The University of the Witwatersrand logo. Picture: Supplied
The University of the Witwatersrand logo. Picture: Supplied

#FeesMustFall protesters vow to bring Wits to a halt

By Getrude Makhafola Time of article published Nov 2, 2017

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Johannesburg - Another instalment of 'FeesMustFall' is set to take place at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) after students took a decision on Thursday,  to bring academic activities to a halt.

The Economic Freedom Fighters-led Student Representative Council (SRC) held a mass meeting outside the Great Hall on Thursday, where it was agreed that a shutdown be set for Friday morning. 

Year end examinations are taking place at universities across the country. 

Following the students' meeting, university management sent a letter issued out a letter on Thursday evening, assuring staff and students that examinations would continue on Friday. 

"The University confirms that all examinations will continue tomorrow as per the examination timetable. All other university activities will also proceed as planned," read the letter. 

"The University will take appropriate action against anyone found to be violating the rights of others or contravening the University's rules and policies." 

The Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) won the Wits SRC elections last month, taking over from the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), made up of the South African Students Congress (Sasco), African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and the Young Communist League of SA (YCL). The red berets won 12 out of 15 SRC seats. 

Meanwhile, protests against fee increase continued at the University of Cape Town (UCT) this week. 

Several students were arrested on Thursday, after they barricaded streets in an attempt to shut down the campus. 

At a press briefing earlier, UCT vice-chancellor Max Price said the protests were "utterly unacceptable" in the midst of examination and ongoing negotiations on fees. 

"We worked until after midnight negotiating in order to avoid disruptions. The demands keep expanding with each meeting, some of which do not seem reasonable to us...we cannot meet some of the demands mainly because they are unfortunately out of our control." 

The no fee increase demand would render the university bankrupt as the institution depended on tuition fees to sustain itself, he said. "What we can do though, is to ensure that students who are on financial aid are not academically excluded. The UCT is fortunately able to raise donor money to ensure that the students on NSFAS and the 'missing middle' are not compromised or disadvantaged by the fee increase." 

Another demand by UCT students is that President Jacob Zuma release the Heher commission report on feasibility of free education. 

Following widespread and sometimes violent protests by students at universities and other higher education institutions around the country, Zuma appointed the commission – chaired by Judge Arthur Heher, assisted by advocate Gregory Ally and Leah Thembisile Khumalo – on January 14, 2016. The commission submitted its report to Zuma in August. 

A weekend newspaper leaked the report, which it said showed that government would not be able to fund free education at higher institutions of learning. Zuma promised to release the report this week. 

African News Agency

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