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Minister to meet with officials from SA's universities

Blade Nzimande called on all parties to find an amicable solution to avoid any further disruptions.

Public Order Police patrol an entry point to the Rhodes University campus that was barricaded earlier by students protesting fee hikes in the New Year. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande is expected to convene a meeting with management from various universities today to try and diffuse anger over fee hikes.

Nzimande says he's committed to finding a solution to stop protests at South African universities including Wits, University of Cape Town (UCT), Rhodes, Fort Hare and Stellenbosch.

LISTEN: Nzimande weighs in on Wits impasse.

The minister says a common framework and approach to the issue of university increases for 2016 must be developed urgently.

"In order to come up with a dispensation that takes into account difficult circumstances facing especially the students who come from poor families."

Nzimande has called on all parties to find an amicable solution in order to avoid any further disruptions.

"I urge all the stakeholders at institutional level to try and find each other through negotiations first."

He has urged universities to be more transparent with their processes while determining fee increases to avoid a repeat of the current demonstrations sweeping South African universities.

Nzimande added that his department anticipated the protests across the country and believes additional sources of funding must be identified by government and the institutions.

He said unless the government reprioritises its budget the likelihood of securing more funds for fees is very small.

The minister has been criticised by students for his absence during protests which have spread from Gauteng to the Western and Eastern Cape.

Nzimande said funding should not be the sole responsibility of the state.

"We increased Nsfas significantly but it all gets gobbled but by high fees. The situation as it stands is very dire and unless government reprioritise, situation doesn't look good at all."

All pictures by EWN.

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