University fee talks fail to end protests

Students of the University of Johannesburg are set to continue their protests over fee increases, the university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) said on Saturday.

SRC president Mhlobowethu Hoyi said the protests—against a 14% hike effective from next year—are set to go ahead after discussions deadlocked at about 1pm at the Bunting Road campus on Saturday.

“Protests will continue. We want 0% increment ... during the meeting the management negotiating team resorted to an all-or-nothing approach,” said Hoyi.

He said students will protest at the university’s Kingsway campus on Monday.

“Should there be a deadlock on Monday, we will make a public call in order to get independent mediators who will facilitate talks.
We are, however, consistent that we are not prepared to budge on 0% for harmonisation,” said Hoyi.

A university spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

On Friday, a memorandum of grievances was handed over to the vice-chancellor, Professor Ihron Rensburg. More than 300 students marched outside the Bunting Road campus earlier in the day as they waited for the institution’s management to attend a scheduled meeting between the two parties.

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.—Sapa

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