Students call for action

11 August 2016 - 08:41 By SIPHO MABENA

Enraged by the slow pace of the inquiry into the feasibility of free education, students have vowed to take their fight back to the streets. Members of the SA Union of Students, a forum of student representative councils of 26 universities, took on the chairman of the commission of inquiry into higher education and training Judge Jonathan Heher yesterday, expressing their disappointment with the commission's progress.The students were angered by the commission's failure to engage them on their presentation, saying they were being treated like pastors who delivered a sermon and went home. #FeesMustFall leaders trash R460 million billLeaders of #FeesMustFall have refused to have their movement's legacy tainted by the protests that caused nearly R460-million in damages to varsity property.Fasiha Hassa, the union's secretary-general, said students were told their presentation would be dealt with at another session.She charged that this was "clearly a deliberate attempt to delay the work of the commission . we reject any delays".Hassa said institutions of higher learning were volatile, saying the need for free and quality education was urgent and that the union could not go back to students "with nothing"."If this means we need to shut down and again prove the power of students, we will do so," she said, adding that the students wanted direct access to President Jacob Zuma. #FeesMustFall activist condemns burning of schools#FeesMustFall student activist Mcebo Dlamini says the burning of schools is counter-revolutionary."We will be taken seriously and if needs be, [we will take it] by force," she said.In their submissions the students called for the docking of salaries of public office bearers, and the nationalisation of banks and mines, [higher] tax for the rich, an end to corruption and a 2.5% increment in education spend to fund free education.The union submitted that former state presidents should not receive the income they received while in office. Poor response to free education inquiryThe commission of inquiry into higher education and training set up by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the feasibility of free tertiary education has received only 11 submissions a week before the closing date.The union's president, Avela Mjajubana, said students had no confidence in the commission, adding that they were disappointed that since its establishment six months ago "it has dealt only with logistics . we are putting it on record that we have the masses of our people behind us and we are going to meet in the streets and the streets will liberate us for the attainment of free education (sic)".The commission was established by Zuma in January to inquire into, report and make recommendations on the feasibility of fee-free higher education and training. Students went on the rampage in October demanding that fees be scrapped and forcing Zuma to halt universities from increasing fees.

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