NMMU #FeesMustFall protesters march down Govan Mbeki Avenue


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) #FeesMustFall protesters on Thursday marched to the university's off-campus residences in the Port Elizabeth CBD before going down the city's Govan Mbeki Avenue to draw attention to their calls for free education.

The group had early on also marched to the offices of The Herald, at Newspaper House, where they apparently handed over a memorandum to the paper's management over coverage of the local #FeesMustFall protests.

The students also visited the city's main taxi rank along Govan Mbeki Avenue, where they are understood to have appealed to the local taxi industry to join their cause.

NMMU responds to concerns

The NMMU released a list of responses to Frequently Asked Questions relating specifically to various issues and challenges at the university. Click here > FAQS

Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training concerned about prolonged protest

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, Connie September, on Thursday called for more dialogue on the ongoing university fees crisis.

“Solutions are best found through dialogue and not through rubber bullets. The Committee is concerned about the loss of life as a result of the protests, the number of injuries and the trail of damage to property which is the most needed infrastructure,” September said.

“Universities cannot even plan or implement catch-up programmes in order to salvage what is left of the year. The Committee is very concerned about this crisis. Even more concerning is the amount of money that will be spent on repairs and refurbishments, money that could have been used to afford more students an opportunity to study at a university.”

Since the Minister Dr Blade Nzimande announced fee increases for 2017 students across the country have been up in arms. The announcement by the Minister was that university councils will decided fee increases but could not go beyond 8%.

The category of students described as the missing middle and the poor will not be affected by the increases. Ms September said dialogue brought about democracy in our country, and should be the option we use even now.

“Students, parents, academia and all interested parties should be given a voice through dialogue. We want to know from government, based on its analysis and evidence, who must take responsibility to repair damages to infrastructure.”

“South Africa’s economy needs graduates and thus all parties must salvage what is left of the academic year, and that should be balanced with the demands of students. The Committee welcomes any steps that will take the country in the direction of resolving these matters, and such steps should involve communities.

 September said Parliament would intensify its oversight role on stabilisation programme and futuristic finance regime for the entire higher education sector.

“Government has increased access to higher education by not only opening up Technical Vocational Education and Training colleges, but also providing funding even for the missing middle,” she said.