University of Jo'burg fee talks still carry on

Discussions over fee increases at the University of Johannesburg started on Friday night and would continue into the weekend.

“Agreements were reached that substantive discussions on the fee increment would commence immediately and continue over the weekend,” university spokesperson Sonia Cronje said at about 8pm on Friday.

The university’s management executive committee; the chairperson of the university council, Professor Roy Marcus; and student leaders were present at the meeting, which adjourned at about 6pm on Friday.

Cronje said that prior to the start of discussions, a memorandum of grievances was handed over to the vice-chancellor, Professor Ihron Rensburg, by the president of the Student Representative Council (SRC), Mhlobo Hoyi.

More than 300 students marched outside the Bunting Road campus earlier on Friday as they waited for the institution’s management to attend the scheduled meeting between the two parties.

“Ten of us will be at the negotiating table to try and get the management to lower the percent,” said the SRC’s George Molepo, referring to the university’s proposed tuition fee hikes. Students are against the 14% hike effective from next year.

The meeting between the university council and the students’ delegation began just before 3pm.

Some provincial ANC Youth League members joined the march early on Friday in support of the protest action. “We don’t want to hear the reasons for the increment; we are saying it should not happen,” said the league’s provincial secretary, Lebo Maile.

Meanwhile, Marcus said he was disappointed at the students’ conduct. “I’m extremely disappointed at the students. They are complaining about service delivery, but at the same time do not want us to increase the fees. The harsh reality is that we are not getting enough subsidies from the government.”

The meeting between the institution’s management and students was expected to determine whether the strike would carry on next week.—Sapa

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