Student fee protest spreads to Limpopo
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Polokwane – Dozens of students at the University of Limpopo marched on the Polokwane campus on Wednesday, in protest against the planned tuition fees increase.
The students said that increasing the fees by government and universities would increase the number of dropouts and disadvantage the poor’s access to education.
Protest leaders said they had decided to launch a bid against the increase in fees because they were part of the victims of escalating education fees.
They accused the university management of focusing more on profit-making than emancipating the poor from the chains of poverty.
“This call is to say we don’t want academic exclusion anymore, and we are seated here with more than 80 percent of students owing the university, so they are guaranteed of their failure to register next year,” the South African Students Congress’ (Sasco’s) Limpopo chairman Thembani Msisinyane said.
The university said it had suspended two examinations sessions on Wednesday, confirming that protesters had disrupted examinations.
Students had been seated for their examinations, but hundreds of students stormed into the lecture theatre and proceeded to disrupt the examinations.
The move angered some students, but others were happy at the disruption and agreed that the fees were too high.
The tuition fees increase has sparked a revolt and gained momentum despite Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s meeting with universities senior management over fees.
Nzimande’s meeting resolved on a six percent increase for 2016 but this has largely been rejected by the broad student movement who said they would not settle for anything less than a zero percent increase for next year.
The students vowed to remain out of lecture rooms for as long as fees increases were proposed.
Msisinyane said they were not intimidated by university management’s threats of expulsion and promised to fight the fees increase.
Nzimande and President Jacob Zuma had earlier this week expressed concern about student uprising and called for peaceful talks over the increase.
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