Bfn student community takes hands to march for free education

Photo: Mark Steenbok

The student community of Bloemfontein took to the streets today as they marched to the Free State provincial offices to demand a 0% increase in student fees for next year.

Hundreds of students from both the Central University of Technology (CUT) and University of the Free State (UFS) formed part of the march. The march started earlier in the day as UFS students made their way through Nelson Mandela Drive with the police maintaining a strong presence throughout.

The march comes amidst countrywide violent protests, following the announcement by the minister of higher education, Blade Nzimande, that university fees for 2017 could be determined by universities themselves and can be up to a maximum of 8%.

Students were adamant that they want to see free education implemented for all. The provincial government said they will respond in due course.

Meanwhile, the CUT Student Representative Council (SRC) president, Ngozo Thapelo, says students should not be classified according to class. He was speaking at the Bloemfontein campus, where they handed over their own list of demands to the acting Vice Chancellor, Henk de Jager.

“Somebody who is rich today will be poor tomorrow, you never know. Another demand at our institution is that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allowances must be paid by at least the end of February for year students and end of July for semester students. We are not going to continue with the academic programmes until our demands are responded to by the CUT management,” says Thapelo.

De Jager said they will respond to this list of demands on Monday morning.

Mark Steenbok/Courant News