Govt backs down on university tuition hikes

South African President Jacob Zuma has agreed to cancel a planned rise in student university fees that had led to student protests across the nation. In a televised address President Zuma said “There will be a zero increase in university fees in 2016,” but added “Discussions will continue” with university administrators “looking at the broader issues than the fees.” such as free tuition, institutional autonomy, racism, accountability and black student debt. The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev Thabo Makgoba lent his support to the student campaign to halt the fee increases. In a 23 Oct 2015 statement Archbishop Makgoba said: “I will join about 40 leaders of the National Religious Association for Social Development on a visit to Wits University, my alma mater, this morning.” He appealed to “bishops and parishioners in all our dioceses to support students and staff at tertiary institutions, and to pray for an amicable resolution to the crisis. Apart from holding prayer vigils, I appeal to our churches to give practical help to students in distress.” He asked “everyone involved in the protests to avoid the use of force, and on the police to take action which is strictly proportionate to any threats they may face.” The archbishop’s son, a student at the University of Cape Town, was arrested during one protest but released the following day on bail. “These are our children, as parents we need to act,” Archbishop Makgoba said.

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