Fees Commission report to be completed in mid-2017

Judge Jonathan Heher provided an update on the progress of the commission’s work yesterday in Pretoria.

A University of Pretoria student demonstrates during protests on the institution’s Hatfield campus over possible university fee hikes for the 2017 academic year. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

PRETORIA - While some university students have demanded free education, the chairperson of the Fees Commission of Inquiry says his report will only be completed by the middle of next year.

Judge Jonathan Heher provided an update on the progress of the commission's work yesterday in Pretoria.

President Jacob Zuma established the commission last year following widespread protests at universities to look into the feasibility of fee free higher education.

Heher has urged students to trust and commissions and participate in it.

"In the end we'll make recommendations to the president which will attempt to answer, in the best interests of the students and the country which requires the skills of those students on what the way forward should be."

Heher says there's been consensus on several issues among contributors to the commissions, among them the submission that colleges should be restructured to accept a greater number of students, and poor students should receive fee free education.

He says a student loan scheme should function independently of government.

"Ideally the loan scheme should render the financing of higher education self-sustaining as fast and as fully as possible and thereby relieve the state of the increasing burden or share on the financial burden."

The commission's second round of public hearings begins in Pretoria today.