Students plan meetings for free education
STUDENT leaders at Wits and other universities around the country are set to conduct mass meetings about free education and zero percent fee increases.
The Wits SRC released a statement this week where it said it would engage students through consultations and would also be holding mass meetings to interrogate issues around fees and free education and receive a mandate on a way forward.
The Wits SRC said that they found it unacceptable that the Fees Commission was investigating the mere feasibility of free education instead of investigating how to realise free and quality education.
Wits SA Students Congress (Sasco) chairperson Mpendulo Mfeka said they have a goal to attain free education however they were waiting for Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande to come back to them and give a full report.
“We want Blade to announce 0% until a realisation of free education and a commitment to tell us when we’ll start having free education,” said Mfeka. He added that student organisations have to give the minister space to figure out where the funding for higher education will come from.
Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) acting chair, Koketso Poho, said they were not going to protest with any organisation which pushes the agenda of 0% fee increment.
“We don’t want to end up in a cycle again where the government announces a fee increment and after we protest they give us 0% again, Blade must announce free education now,” said Poho.
He said the Wits EFF did not recognise SAUS (Student Union of Students) which is the body which represented students at the Fees Commission.
“SAUS doesn’t have a constituency, they mushroom from nowhere, we don’t recognise them,” said Poho. He added that Wits EFF will be attending all mass meetings including one at Wits scheduled this week.
“We are going to ensure that the discourse about fee increment is supressed so that when we go to the streets we have one mandate which is free education,” said Poho.
Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) spokesperson at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Vusi Mahlangu, said they’ve already held a mass meeting at TUT main campus on August 16 with other student organisations, including the EFF and Sasco, aimed at mobilising students for the upcoming protest.
“The narrative about the entire protest has been hijacked into a fee increment protest, our objective is free education,” said Mahlangu.
Wits Pasma leader, Phethani Madzivhamdila, said they’ve learnt a lesson from last year’s #FeesMustFall protest and they need to fight for free education now and not for 0% fee increases.
Mahlangu said they have not attached a date for the protest as they were still waiting for Nzimande to make an official announcement about university fees.
Wits Vuvuzela, Treasury says no money to fund zero percent increase, August 14, 2016.
Wits Vuvuzela, Fees Commission wraps up first round in Gauteng, August 14, 2016