We did not ask for loans, that is not free education – student leaders


Student Representative Councils (SRCs) from some universities across the country are rejecting the recommendations made by the Fees Commission report on the funding of higher education.

On Monday, 13th November, President Jacob Zuma released the official Fees Commission report, which recommended that students can make use of income contingent loans (ICL), through public/private partnerships with financial institutions (i.e. bank loans) which would be underwritten by the government to fund higher education.

Mangosuthu University of Technology SRC president Sandile Dlamini rejected the bank loan recommendation made in the report. “Understanding how banks operate, you’re saying students must go borrow money from the bank, they must be the ones who are now funding the education, but through loans. Who is going to repay those loans in the end,” he told The Daily Vox.

Athi Ndita, SRC deputy president of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) said that #FeesMustFall’s demand was for free education and not loans. “ We’ve never asked for loans, we asked for free education and I don’t think that can be associated with loans,” he said.

The report also proposed the scrapping of application and registration fees for higher education. However some council members are still not pleased with this recommendation.

Ndita said that CPUT had already scrapped its application and registration fees. “There’s nothing new there, we did it last year already. Maybe it is for other universities but at CPUT there was no registration fee this year and there won’t be next year,” he said. Ndita also said that the recommendations by the report are worse than the already existing government funding scheme. “They could have just said they can’t do it and stopped wasting our time. They must pay back the money they spent on that entire commission,” he said.

Nelson Mandela University’s SRC president, Bamanye Matiwane, said that it is contradictory for government to recommend the scrapping of application and registration fees but still offer income contingent loans to students. “They can scrap it but we reject that contradiction,” he said. Matiwane also said that if the department of higher education does not offer free education by 2018, they will shut down their campuses. “We are the students’ voice, we are not going to sell out at any point. We will shut down next year if there is no free, quality education,” he added.

Stellenbosch University student leader Lwando Nkamisa said the SRC was also not pleased with the report’s recommendations, and proposed an alternative means of demanding for free education at higher levels. “There is no longer appetite for mass action, we need to look at other ways of getting attention from government on getting free education.”

The SRC deputy president of the University Currently Known As Rhodes, Kuda Rejoice Chingono, said the SRC still needs to deliberate and establish a stance on the report.

In a tweet, the University of Cape Town’s Democratic Alliance Student Organisation, which won last month’s SRC elections, seemed to reject the Fees Commissions recommendation that students be funded by loans.

Kwanele Mbatha, student leader at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus said the SRC was yet to read the report and consult with students on what the university’s stance on the report should be.

Featured image by Mohammed Jameel Abdulla


  1. https://www.news24.com/MyNews24/fixing-schools-from-the-inside-out-20151221


    It is time that we think out of the box. Free education is possible if we use the same source where the money for a paid system comes from .

    State supply one part and the parent the other. Parent gets his portion through a salary or even by being his own boss.

    Who benefit most from a student’s education. Business or the parent.

    Reduce the salary bill for not having to pay for employees children to study. Payment to a central Business Forum Account Per province and managed by qualify accountants can bring about a fair distribution of parents contribution to Education via a Business Sponsored Program.

    Knowing that business successes can drive the success of schools rather than individual contributions from parents may inspire employees to become more productive.

    Learners and or students will have account to business as well as the state on their conduct as well as progress in their studies. Failure will mean early exit from the program and any further study will come at a cost.

    Everybody has that one chance to succeed and need to make the most of it according to their circumstances.

    Having qualified accountants to manage the affairs of schools and paid from Business contributions to Education can improve the quality of Education as well as improve the infrastructure and resources available to schools across the board.

    The additional funding to be manage on the same post provision model as for the state. Additional funding on equitable basis will eradicate the past inequalities over time.

    Additional parent contributions to be avoided to create a burden on parents in the lower income bracket. Maintaining high levels of Education becomes a real partnership between parents, the school, business and the state.

    We need to look at the total amount of businesses countrywide against the number of learners and students in our Education system. So whatever the cost implication is on the one end to fund this model need to be balanced out on the saving from a salary or wage. No longer should the exorbitant fees on the one end be a burden on Companies and or small business owners or even the individual’s financial output.

    Nothing wrong with theorising. Out of small ideas can come great innovations.

    How such a model will be legislated will not happen overnight but when no one has a solution it is always a good thing to be open to what is out there.

    The reality of such a model is not a matter of where the money comes from but if as a community we will be prepared to give up to go up.

    We need to to pay the price now to play later or else we will pay the price later if we play now,

  2. So essentially none of the so-called student “leaders” are actually prepared to lead?
    Let’s demand things free education even when we know that this is a fiscal impossibility.
    Let’s take money away from the poor and use it to fund private benefit, because that’s what a university education is; an investment in a private individual; with most of the benefits accruing to that individual.


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