Update: Minister Nzimande's awaited briefing on fees postponed

AUGUST 12, 2016

Update: The media briefing to update nation on university fees for 2017 by Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, has been postponed. According to a statement by Higher Education Dept, the postponement is to allow for further consultations.

Universities and students across South Africa on Friday were anxiously awaiting Minister Nzimande's announcement of possible fee increases for the 2017 academic year in the afternoon.

Nzimande was expected to announce the recommendations of the Council for Higher Education on next year’s fee increases as the country's institutions of higher learning fear they may not be able to meet their financial obligations if fees are not increased for next year.

A 6% fee increase has been thrown around lately.

National Treasury had warned that it might consider hiking taxes in order to fund free education.

However, the South African Students Congress (Sasco) on Thursday warned the country's universities not to try to initiate fee increase discussions, or they would “meet [students] in the battlefields”.

SASCO also described as a waste of time and money the six-month extension granted to the Fees Commission looking into the feasibility of free tertiary education - arguing that a ministerial task team has already established the feasibility of free education.

The findings from the Fees Commission, which is currently conducting public hearings into the matter, are only expected in 2017.

In 2015, hundreds of millions Rands worth of damaged was recorded at several campuses after the #FeesMustFall protests broke out. The Eastern Cape's Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Rhodes University, Walter Sisulu University and University of Fort Hare also witnessed the carnage, albeit, at varying degrees.

In the end, government was forced to cancel any fees increments for 2016. 

Some student organisations have already warned of similar violence this year if government allows universities to increase fees in 2017.