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Mixed reactions to varsity fees report

Student protest against the high cost of tertiary tuition. File picture: Henk Kruger/ANA

Student protest against the high cost of tertiary tuition. File picture: Henk Kruger/ANA

Published Sep 7, 2017


Pretoria - There have been mixed reactions over the finalisation of the report generated from the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (Fees Commission), which was finalised two months ago and presented to President Jacob Zuma last week.

While some have called for the commission to sit again and provide further opportunities for stakeholder presentations, there are those who did not care what the report said, saying it had been done and it was time to move on.

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Others, meanwhile, have expressed the desire to see what the report contained, and to see if it did indeed take the concerns of the poor into consideration.

Among those vocal on the status of the report was Hendrick Makaneta, education activist and founder of Education for Social Justice Foundation non-profit organisation, who said Zuma should take the report back to the commission and allow another round of stakeholder presentations.

He told the Pretoria News on Wednesday that they had made submissions but were never given an opportunity to appear before the commission.

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“We sent our proposals and the only person we met was the commission’s spokesperson, Musa Ndwandwe.

“We never presented before the chairperson and the entire commission,” he said.

“This issue affects everyone in the country and it is only fair that the commission gives us a chance also to make our point.”

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Makaneta alleged that the commission only gave opportunities to universities and student organisations but never gave non-profit organisations the chance to share their finding regarding the feasibility of fee free higher education.

Zuma established the commission in January last year. Hearings began in August last year and ended at the end of June this year.

It was the result of a wave of massive protests over universities fees, which saw campaigns like #FeesMustFall spread fast across the country and wreak havoc across campuses in October 2015.

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Headed by Judge Jonathan Heher, the commission was set to look into the feasibility of fee free higher education.

After listening to different stakeholders, it presented the final report to the president last week.

Among those who said they could not care less about the report was the South African Union of Students.

“We have always made it clear that we have no interest in what the commission has to say.

“We will continue to fight for the poor. During our presentation to the fees commission we made it clear that we want the poor to get free education and not a loan,” said union secretary general Sthembiso Ndlovu.

“The president can release the report tomorrow if he wants to and whatever is written on the report better have the implementations of what we have


The DA Student Organisation said Zuma needed to respond quickly to the report.

Its federal leader, Yusuf Cassim, said the report had to be released immediately and the president announce his actions in order for the decision to be implemented on time before the close of university admissions for 2018.

When it was presented to him, Zuma said he would study it and the recommendations in it.

He would make it available to the public in due course.

Pretoria News

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