National News

Free higher education debate continues


In October 2015 the Fees Must Fall student movement engaged in protest action at universities across South Africa, putting forward a number of demands. The protest started at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) when students began protesting against a 10.5% increase in university tuition fees.

The movement spread to other universities as students demanded a 0% increase in fees and free education, and raised other issues such as the outsourcing of workers at universities. At UP students peacefully protested on UP’s Hatfield campus. The protests came to an end after students from UP, Wits, Tshwane University of Technology, and the University of Johannesburg marched to the Union Buildings on 23 October 2015, where President Jacob Zuma was expected to address students. While the President ultimately did not address the students protesting at the Union Buildings, he addressed the nation on national television and announced that there would be a 0% increase in university tuition fees for 2016.

Read more: Free higher education debate continues

Universities face fee crisis


On 26 August News24 published an article titled “16 SA universities in ‘financial distress’ named”. The article named 16 out of 26 public universities in the country that are facing financial distress for 2017/18. The universities were named by Dr Blade Nzimande, while answering a parliamentary question posed by Belinda Bozzoli, a shadow minister for DA.

Dr Nzimande explained that the combined deficit of all 16 universities is estimated at R3.97 billion should a 0% increase in fees be implemented. The universities are ranked in order of deficit size beginning with the largest:

Read more: Universities face fee crisis

Anti-Racism Week at a glance


Anti-Racism Week, launched by the Anti- Racism Network of South Africa (ARNSA), took place from 14-21 March. Many institutions across the country acted in response to this.

UP began to tackle racism through its “Re A Bua programme”, which included an anti-racism pledge that students and staff were encouraged to sign. The campaign aims “to build a solid foundation on which to increase inclusivity and social cohesion within the institution”, according to the Department of Human Capital and Transformation.

Read more: Anti-Racism Week at a glance

Failed impeachment bid saves Zuma again


President Jacob Zuma survived another attempt on his political life as the DA led motion to impeach him on 5 April failed.

Out of the 376 votes cast in the National Assembly, 233 of them were not in favour of the motion of impeachment – keeping the president in power – while 143 votes were cast in favour of the motion.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane anticipated the strength of the ruling party in protecting the president, saying, “Today is an historic day. It will be recorded that ANC members chose to defend a crooked, broken president instead of the Constitution and the rule of law. Today will signal once and for all that the ANC has lost its way, and there is no way back.” Fellow opposition leaders backed the motion, with IFP MP Narend Singh telling MP’s, “Saying ‘no’ to this motion will be morally unconscionable. Do the right thing. If you choose not to, then cry the beloved country.” EFF leader Julius Malema implored ANC MP’s to vote in favour of the motion, saying, “Stop thinking through your stomachs, use your brain to think.”

Read more: Failed impeachment bid saves Zuma again

#FeesMustFall: success for students


On 26 October students met at the Amphitheatre and decided to occupy the Client Service Centre (CSC). It was announced in the CSC that UPrising had updated the original memorandum, handed to Vice- Chancellor Prof. Cheryl de la Rey, on Wednesday 21 October, and that they had added more demands to it.

After several hours, Prof. De la Rey announced that she would sign off in agreement with the updated memorandum, which led to cheers from students.

This comes in light of the peaceful protests last week that took place on Hatfield campus. UP students joined a mass student march on Friday 23 October to the Union Buildings, which was part of a protest related to the #FeesMustFall campaign which contested the increase of university fees across the country. The march was attended by over 15 000 people from various universities, including the Tshwane University of Technology, the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Johannesburg and UP.

Read more: #FeesMustFall: success for students

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