Last week Thursday, July 28 the Student Representative Council (SRC) at UCT organized an emergency mass meeting with students to discuss a plan of action in response to the possibility of a fee increment for 2017. According to Rorisang Moseli, President of UCT’s SRC, there are reports that have indicated that UCT fees might increase by 13%. The meeting took place at the New Lecture Theatre at 13:00. The topic of discussion set for the meeting was the fee increment for 2017 and intensifying the call for free education.
Student News Grid spoke to Moseli about the meeting. He explained that students made it clear that they do not want a fee increment but instead want free education. He went on to say that “there was increased fear of protest due to the ongoing process with some students facing disciplinary charges and interdicts.” Moseli told Student News Grid that by the end of the meeting the SRC had been mandated to push for a zero percent increase and emphasize the importance of attaining free education. Moseli also noted that the possibilities of a shutdown and protest had also been considered “in the near future as responses to an unresponsive state and University management.”
Although the meeting had a set topic of discussion, conversations extended to questions surrounding the credibility of the SRC. Zimingonaphakade Sigenu, a UCT student who attended, explained that “the discussion ended up questioning the credibility of the SRC as a legitimate leader for a cause that is in opposition of the fee increment because there were a lot of shortcomings on the SRC’s part in terms of their involvement within student movements such as FMF and RMF last year.”
The SRC and other opinions on the fee increase
Moseli explained that “If the Presidential Commission into Free Education wants an extension of their mandate- we want an extension on the moratorium on fee increments.” #ZeroPercent has been the trending hashtag receiving support from SASCO’s UCT branch, Wits SRC and students in general. However not everyone is behind #ZeroPercent as some are critical of asking for no fee increments as they believe that free education is what the SRC should be fighting for. On Twitter, one tweet read, “#Zeropercent is just a sell-out slogan; the fight should be for #FreeEducation klaar.”