AMCU stands in solidarity with the #FeesMustFall campaign and what it stands for as we recognise education as a a basic right and not a privilege. It is the key to breaking free from the shackles of poverty and the vicious cycle of those that are born into poverty. It is emancipating the minds of our children for them to believe that they can aspire to be anything they want to be.
Students are pawns in in an unjust system that favours the capital above all and leave the vulnerable to bear the brunt of such a brutal, cancerous and self-serving system where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The Government has forgotten what we fought for. The South African government ought to keep to their promise of free education for all, for the betterment of the nation and future generations to come.
The resilience demonstrated by students from various tertiary institutions under the quest for free quality education saw students unite in sending one message, free education for all.
The students adopted a movement known as #FeesMustFall where they carried out peaceful protests aimed at addressing the increase in tuition fees; although this reaction began in October 2015, it gained momentum in 2016 when the minister of Higher education Blade Nzimande announced the capped 8% increase.
On 5 November Wits University announced an 8% increase in tuition and residencial fees, for both local and international students.
Many students took to social media to vent and express their disbelief and disgruntlement at the announcement while others felt that the entire campaign was a waste of time.
On Twitter @sir_taunj said “As I start preparing for next year’s #FeesMustFallMovement. 8% is no child’s play.
@yann_leyka said “8% increment means that my fees are increasing by R9600.
@kahnyii_xx said “Considering how expensive Wits fees are then an 8% increase is implemented. Will parents get an 8% to their salaries too?”
The Wits SRC expressed their disappointment in a statement that was released on Tuesday 6 December that stated the position of the SRC anything more than 0% increase was unacceptable.
“The university had sufficient time to pool together their resources in an attempt to avoid a fee increment. It is clear that the university has no intention of pronouncing a 0%. We had hoped that the university would have recognised the need to rebuild a very broken and disunited institution, using a 0% pronouncement as a starting point,” said the statement.
Wits spokeswoman Shirona Patel maintained that the decision on the was recommended by management and the Financial Committee (FinCo) of the University as well as approved by council after consultation with the elected SRC.”
She said the university had no choice but to increase fees if it was to remain financially sustainable.
She explained that academics, professional and administrative staff needed to be remunerated, books and journals needed to be purchased (many in foreign currency), utilities needed to be paid and infrastructure needed to be maintained.