The Economic Freedom Fighters Students Command (EFFSC) has vowed to take to the streets if the government does not meet its demand for fee-free registration at universities.
The organization believes that charging registration fees excludes many students.
EFF Students Command national president, Peter Keetse, explained that many students were accepted at higher education institutions but they did not study their chosen course because they could not afford the registration fees.
“Part of [the] sizofunda ngenkani (we will study by force) campaign includes free education for all.
“This we agreed upon at one of the resolutions of the EFF Students Command to say, in as much as we are fighting for free education and we did not get the full length of it as it was just said that it’s for the poor, what we thought we can at least do is scrap the registration fee because it is being used to exclude many of our students,” he said on Tuesday.
Department of Higher Education deadline
Keetse said the organization wrote to the Department of Higher Education about the issue in December 2018 and gave them until January 9 to respond to their memorandum.
If the department failed to respond, they would have no other choice but to take to the streets, he warned.
When asked whether they were working with other student councils led by other political parties, Keetse said: “We haven’t had a formal meeting and an agreement with other political formations but ordinarily, this is one of the struggles that they should support and join us because this does not only affect students command members on the ground but the general student population.”
No student expected to pay registration
However, Sasco (South African Students Congress) president Avela Mjajubana said their understanding was that no student, particularly those who came from the poor and working-class backgrounds, were expected to pay registration fees.
“You would understand that the majority of our students are under the bracket of R350 000 and below and those are now accommodated in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. No one from them is expected to pay any registration and that’s where we stand,” Mjajubana said.
He added that they would fight back if any institution requested registration fees from students who fell within that bracket.
The Department of Higher Education said it would comment on the organization’s demands later on Tuesday, once it had more information.