Since the emergence of the #FeesMustFall campaign and protest in October last year, universities have been spending as much as R2m (two million rand) per month just on security in the campuses. This was revealed on Monday by Gauteng university vice chancellors.
#FeesMustFall is a student-led protest campaign that kicked off in mid-October 2015 in response to an increase in fees at South African universities.
The vice chancellors in held a press briefing on Monday calling out to students for a smooth start of a fresh academic year. The meeting was attended by vice chancellors from Wits University, University of South Africa, University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Johannesburg and Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.
Vice Chancellor of university of Johannesburg Ihron Rensburg said they were using up considerable amount of resources on security alone, which could be better utilized for some other important projects.
“Some of us are spending R1.5m to R2m a month. It’s not sustainable, hence we appeal to the community to step forward and assist us in obviating this situation.
“We are spending resources in order to protect the lives of our students, staff and to protect facilities and heritage that has been built up in our institutions over decades. This is the reason for our call today for the public to respond and work with us to secure this academic year to be free from violence…,”
According to Rensburg, Gauteng universities could not withdraw security from campuses because this would leave them vulnerable and open to attacks which might be even more expensive.
“If we were simply to withdraw security and court orders, we would leave our campuses vulnerable to violence… This expense can stop tomorrow, but that is subject to protests becoming peaceful,” he said.
So many universities suspended registration after their students disrupted the registration exercise last week. Students were demanding for totally free registration for all academically qualified students.