The South African Union of Students (SAUS) has passed a note of warning to council of Higher education not to make any attempt at hiking fees, else it will shut down universities for one full year.
The Students Union, made up of all University SRC’s (Student Representative Council) dished out this stern warning to the council of Higher education over the possibility of announcing a 6% fee hike for 2017.
The SAUS said via Twitter that it is fully prepared to take action after the controversial local government elections if the council moves ahead to implement its fees hike.
— Athi Mtongana (@Artii_M) July 24, 2016
The union’s Secretary General Sithembiso Ndlovu said, “students are united this time around. And students are committed to the cause. And be rest assured, we will shut down all institutions of higher learning and it must be known that we condemn any form of arson in our institutions of higher learning.”
Ndlovu said this after making reference to the 2015 #feesmustfall that saw thousands of University students taking to the streets after the announcement of an increase in University fees across the country.
To this, Ndlovu went on to point out that the South African Union of Students will give no room for any form of negotiations with University heads, this time as it was last year.
SAUS President Avela Mjajubana said, “there is work undertaken by the presidential commission looking into the possibility of free education. Now starting a discussion undermines the work of the commission. Hence we are saying as a Union that we reject any proposal and if it is enforced, we are then going to participate in that discussion on the streets because we don’t want any fee increase for 2017.”
According to him also, though the decision on fee increases has not been made yet by the council of Higher education, the union is patiently and readily waiting for the council to among other tasks given to it by the presidential task team to make their final decision.
He said the report on council’s final decision will get to him in few weeks and that will determine what the union would do at the beginning of the coming year.
Graduate Tax’ should pay for Free Education
Following the subsequent move by government to introduce 0% fee increases in 2016, the Universities SA CEO, Ahmed Bawa introduced a Graduate tax proposal as a way of helping SA universities gain finance for free tertiary education goal.
Bawa said through the Graduate tax, employed students will be forced to pay tax irrespective of when they studied. This according to him, will contribute to the fees of those coming after them.
Struggling students owe over R6 billion in student fee debt, with over 400,000 defaulting on their loans and some universities cry for financial vulnerability while other institutions say they have heavyweight donors backing them.