Will South Africa's Tertiary Fees Crisis Ever Be Solved?

Lasting solutions for ongoing student protests need to be found, Parliament has heard. This comes after Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande said student protests have become an annual issue, comparing their regularity to a soap opera. Nzimande said the heart of the issue was that "National Student Financial Aid Scheme students were catered [for]", but the problem was with students who fell into the missing middle category. Multiple institutions across the country have been affected by student demonstrations with the South African Union of Students calling for a nationwide university shutdown after an impasse with Nzimande over issues of student debt, access to laptops, and a delayed start to the 2021 academic year. The students' call for lower tuition fees echo those which started the #FeesMustFall movement which saw demonstrations reach the gates of Parliament in Cape Town during 2016.


University of Cape Town students protesting against the financial exclusion of those who are unable to pay fees or who have historic debt (file photo).

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