News Brief

#FeesMustFall2017: South African Students Demand Answers To Possible 2018 Fee Increase

A timeline of events that have occurred as South African students wait to learn if their fees will increase for the 2018 academic year.

South African students have been protesting and making demands amid anticipation for universities to announce fee increases for the 2018 academic year.

Since the end of August, President Jacob Zuma has had the final report of the Heher Commission on the feasibility of free higher education, but the report has not been released, TimesLIVE reports.


As a result, students at the University of the Free State (UFS) protested against a proposed 8 percent fee increase last Friday. Thirty-six students were arrested at the Bloemfontein campus, but were released Sunday evening.

However, seven UFS students were arrested and detained in a police van for four hours Wednesday. A member of the South African Students Congress (SASCO), two members of the Student Representative Council (SRC) and four members of the university's student parliament were held.

"They put us in the van and drove to the police station and parked the car," Arthur Moyana, chairperson of SASCO, tells News24. "We have been in this car for four hours and nothing is happening. We cant even find out why they have arrested us for walking on campus."

Free State police spokesperson Sergeant Christopher Mophiring tells News24 that the students were arrested for public violence on the QwaQwa campus over the past few weeks. Before releasing the students from the van, he added that the "police had to finish the paperwork before taking the students out of the police van."

On the UFS Bloemfontein campus, about 50 students gathered outside the student center to call for free higher education. The SRC was to hand over a memorandum to the university's management Wednesday morning, but was delayed due to an executive meeting with management.

At a mass meeting Tuesday, University of Cape Town (UCT) students called for the immediate release of the Fees Commission Report and a 0 percent fee increase for the 2018 academic year, The Daily Vox reports.

Student leaders stated at the meeting that they stand in solidarity with students at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and UFS. They called for a demilitarization of both campuses, The Daily Vox says.

UCT students' other demands include "a report on the expenses of security services on campus for the past two years, clearance of historical debt for 2017 and no financial barriers to registration" for the 2018 academic year. They also want the university to seriously look into suicides that have occurred in the past 2 to 5 years. The students "believe institutional realities like financial exclusion, racism and sexual violence could be linked to student suicides."

They then handed over the list of demands to UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price.

CPUT and UCT students then marched to Parliament Wednesday to demand that Zuma must release the report. He along with members of parliament were there for the release of Finance Minister Malusi Gigabo's medium term budget policy statement. They were met with police as two UCT students were arrested outside of Parliament.

Students still attempted to shut down UCT as they marched and disrupted tests and learning activities.

Stay tuned for more #FeesMustFall2017 developments. For more on why this movement is imperative for young South Africans now, read this essay by Mohau Bosiu for The Daily Vox.

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