Wits SRC hopes for clarity on free education

A Wits student leader says there will be a mass meeting where students will decide on whether classes resume.

FILE: A students holds up a poster at Wits University after the announcement of an 8% increase by Min of Higher Education Nzimande. Picture: Nina Leslie/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University's SRC says it hopes today's Higher Education Imbizo will provide clarity on their call for free education and may determine whether they accept the reopening of classes.

The academic program is expected to resume tomorrow.

Students have been demonstrating nationwide after the announcement by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande that fees could be hiked but capped at 8 percent and subsidised for poor students.

The Wits SRC says while they acknowledge the outcomes of the poll in which over three quarters of the students.

Secretary General Fasiha Hassan says there will be a mass meeting where students will decide on whether class resumes.

"We're hoping to make some headway today. But ultimately students are saying that we can't yet go to the academic programme until these issues are addressed this evening and that we can all decide how we're going to take the programme forward."

Earlier, the university said while it understands the presence of additional security on campus isn't ideal, it has no choice but to use reinforcements to protect staff and students.

Wits management says it has no choice but to bring additional security on campus and to ask police to remain close by.

The university says it's willing to reduce the heavy security presence if protesting students can assure they won't disrupt classes or intimidate anyone who chooses to continue with the academic programme.

The university's Shirona Patel said, "Anyone who breaks the university rules or infringes on the rights of others to learn and work will be held accountable."

But student leaders say management is daydreaming if it believes those calling for free education will abandon their cause and go back to class.

The institution says it's not opposed to calls for free education for the poor and missing middle and only wants constructive discussion on the matter.

Meanwhile, University of Cape Town (UCT) announced that it will resume its academic programme tomorrow after several weeks of fees must fall protests.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Max Price said the year's programme can be completed if classes resume tomorrow.

Last week, an opinion poll has showed that more than 16,000 students want lectures to resume.