27/10/2017 08:53 SAST | Updated 27/10/2017 09:06 SAST

Students Plan National Day Of Action Over Fees

Student leaders say they will rally behind the call for free education to force government to release the fees commission report.

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Students are planning a national day of action as their demands for President Jacob Zuma to release the much-awaited Fees Commission Report intensify.

In a statement, Wits University's outgoing student representative council (SRC) said it was talking to student leaders at other universities to rally support.

"We call on a national day of action for all stakeholders to march together, with student leaders to rally behind the call for free education to force government to release the report on the fees commission," the SRC said.

It said it fully supported a shutdown at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Incoming Wits EFF SRC members expressed frustration at the silence from outgoing student leaders.

'Take to the picket line'

The EFF SRC said that while they empathised with the students at UCT and CPUT, they have been waiting for the outgoing SRC to relinquish their powers before possibly endorsing a shutdown at the institution.

"The Wits EFFSRC has never and will never be afraid to take to the picket line and fight for students. However, what we do see is that the PYA wishes to trap us and blackmail us through the idea of a shutdown so as to ensure that the Wits EFF never sees office in 2017 (sic).

"We therefore explicitly state once more that, when we get into office, we will have the powers and authority to call for a mass meeting and engage with students on a solid way forward. And this, we shall do," they said.

On Wednesday, about 150 UCT and CPUT students marched to the National Assembly where Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba was delivering his medium-term budget speech, but by the time they got there, the minister had already completed his speech.

In 2016, protesters periodically shut down a number of campuses across the country as they demanded free education.

Zuma was forced to announce a 0% increment for 2017, pending the report that now forms the centre of the latest wave of protest action.

-- News24