October 14, 2022 marked seven years since the beginning of the 2015 Fees Must Fall protests and movement by extension. While the protests formally started at the University of Witwatersrand, the issues raised around student funding, decolonisation and outsourcing were issues that had been happening at universities around the country. Here is how it happened from The Daily Vox’s archives of October 2015.
On October 6, Wits students, workers and academics held a protest action calling for the in-sourcing of workers and #EndOutsourcing.
Students at the University of Witwatersrand started protesting on October 14 2015 in response to an announcement by the university that fees would be raised by 10.5%.
After four days of protesting, the Wits council decided to suspend the fee hike.
However, at this point, around October 17-19, protests and shutdowns started at the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University.
The protests started at other universities as well as TVET colleges.
In Johannesburg, students marched to Luthuli House to call on the ANC to sign a memorandum around free education. At this point, universities across the country had started shutting down from Fort Hare to UKZN to Wits, UCT, CPUT, DUT, NWU and more.
On October 21, students from UCT, CPUT and UWC and other universities in the Western Cape marched to parliament over the fee increases and outsourcing of workers. They were met with a heavy police presence and violence.
On October 23, students in Gauteng marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Over the past few weeks, the calls from the students had changed from the fee hike to free education. In Pretoria, vice chancellors and student representatives met with President Jacob Zuma in to negotiate a way forward. That afternoon, Zuma announced there would be no increase in university fees for 2016. In January 2016, Zuma launched an inquiry on the feasibility of free tertiary education.
Even with the announcement by the president, protests continued on many universities especially on issues around #EndOutsourcing of workers.
The protests started again in 2016 with an announcement by the minister of higher education around the fee structures for the 2017 academic year.
Check out the rest of the reporting and stories around the #FeesMustFall movement here.