UKZN protesting students won't accept fee hike for 2017

Government says it will allocate a subsidy to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme qualifying students.

Student leadership at UKZN want ‘useless’ management gone. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Protesting students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Pietermaritzburg campus say they will not accept any fee hike for 2017, even if the increase model approved by the higher education department protects poor students and those in the "missing middle".

This week, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that universities will be allowed to decide on their own fee increases, which will be capped at 8%.

Government says it will allocate a subsidy to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme for qualifying students and those in the missing middle, which will exempt them from paying the increased rate.

Before the official announcement was made, protests had already flared up at UKZN campuses where students anticipated a fee increase.

UKZN's #FeesMustFall leader Thando Luthuli says accepting any increase would be counterproductive towards achieving free higher education.

"The whole nation is crying out for free education, you can't be entertaining issues of fee increases when we're wanting free education, it just doesn't make sense. It feels like more of a regress from this free education that we want."