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Stellenbosch University peaceful after 2017 fee increment announcement

Nzimande today announced it'll be up to universities to decide their fee increases for the 2017 academic year.

FILE: Students gather at Stellenbosch University. Picture: iWitness.

CAPE TOWN - Stellenbosch University remains peaceful following today's fee announcement.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced today that it will be up to universities to decide their own fee increases for the 2017 academic year but has suggested the increase not be more than eight percent.

The government will however assist qualifying students to fund the gap between the 2015 fee and the adjusted 2017 fee at their institution.

Nzimande says their recommendation follows extensive consultations with university vice chancellors, council chairs, student organisations and government.

Last week, demonstrators staged a sit-in at a library on campus as they called for fees to be scrapped.

On Friday, security guards forcibly removed the protesters.

The university's Martin Viljoen said, "The campus is quiet at the moment and we are monitoring the situation. There is a discussion at the Wilcock's Building but there are no disruptions at the moment."

At the same time, the University of the Western Cape says it's business as usual at the institution today.

The university's Luthando Thiyalibongo said, "Currently the University of the Western Cape is quiet. Students are in class and its business as usual."

Meanwhile, the commission of inquiry into higher education has urged members of the public to give it enough time to finalise proposals for a long-term higher education funding model.

The commission says it's aware that the reactions to the announcement of a fee increase for 2017 could have an impact on its work.

The commission, which was established to determine the feasibility of free higher education, has been met with resistance by student movements that believe its implementation is merely a delay tactic.

The body's spokesperson Musa Ndwandwe says the commission needs time and space.

"We'd like to appeal for composure to all stakeholders, especially students, so that the commission can finalise these proposals which we believe will provide workable solutions to this issue of higher education and training funds."

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