The #FeesMustFall protest in the tip of Africa resumed this morning at one of the continent’s top higher education institutions, the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), causing the suspension of on campus registrations.
Registration was halted in the morning and expected to commence at 12 pm following the outcome of a meeting between student leadership and the university, but WITS spokesperson, Shiron Patel, stated that registrations will commence on Wednesday.
“Students can register online in the meanwhile. Students that are under NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) will be allowed to register for free once registration commences,” says Patel.
This did not sit well with the protestors who want free registration for all students. Sarah Mokwebo, who was handing out a pamphlet with a list of demands from the #FeesMustFall protestors, says WITS must be thoughtful towards all students.
“What about the students who aren’t poor enough to be under NSFAS, yet aren’t rich enough to afford varsity fees? How are they expected to afford quality education?” asked Mokwebo.
Below is the list of demands that were in the pamphlet:
- We demand Free Education Now
- No Registration Fee (even where there is outstanding debt)
- By-elections for SRC (Elections were unconstitutional)
- Historic debt repayment for students who are graduating this year to be scrapped in total
- Access to academic record whether you are in debt or not
- Left-over food from all dining halls must be given to poor students and day scholars on campus (inclusive of weekends)
- Suspensions and disciplinary action due to the protest that took place in 2015 should be revoked
- No police presence on campus
- African Students (international students) within the border of Africa should not pay an upfront fee payment of 75 per cent but rather it should be pushed down to 50 per cent
- Removal of upfront accommodation fee and students should be allowed to move upon registration
- Returning NSFAS Students in their final year should be given financial aid to complete academic studies.
At the University of Johannesburg, its campuses were also shut down with visible police presence on site. Students were given a pamphlet with instructions on how to go about registering online.