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Wits SRC rejects tuition fee increase

A #FeesMustFall protest at Wits University

A #FeesMustFall protest at Wits University

Published Dec 6, 2016

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Johannesburg - The University of Witswatersrand (Wits) Students Representative Council (SRC) on Tuesday lashed out at the announced fee increment for the 2017 academic year, saying that it was disappointed by the university management as students had reiterated their stance for a moratorium on fee increments. This comes after Wits on Monday announced that fees will increase by eight percent in 2017.

 

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Wits said it had no choice but to increase fees if it wanted to remain financially sustainable as academics and administrative staff need to be remunerated, books and journals need to be purchased, and bills needed to be paid while infrastructure needed maintaining. 

According to Wits, the decision on the 2017 fee increase was recommended by management and the Financial Committee (FinCo) of the University and approved by Council after consultation with the elected SRC. 

The university has planned an increased despite the #FeesMustFall protests that caused unrest and turned violent towards the end of the year. 

Wits students held protests demanding the realisation of free, quality and decolonised education, in line with the call of the #FeesMustFall movement. 

In a statement, Wits SRC said it had fought in the supposed 'consultative' processes for a zero percent pronouncement but was unfortunately outvoted in decision-making bodies. 

"The power that the institution holds over such decisions is a mechanism used to silence the voice of the student and as such, must be questioned," Wits SRC said. 

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"The SRC has, throughout the year, made it very clear that anything more than zero percent is unacceptable. The university had sufficient time to pool together their resources in an attempt to avoid a fee increment. It is clear that the university had no intention of pronouncing zero percent." 

Wits SRC also said it found it very problematic and strategic that the university chose to announce this decision at a time when the student population was demobilised due to year-end holidays and just after the exam period. 

"There is no opportunity for students to engage on the matter and for us to mobilise as we now see the need," Wits SRC said. 

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"This announcement is exactly the negative element that we as student leaders were trying to avoid, when we brought it to the attention of the Minister of Higher Education that a delay in the report back from the Commission on Funding of Higher Education would leave too much room for this kind of action from tertiary institutions."

 

#FeesMustFall leader at Wits, Mcebo Dlamini, has already sworn a violent reaction to the fee increment when the academic calendar resumes next year.

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"We will react and we will respond with the anger that this insult deserves," Dlamini was quoted as saying by TMG Digital. 

 "We refuse to be castrated, we refuse to be silenced. We are prepared to go back to jail if that's what it calls." 

African News Agency

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