Has Blade found the money or is he about to return us to the student uprising of last year?
All eyes will be on Minister for Higher Education Blade Nzimande, shortly, as he announces whether tertiary fees will go up or stay the same for next year.
And if he doesn’t deliver what the students want, he can bet we will be where we were same time last year – a student uprising that swept through South Africa’s universities demanding a 0% in fees for the 2016 academic year. There were protests, marches, violence, vandalism and tear-gas, in scenes that resembled the days of apartheid.
It took the students 12 days to reverse what the then Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, couldn’t do – to find money to pay for 0% increases for 2016.
It was on 23 October 2015 that the students had marched to the Union Buildings where President Jacob Zuma was meeting university vice chancellors to find a resolution to what was a situation spiralling out of control. And at 3pm that day, the president made an announcement that there would be no fee hikes for 2016.
The Fees Must Fall movement, which will be commemorating its first anniversary in mid October, started off on the issue of fees but it soon included demands for the decolonisation and transformation of education.
The Wits Student Representative Council has already thrown down the gauntlet with a threat that they will act.
“Our demands are clear: the realisation of a free, decolonized and quality education,” they said in a statement released earlier.
“A commission was set up by the President of the Republic that is currently investigating the feasibility of free education in our South African context. We reject the fact that the commission is investigating the mere feasibility instead of investigating the modalities of how to realize free and quality education. We are tired of talk shops and task teams without implementation. We reject them in their entirety. We also note that the Insourcing Task Team at Wits has failed to properly implement insourcing and has continued to undermine workers through in principle agreements without implementation. In fact the State continues to undermine students by shifting the focus to a fee increment when the greater focus should be free education. We will not be derailed by these delay tactics”.
One of UnCensored Contributors helped Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Nzimande find the money. Simply call on the ABSA loan gentlemen: “1985 loan – R300 million at 15% using simple interest for 31 years is R1,395 billion – and that is just the interest only, with no compounding involved. 1990 loan – R1,5 billion at 15% for 26 years is yet another R5,85 billion – and that’s just the interest. The sum of the 2 interest payments is R7,245 BILLION.