Johannesburg - Protesting Witwatersrand University students took to the streets of Braamfontein on Monday to intensify their demand against the proposed 2016 tuition fee increase.
They marched peacefully, singing revolutionary songs, as they made their way through Braamfontein’s streets ahead of a special assembly where the Wits council was expected to report back to students on its way forward.
Led by leaders from most political formations at Wits, students held sticks high in the air and screamed: “No to fee increase!”
Many wore Progressive Youth Association (PYA) and EFF red regalia. Medical students donned their uniforms and carried stethoscopes around their necks.
The students were protesting against increased 2016 tuition fees, and lectures at the university remained suspended on Monday as students awaited a response on the 2016 tuition fee increase from the council.
Late last week students protested for three days. The students began protesting by shutting down the Braamfontein campus. They demanded that vice chancellor Adam Habib respond to their demand of no fee increase, arguing that the proposed 10.5 percent increase was not affordable.
On Friday, Habib and members of the executive council were surrounded by protesters and locked in at Senate House until Saturday morning. The students would not back down and demanded that top management hold a meeting and accede to their demand.
Eventually, an agreement was signed on Saturday between the students and the council, led by its chairperson Dr Randall Carolissen.
The parties agreed to suspend the 10.5 percent proposed tuition fee increase for 2016 and that the negotiations on fees start anew.
They agreed that there would be no disciplinary action against students and workers who participated in the protests.
The council, which held a meeting on Sunday, was expected to report back to students at midday on Monday.
Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande has also called an urgent media briefing for Monday afternoon where he will respond to the students’ demands.
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