UCT student activist Athabile Nonxuba faces a prison sentence of 15 years if convicted on a charge of robbery during Fees Must Fall protests, the Cape Town Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.
As organisations that work to protect and advance the right to protest, we note with concern the situation on various university campuses across the country.
Tensions have risen to an all-time high with the shutdown of many universities across the country, the widespread use of force, interdicts, arrests, private security and police brutality on campuses.
Police and a full security contingent will be on all Wits University campuses on Tuesday as lectures resume.
“It is not ideal to attend classes with police at the doors of learning, but I am left with no choice,” vice chancellor Adam Habib said in a statement on Monday.
The full security presence was due to the harassment of some staff on Monday. He apologised to staff members who were intimidated, threatened, and forced to leave their offices earlier in the day.
The University of the Witwatersrand SRC on Tuesday said it rejected the 8% fee increase and would mobilise students to protest against it in January.
"We obviously need to challenge the 8% increase as it will deny access to students," Student Representative Council president Kefentse Mkhari said.
"What guarantee is there that those currently studying here, who already have student debt, will be able to return to study next year, with an 8% increase?"
Fifteen student leaders are expected to meet to negotiate free education with Wits University management in Solomon House on Thursday morning.
There are strict controls in place at entrances by security and everyone who enters must prove they are a student by presenting their student cards.
There is a heavy police presence with police sniffer dogs and dozens of officers making their rounds on campus.
Wits' Senate says the academic calendar will be extended by two weeks.
Students at the University of the Free State (UFS) say the proposed eight percent fees increment for 2017 is unjust especially for poor students.
Since the #FeesMustFall campaign started, students at the institution have been protesting as part of showing solidarity with other academics across the country.
The Fees Commission of Inquiry looking into the feasibility of free tertiary education will resume with its public hearings on 22 August 2016 at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga.
The Council on Higher Education, which has recommended a six percent tuition fee hike for next year, and South African Students Congress which has vowed to oppose any tuition fee increase, are expected to make submissions.
Student leaders sidelined from the meeting on 14 January 2016 with Higher Education minister, Blade Nzimande, have vowed to continue protesting.
#FeesMustFall members in Johannesburg threatened there would be no local elections this year without the guarantee of free education.
Activist Busisiwe Seabe says that, “Free education is now a right. No free education, no elections."
To read the article titled, “No free education, no elections,” click here.
South Africa's post-apartheid reality has unfolded with massive disconnects between the provision of the rights enshrined in our much-lauded Constitution and the realities on the ground. The current wave of student protests across universities is a clear indication that students are fed up with not being able to afford exorbitant fees; with the conditions they live in; the poor prospects of employment after studying; and with state money being wasted through corruption.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) weighed in on the university fees protests by saying it is ‘desirous that normality of classes‚ learning and teaching is restored’.
The commission also promised to release findings and recommendations of its own probe into “factors that either constrain or enhance levels and speed of transformation in institutions of higher learning in the country”.