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Possibility of more university protests in 2016

A task team is worried universities could face more protests when they reopen in the New Year.

FILE: A task team is worried universities could face more protests when they reopen in the New Year. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency says the task team established to look into student funding challenges at universities is concerned about more protests next year for which universities need to prepare.

The team has also recommended that government make R4.5 billion available to help more than 70,000 students next year.

President Jacob Zuma vowed during the Fees Must Fall Campaign that universities fees would not be increased in 2016.

The task team, established by Zuma, says a number of factors could lead to potential protests early next year when universities reopen.

It states that funding challenges experienced by students who don't qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) because their income is above the threshold could be another issue.

Increased amount for academic spaces by new first time entry students and previous financial dropouts in the university system also look set to be debated.

Zuma has congratulated the task team for finishing its work under a volatile climate in under two months.

Zuma believes the recommendations will assist universities as they try to ensure that poor, academically deserving students are not denied access to higher education.

Meanwhile, the University of Cape Town (UCT) says only one student has been prohibited from attending today's graduation ceremony.

The institution says this is because the student has an outstanding disciplinary case against him, stemming from the Fees Must Fall protests.

He's been charged with disrupting an exam.

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price says although the student is not allowed to attend the graduation ceremony, his qualification is not withheld or withdrawn.

"There was initially hope that the disciplinary charge could be managed this week, but now it's not going to happen. It's going to happen next year and while someone has disciplinary charges against them, then they can't graduate."

Take a look at EWN's special feature on the Year of the Student.