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Students leaders warn govt of unconventional response to university fee hikes

Last week, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that he's proposed a 4.7% increase on university tuition fees for the 2021 academic year and a 6.7% hike on accomodation fees.

FILE: A group of Wits University students staging a small demonstration at Solomon Mahlangu House on 5 February 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Student leaders said that they stood by the resolutions of the Fees Must Fall movement and have warned government that they will respond to any fee increment in an unconventional manner.

Last week, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that he's proposed a 4.7% increase on university tuition fees for the 2021 academic year and a 6.7% hike on accommodation fees.

The Higher Education sector is expected to begin classes in March next year due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Students next year will reply to it in a way that is unfashionable. When we reply to it, the government will be forced to lower fees."

That's Wits SRC president Mpendulo Mfeka, who said that students at the university were against any fee increment, especially now that COVID-19 had forced institutions of higher learning to use online classes.

"If we anticipate that we're going to have a second wave, it means that online learning will continue and not so many students are going to be on campus."

While the University of Cape Town's SRC president, Declan Dyer, said that their position on fee increments was clear.

"As the SRC, we stand by the resolutions of the Fees Must Fall era, particularly around zero percent fee increases."

The students said that they were also against any fee rebates for the current academic year, saying that they could not be forced to pay for services they did not use.

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