ lectures and tests” have been suspended.
Describing the call as a “difficult decision”‚ the university said‚ in a statement to “students and colleagues”‚ that “the security situation will be assessed throughout the course of the day and if it changes‚ you will be advised”.
“Please note that the situation is changing constantly‚” the missive advised‚ adding that updates would be provided on its website‚ and Facebook and Twitter platforms.
Classes and lectures were suspended at UCT on Friday afternoon‚ “in order to assess the situation and implement additional security measures on campus”‚ the institution said last week.
Protesters had staged roving disruptions‚ demanding the immediate return to campus of those suspended‚ expelled and interdicted over #FeesMustFall protests.