Nzimande to announce if fees will fall again in 2017 academic year

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016

The anxious wait on many university campuses comes to an end on Monday when the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, is expected to announce the fee increases for the 2017 academic year.

In August, while briefing Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Nzimande revealed that the Council of Higher Education (CHE) had indicated that if the 0% fee increases were implemented again in 2017, about 19 universities will become dysfunctional in 2018, and that if increases were to be based on CPI, about 10 universities will be rendered dysfunctional.

National Treasury has also spoken out against another 0% fee increase, which would ultimately lead to increases in tax in order for government to source the required funds.

However, student bodies have threatened protests worse than the 2015 #Feesmustfall unrests that left damage worth hundreds of millions of Rands on campuses around the country if the Minister increases the fees for next year.

Similar protests have already been witnessed at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), which witnessed SASCO-led #FeesMustFall disruptions recently, as well as at Stellenbosch University and University of Cape Town in the past week.

Speaking at the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (the Fees Commission) in East London, NMMU Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Sibongile Muthwa outlined the institution’s recommendations in the national attempt towards a viable university funding solution.

She highlighted a need for a national university funding review, adequate financial support for the so-called “missing middle” and improved management of student loans to help the national financial aid scheme meet the funding needs of poorer, academically deserving students.

Meanwhile, government on Sunday said it had noted with concern media reports that protesting students at the University of Stellenbosch have been injured after clashing with security on campus.

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director-General Donald Liphoko on Friday echoed the Department of Higher Education and Training’s assurance that the matter of student fees is receiving full attention.

“Government is calling on all students and campus securities to reduce tensions on campus and allow an environment for dialogue around emerging solutions to the fees challenge,” said Liphoko.

Government has called on all South Africans, students at tertiary education institutions and parents to address their grievances within the confines of the law in the spirit of moving South Africa forward.

The Fees Commission was established in January 2016 to inquire into, report on and make recommendations on the feasibility of a fee free higher education and training in South Africa.

It is expected to submit a preliminary report to the President in November 2016 and a full report in June 2017.


-additional reporting