JOHANNESBURG ― One of South Africa’s top universities will re-open Wednesday after reaching agreements with students whose protests against tuition hikes spread to other campuses, forcing the closure of universities around the country.
The academic program and other activities will resume at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and students will be informed of a new schedule for exams that were postponed because of the disruption, the university said in a statement.
President Jacob Zuma had made a concession to the protesters on Friday, saying there would be no fee increase for university students in 2016. Many students welcomed the move, but some are upset that demands for free university education were not met.
There have been scattered reports of continuing protests, but major demonstrations of the kind that led to violent confrontations with police outside parliament in Cape Town and the main government complex in Pretoria have ceased.
Another school, the University of Johannesburg, warned of a $14.5 million shortfall because of the freeze on fee increases in 2016. It said it will implement austerity measures and expects the state to cover the rest of the shortfall. It also said discussions about free university education would continue into next year, in line with government pledges to consider the issue.
The University of Cape Town faces a “funding emergency” in 2016 and needs more money from the state to cover the expected shortfall, Vice-Chancellor Max Price said in a statement. Protesters have not guaranteed that there will be no disruptions on campus and the university will remain closed this week, according to Price.