The country is burning, says teachers’union

Cape Town - The National Teachers’ Union (Natu) on Thursday has called on government to fast­track free tertiary education because “the country is burning”.

The union welcomed the commitment by government to fund a zero percent fee increase for NSFAS students and the children of public servants whose parents earn below R600 000 per annum.

Photo: Antoine de Ras/Independent Media. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Natu deputy president and spokesman Allen Thompson said the union had written to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande requesting an urgent meeting.

Thompson said they were also waiting for a meeting date from the commission investigating the feasibility of free education. The union wants to present its model for free education to the commission.

“Minister Nzimande has acknowledged the letter we sent him requesting an urgent meeting. We have also written to the chairperson of the fees commission, former Judge Jonathan Heher, because we want to make formal presentations on our model for free education. We can’t wait for the second round of public hearings next year because universities are burning now,” said Thompson.

Thompson said what has been happening at various institutions showed that young people were fed up with unfulfilled promises.

“They want it now, not tomorrow and many more universities will burn when they re-open from recess next week. We as Natu made a call after our countrywide conferences that we want free education for our children because we can’t afford to take our kids to universities. We want the same status as workers in education with lecturers in universities who don’t pay a cent for their kids in these universities,” said Thompson.

Thompson went on to condemn the burning of university property during no fee protests.

“Many more will burn in the future and NATU does not support the burning of the property in the institutions which is currently done by protesters,” said Thompson.