Three reasons why #FeesMustFall protests will continue

#FeesMustFall protests during 2015. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

#FeesMustFall protests during 2015. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

As some universities prepared for registration for the 2016 academic year, students started #FeesMustFall protests again. On Monday, the first day of registration at the University of the Witwatersand, registration was disrupted by #FeesMustFall students as they demanded that registration fees be cancelled. These protests are a continuation from the ones last year which were intermittently stopped for examinations to take place. Protests continued even after President Jacob Zuma announced that there would be no fee increments for 2016, however, many students were not pleased and vowed that they will continue in the new year. Here are three reasons why the #FeesMustFall protests will continue

Fees did not fall, they were frozen
President Zuma’s announcement at Union Buildings was received with mixed reactions, with most students saying that it was not a victory. “Fees have not fallen. They were merely frozen by a President who refused to address us in person. So no, I am not at all happy,” said a University of Pretoria student at the  Union Buildings in October last year. Even if the fees do not increase, some students will still be financially excluded and will not be able to return to the university. The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) has been inundated with students who have been excluded from the university because of finances. The various #FeesMustFall movements are demanding that all registration fees be cancelled so that students register for free.

End of Outsourcing
Outsourced labour makes up the bulk of the workers at various universities and this issue has been central in the #FeesMustFall protests as outsourced workers stood in solidarity with students. In October last year, a week before #FeesMustFall began, student movements from various universities such as Rhodes, UCT and Wits held a solidarity march calling for the ending of outsourced labour in universities. The fight to end outsourcing is far from over, with university management agreeing to insourcing and task teams having been put into place to determine the most strategic way to implement outsourcing. 

Decolonising academia 
The issue of exorbitant tuition has indeed united South African students, however, before #FeesMustFall there was #RhodesMustFall, #OpenStellenbosch, #TransformWits and #ReformPuk – student-led movements that are dedicated to transforming academia into a more inclusive space. “We don’t want to treat the symptoms, we want to decolonise the university – that is at the heart of the cause,” said EFF Wits leader Vuyani Pambo on KayaFM

As more universities open for registration, it is predicted that protests will continue.

 
Pontsho Pilane

Pontsho Pilane

Pontsho Pilane is a health journalist at the Mail & Guardian. She debuted as a journalist at The Daily Vox, where she wrote primarily about gender, race and how they intersect. She was previously a general news reporter at the M&G. Pilane holds two degrees in media studies from Wits University. Read more from Pontsho Pilane

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