Protests over fee increases have forced the suspension of teaching at three of South Africa’s top
Protests have spread from Johannesburg’s Wits University, closed last week after thousands demonstrated on campus, to the universities of Rhodes and Cape Town (UCT).
Wits University agreed to suspend a 10.5 per cent tuition fee increase on Friday, pending negotiations with students.
Protesters argue that poorer, mainly black students, would be worst affected.
A statement from Wits University said that a decline in state subsidy over the years, combined with inflationary pressures, were behind the fee increases in recent years.
Many of the affected universities are historically white institutions and while the demographics in the classrooms have changed since the end of apartheid in 1994, critics say the economic conditions of black families wanting to enrol their children have all but remained the same.
Black students say the institutions’ high fees are now keeping them from getting a good education. Many say they rely on student loans and scholarships and these are at times difficult to secure.