Attempts to address fee crisis is not politically motivated - ANC

The party says its plans to provide free education for poor students by 2018 remains a priority.

Protesters walk along main road, halting traffic briefly before turning up to lower campus again. Police presence remains. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng says attempts to address the financial crisis at universities in the province are not a political stunt ahead of this year's municipal elections.

The 2016 academic year got off to a rough start, with disruptions at three universities and a tense meeting with students and Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.

The party has reiterated that its plans to provide free education for poor students by 2018 remains a priority.

The party says its eagerness to resolves university issues is not a plot to gain the student vote.

ANC deputy chairperson David Makhura says, "There's a fundamental question about the development of our country. That is the system must expand. That is why access must be expanded. It doesn't matter who wins a particular election."

He says free education is a legitimate issue that needs to be addressed.

But the ANC chair has warned the party will not tolerate violent protests that lead to a shutdown of universities.

In October last year, students from universities all over the country embarked on mass protests calling for an end to tertiary institution fee increases.

The #FeesMustFall campaign then marched on the Union buildings where President Jacob Zuma announced all fee increases for 2016 would be scrapped.

Government is now working on a way forward in terms of scrapping university fees altogether.

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