Sasco: Protests will resume after exams

PYA and other youth organisations urge students to return to lectures after nationwide protest action.

Sacso, YCL and ANCYL leaders at Luthuli house to speak on the way forward after #FeesMustFall campaign. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress's Progressive Youth Alliance has called on students who are still protesting as part of the Fees Must Fall campaign to go back to lectures.

South African Students Congress (Sasco), the Young Communist League and the African National Congress Youth League have collectively called for the suspension of all protests to allow exams to resume.

Sasco president Ntuthuko Makhombothi says the suspension of the fees must fall campaign is essential in order for students to focus on academics.

"The protest has not ended; it is merely suspended and shall resume after examinations."

He says there are already efforts to make up for lost time on the academic calendar.

"We will not retreat nor surrender, but we will safeguard the academic interests of students."

The he says students should act to secure education not to sabotage what they already have.

The Higher Education and Training Department says most campuses have re-opened in the wake of widespread student protests, but there are small groups who are continuing their fight at some institutions, including Wits.

Protesters are also demanding an end to the outsourcing of labour.

The department's Diane Parker told Members of Parliament that some of the institutions that remain closed include the University of Cape Town (UCT).

"Particularly at UCT, the University of the Western Cape (UWC), the Mahikeng campus of the North West University (NWU) and one or two others [like] Cape Peninsula University of Technology; they have not resumed their academic programme. They are still in discussions."

Minister Blade Nzimande and officials from his department briefed Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training earlier, on issues including the student uprising.

Nzimande believes a small group at Wits is now taking advantage of the legitimate demands of the 'Fees Must Fall' movement.

He says, "The ones who are doing this are possibly a minority grouping that is opportunistically building on students' legitimate demands for its own narrow opportunistic reasons.

LISTEN: Blade Nzimande: Hunt on for 2016 fee shortfall


Meanwhile, mistrust, divisions and conflict are threatening to destabilise the 'Fees Must Fall' campaign at Wits University, as protesting students demand answers about who called for the university to be re-opened.

Students and workers have been protesting against the outsourcing of some employees.

They say lectures should not resume while their demands on outsourcing have not been addressed.

Vice Chancellor Adam Habib was confronted by angry students, demanding to know why the institution was re-opened without their permission.

He says it was student representatives who asked him to resume academic activity.

"I received documentation, addressed from the outgoing Student Representative Council (SRC), and the incoming SRC.

Those protesting here say they no longer recognize the SRC structure as their representative.

Habib says 5,000 students have asked to resume classes, a number that far exceeds that of the protesters.

"When the decision, that we are opening on Wednesday, that was also undertaken last night by the council. We were told to make it happen. You can't commit now and then retract it again because it makes us look stupid."

Earlier police fired stun grenades to disperse a small group of students on main campus.