As university students across the country intensify their demand for free education under the banner of #FeesMustFall, their cause has not been peaceful with incidents of violence being widely reported. Those who are sympathetic are getting worried that the violence associated with the students’ protests is sabotaging their legitimate claim which is in line with the Freedom Charter that there shall be free and compulsory education.
In October 2015, we saw one of the biggest student protests in post apartheid Africa. Students from tertiary institutions protesting against fee increments and called for “free quality Afrocentric socialist education.” Outsourced workers at the instutions joined the protest action calling for insourcing. So much has been written on the campaign and what lessons that can be learnt from it.
The protest was a response to proposed fee hikes by the institutions.
The student strike at Wits University gained momentum when the vice chancellor and his executive deadlocked in negotiations with maybe 2,000 students in the occupied Senate House (renamed Solomon Mahlangu House) over a fee hike of 10.5% for next year.