Situation in the University of Witwatersrand has suddenly turned unfriendly as students prepares for a fresh protest against Wits 8% fee hike for 2017.
Wits Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Habib announced on Monday that the university would carry on with its fees increase plan despite warnings by the student board against it.
Habib said while confirming the Wits 8% Fee hike, that he understands why students are disappointed with an 8% fee increase
“The university has no choice but to increase fees if it is to remain financially sustainable as academics and professional and administrative staff need to be remunerated‚ books and journals need to be purchased (many in foreign currency)‚ utilities need to be paid and infrastructure needs to be maintained‚” the vice chancellor said in a statement on Monday.
“Council is aware that this decision will be financially onerous for the families of many students. Note that the state has committed to funding the increase for all students with a family income of less than R600‚000.
“Wits will‚ however‚ do all that it can to seek bursaries and scholarships for as many students as is possible‚” it said.
Reacting to this report, students took to the social media to relate their intense anger on the institution’s management board, over their “inhumane” decision against the students.
Many who reacted to this foretell that the Wits 8% Fee hike will lead to blood bath in 2017 when students would resume for their academic session.
“Well s*** is gonna be on fire next year — not a threat‚ just a fact.” Sowetan Live reported a Facebook post saying,
“Students are at breaking point around the country‚ some students have died”‚ and warned that “promised assistance” from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) “is going to fall way short of what the country needs” the post went on to say.
Students are at breaking point around the country‚ some students have died”‚ and warned that “promised assistance” from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) “is going to fall way short of what the country needs”.
Mcebo Dlamini, the university’s student activist slammed the VC Habib and the board members, saying the university has no reason whatsoever, to increase fees the way that they have been increased.
“As you have seen the unrest at institutions of higher learning since 2015 leading to 2016‚ the bone of contention has been centred around the fee issue and the increment.
“We are very disgusted and we are very much flabbergasted by the reaction of the university. It is very annoying because the university knows the position and the status of the black majority of its students‚ that they are failing to afford the fees as it stands‚” said Dlamini.
Dlamini went ahead to question the university board’s logic used to make such decision. “… What mechanism have they used to say it is justified for them to undermine everything that has happened to increase the fees‚” he asked.
Wits Varsity’s spokesperson, Shirona Patel however reiterated that the Wits 8% fee hike was necessary because the university has to balance its books. If the university does not increase its fees‚ it will become unsustainable.