#FeesMustFall: 4 reasons why students say the protests must continue

by: Abigail Javier - 30 October 2015

#FeesMustFall: 4 reasons why students say the protests must continue

When Jacob Zuma announced that there would be no fee increase, it was a victory for many, but not for all. Aside from the fee increment, there were many sub struggles that each university had that were left are unaddressed.

Here are some of them:

Outsourcing of university workers
According to the Mail & Guardian, some universities have been using outsourced workers – like cleaners, cooks and maintenance workers – since the late 1990s.

A call to stop outsourcing was a call that united students and workers at UCT and Wits. They argue that workers are being paid less and have lost the benefits they previously received from the university like pensions.

“The university is running away from paying those workers their pension fund,” said Mcebo Dlamini, former SRC president of Wits University, to ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe after marching to Luthuli House last week.

Mohammed Abdulla, a student member of #RhodesMustFall movement, said to Independent Online that if outsourcing does not end, students will continue to keep UCT down.

Extra fees and financial exclusion
These include registration fees, residential and minimum initial payments (MIP), which is a percentage of the tuition fees one needs to pay in the beginning of the year.

At the University of Pretoria, registration fees cost between R7 500 and R40 000, depending on whether you’re a local, international or a student from another African country.

But after a mass #Uprising meeting with Vice chancellor Cheryl De La Rey, the students and the university reached a compromise.

It was agreed that there would be no increase on the registration fee, and that the more underprivileged students would not need to pay it.

Rhodes University students were disgruntled over the 50% MIPs they need to give. If left unpaid, they would be forced to leave without access to their academic credits or degree.

The matter was settled with the MIPs being scrapped altogether but a registration fee would be required to be paid.

While these issues have been resolved, other universities are still dealing with other financial issues like inadequacies of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s (NSFAS) funding.

At the University of Fort Hare, especially, students said the NSFAS funding model excludes the black middle class, whose parents are poor, but not poor enough to fit the loan requirements.

Decolonisation of universities

The removal of a statue of Afrikaans poet Totius called a rift between black and white students the North West University’s Potchefstroom campus.

The black students wanted to remove the statue but the white students protected it.

The statue still stands.

Similar to the #RhodesMustFall and #OpenStellenbosch movements, Reform PUK is a movement aimed at decolonizing the university. The statue is just one of the things they are fighting for. Language policy and the use of translation devices is another.

Lack of resources and unsafe conditions

While most universities have resumed academic activities, some are unable to due to lack of resources and unbearable studying conditions.

For Tshwane University Technology (TUT), this was an issue prior to the #FeesMustFall protests.

SASCO’s chairperson Matimba Shirimba said that safety is a huge concern for TUT students because security guards are incompetent.

“Students get robbed on this campus and there have been cases where they were raped,” he said.

Shirimba adds that there are also not enough buses to transport students, food sold on campus is stale and that the university lights are not functioning correctly.

Classes at TUT remain suspended, as students have continued protesting.

Image by Gaobaona Mathibe