Students still suffer even after #FeesMustFall movement

Former Wits University SRC president and leader of the #FeesMustFall movement Mcebo Dlamini during a protest in 2016 by Wits students against the increase of fees. The writer wonders whether the fees must fall was a real revolution.
Former Wits University SRC president and leader of the #FeesMustFall movement Mcebo Dlamini during a protest in 2016 by Wits students against the increase of fees. The writer wonders whether the fees must fall was a real revolution.
Image: Thulani Mbele

After all the hullabaloo noting the bravery of student leaders as these game-changers who could force the government to sponsor free education, the present reality does not agree.

Universities continue to demand registration and tuition fees without any compromise and are taking full advantage of the conditions allowed by the pandemic.

Many students face the reality of being excluded from the academic year because they just cannot pay. The institutions are bolstering their financial coffers with threatening messages like "provisional registration" and "outstanding fees".

There is no mercy today, when educational institutions want to recoup money from poor students even during a pandemic. But when state entities lose money to corruption, recouping that money is done through hugs and kisses for the cadres involved.

The more things change, it seems, the more they stay the same. In any case, what is a "free education" on an empty stomach? After a free education, who will pay for accommodation and books? Somebody has to pay for what is free, somewhere and somehow.

Added to the costs for the government, is the need to buy vaccines and keep the R350 payout coming, at least, I suppose, until after an election.

Not only are educational institutions demanding payment for the so-called free education, they are binding the parents of desperate students into tight contracts and subsequent life-long debts owed to the institutions. It makes one wonder whether the fees must fall was a real revolution.

Khotso KD Moleko, Warrenville, Bloemfontein

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