Wits SRC has announced plans to shut down the campus under the banner of #FessMustFall2016 should the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande announce a fee increase at a highly-anticipated press conference later today.

Secretary General Fasiha Hassan said the SRC has invited students to gather at Solomon Mahlangu House, (Senate House), to watch the minister’s announcement about the recommendations of the Fees Commission. It is expected that Nzimande will definitively answer the questions around possible fee increases.

Hassan said if today’s announcement was unfavourable, “we will have to do what we did last year that is take to the streets”.

In a statement released a short while ago, Wits University says that “security has been strengthened and the police is on standby this week. We remind all colleagues and students that an interdict remains in place to protect staff, students and University property”.

Hassan says today’s gathering will also address the issue “that the focus cannot be on a fee increment but rather on free education”, a point missed by the government and universities.

The SRC noted that the anniversary of the 2015 FeesMustFall protest is drawing closer and yet the implementation of their demands has been slow and half-hearted.

“We have not been taken seriously, it’s as if we have not been heard,” said Hassan.

Wits EEF Student Command chairperson Koketso Poho said if it came to it Wits EFF were ready for a shutdown.

“But it will not be on the basis of a fee increment but on the basis of free education” he said.

At a townhall meeting with students in August Wits Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Habib said Universities South Africa (USAf) had told the higher education ministry that they needed an additional 8% income. “That doesn’t necessarily mean a fees income. We hope that 8% could come from government subsidies,” said Habib.

 

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