A faction of the #FeesMustFall movement, embarked on a protest at the Wits University, calling on non-exclusion of students based on their finance status, as 140 students were denied funding by FundSA Lushaka Funding, from the Department of Higher Education. Picture: MOELETSI MABE/THE TIMES
A faction of the #FeesMustFall movement. Picture: MOELETSI MABE/THE TIMES

"THERE shall be no discussion about fee increments by universities" until the final report of the Fees Commission has been tabled‚ the union federation Cosatu said.

This is the position it took following a meeting on Tuesday with the South African Union for Students (SAUS) about what they called the "struggle for free education".

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla told TMG Digital that the federation supported the call by the students for zero-percent increment in fees for the 2017 academic year until the commission appointed by President Jacob Zuma tabled its final report as mandated.

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"In the absence of such a report‚ there shall be no discussion about fee increment by universities‚" said Pamla.

Cosatu and the SAUS indicated that "this country has enough resources hidden in the pockets of white monopoly capital‚ which is not even invested in the economy of our country".

"Instead‚ it illicitly gets hidden in tax havens‚" Pamla said.

Part of a joint programme of action agreed to at the meeting would be having the private sector take responsibility for the attainment of free education for the poor in SA.

The two organisations urged the government to lead from the front to ensure that the necessary steps were taken at a faster pace to finalise the matter‚ which included its demands on the private sector.

"Cosatu is already going to the central executive committee (CEC)‚ where this matter will be part of the agenda‚ and the CEC will come up with clear decisions on how the whole programme of action will be intensified across all the institutions of higher learning‚" said Pamla.

Pamla said the struggle for free education for the poor was a struggle the working class should wage relentlessly‚ and win. Students and workers would work shoulder to shoulder until the demands for free education were met‚ Pamla added.

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The SAUS’s Sthembiso Ndlovu recently threatened that any form of fee increment at institutions would lead to them being shut down.

University of Johannesburg (UJ) student representative council president Rethabile Ntshinga said the council was affiliated with the SAUS‚ and "if we receive a mandate from SAUS‚ we are going to implement it".

"If they say we must shut down all institutions‚ we will implement‚" said Ntshinga.

TMG Digital