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Students vow to continue fight for free education for all

25 October 2015, 16:40 Mpho Raborife, News24

Johannesburg - Students at the University of Witwatersrand have vowed to continue their #FeesMustFall campaign until all their demands are met, including free quality education for all, they said on Saturday.

One of the students leading the movement, EFF's Wits leader Vuyani Pambo said the decision to continue with the campaign was made on Saturday afternoon on campus.

"The decision was made in a mass meeting today [Saturday] that we must continue because we didn't get what we wanted which is free education."

He said President Jacob Zuma's announcement on Friday that there would be no fee increase for the 2016 academic year was a step in the right direction, but students still had other demands which were not addressed.

The protest began last week Wednesday, when Wits students protested against a proposed 10.5% fee hike for 2016. Other tertiary institutions country-wide joined in the protests.

On Friday, President Jacob Zuma announced that university heads and students’ leaders had agreed on a zero percent fee increment for next year.

His announcement was met with mixed reactions from students. Some were happy that one of their demands had been met, some wanted to know when the government would implement the ultimate goal which was free education for all.

Pambo has described the #FeesMustFall campaign as an "ongoing conversation" and could not say whether there was an end in sight.

On Saturday, Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib expressed his disappointment at the students' decision to continue protesting.

"We are disappointed at their decision, as we feel that it will put in jeopardy the academic futures of many students who will not be able to pass or graduate. This will only further entrench and deepen the inequalities in our society."

He said a special meeting would be held on Monday by the senate, the institution's highest decision-making body, to discuss the protest and the resumption of the academic programme.

The outcome of the meeting would be communicated to all students and staff.

- News24


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