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Madonsela urges students to save 2016 academic year

Madonsela says poor students will suffer the most if the 2016 academic year runs into next year.

FILE: Masked #FeesMustFall supporters carry police shields and rocks during protests over tertiary education fees at Wits University's main campus on 11 October 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says while she understands the call for free higher education, students should not let the academic year go to waste.

Madonsela was responding to questions at a News24 gathering last night.

She says poor students will suffer the most if the 2016 academic year runs into next year.

Yesterday, Madonsela's office announced she had managed to raise nearly R700,000 in donations towards the nationwide #FeesMustFall campaign.

"If we're asking if what had happened 25 years ago, I don't know which side of the coin would I have been, because when you're feeling the heat, your ability to think about ramification is not always where it should be."

Madonsela has lauded all those who have contributed towards her office's #FeesMustFall fund.

Pledges have come from AngloGold chairperson Sipho Pityana - who donated R300,000 - and the former Black Management Forum President Nolitha Fakude - who contributed R40,000 - among others.

Two weeks ago Madonsela contributed R15,000 towards the cause, hoping that it would encourage others.

The Public Protector's spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said: "The Public Protector lauded the contributors saying that their decision to concern themselves with the problems experienced by many students was an indication that they understood that as a society we are all in the same boat."