They expressed their approval on the moratorium on fee increases, which allows for more time for the commission of inquiry into the feasibility of free education that was announced by President Jacob Zuma, which they stated were “delays in the implementation of the demands of the #FeesMustFall 2015 protests”. They also said that they disapprove of the decision to allow for the commission to report back in June 2017. They criticised the government in failing to identify who should be exempted from paying fees due to their backgrounds, and who of the “elite” should pay. They reiterated that they reject the investigation of the feasibility of free education instead of the investigation of “modalities of how to realise free and quality education.”
In the statement, they also emphasised that some students had provided evidence that they had been blocked from viewing their marks due to financial circumstances, which goes against an arrangement with management that was agreed upon earlier this semester. The SRC has given UP until Thursday 18 August “to unblock all students’ marks based on financial circumstances”. They also stated that they would engage with management this week about the depletion of student funds for meals and that they would commit to finding “immediate substantive interventions”.
Furthermore the SRC have condemned the university’s decision to deploy extra security guards and to tighten security measures whenever students come together to “engage with pertinent issues”. They called this approach “provocative” and “draconian” and a “complete waste of money”.
The statement laid out several demands, quoted below:
The call to end student victimisation, with particular emphasis on the 24 accused students of the institution who were arrested and released on bail by the SRC for protesting for more transformation within the institution.
- Moratorium of fee increments
We will not engage any form of increment and the call for private sectors, the biggest beneficiaries of graduates, to begin to play an active role in assisting with this demand. Students went to express that if the minister is to announce any fees related matter, he must begin to announce a decrease
- Free, quality, decolonised education now
While the issue of fee increases might be resolved in the immediate term as we demand, the discussion about free higher education forces us to reopen a national debate that the student movement lost in the mid-1990s when transformation became reduced to a series of technocratic interventions, and the representation of different constituencies (or “stakeholders”) in institutional processes and structures increasingly began to dominate the discussions about and approaches to transformation.
While these demands were emphasised in the statement, the primary issue engaged with at the mass meeting was fees. The above mentioned demands were proposed by SRC chairperson and deputy secretary Thabo Shingange and not engaged with by students. The university has not responded publicly to the statement.