PROTESTING Walter Sisulu University (WSU) students this week marched through the Komani CBD to the campus protesting an 8% fee increment for 2017.WSU SRC member Dobbie Magwentshu said they were against the university’s decision.
“This is all because the university has imposed 8% fee increments while we made a request in January that we wanted no increases. They did not adhere to our request.
“They are telling us that government promised to pay this money but students would have to apply for payments. The application process is subject to rejection of some and we want something that is going to cater for everyone.”
A decision had been taken to suspend classes until demands – which include improved transport services and the need to address staff shortages – were met. “We took a resolution that we would protest until the university responds to the petition we gave them a month ago. We wrote a letter to tell the dean that classes would be suspended for this week until they respond to the matter.”
The students broke a window on campus and some were seen overturning refuse bins. “We agreed that there would not be any damage to property but the students get out of hand and anything must be expected when dealing with students.”
Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) provincial secretary Simamkele Maseti said they feared being excluded from studying next year. “All student political structures are against the fee increment. This is a proposal to the vice chancellor of WSU and Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande that we are ready to write exams. We are supposed to start on November 9 but our fear is going to write exams without knowing what will happen in 2017.”
WSU spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo could not comment.
“We do not have a press release because we don’t have details yet. We are waiting for the students to engage us and give us their demands or memorandum. A press release will be issued only when we have enough information.”
By late Wednesday, police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Komani station commissioner Colonel Mzoli Kopolo said 17 students were arrested and charged with public violence and illegal marching. The students will appear in court today