Pretoria University lectures to start again

Thomas Hartleb, News24

Pretoria - The University of Pretoria was unable to give any undertakings on behalf of government, students were told on Monday.

This was Vice Chancellor Cheryl de la Rey's response to the demand for free education, one of 13 demands students handed to management earlier in the day.

A student leader read out the list of demands and the university's response to some of them, to hundreds of students at the institution's Client Service Centre. This followed a meeting between students and university leaders.

Lectures would start again on Tuesday, both parties agreed. The announcement was greeted with cheering and whistling.

Students demanded that they not be charged interest on outstanding fees. The university agreed to this, and to the demand that registration fees remained at 2015 levels.

Other demands in the memorandum included that the university not prosecute any students who participated in the protests. The university agreed to this.

The university would look at rescheduling academic work to make up for time lost because of the protests.

It was agreed that students would not be excluded from residences because they were unable to pay.

Students earlier raised questions about the definition of "working class", as management had said that some of the demands only applied to working class students.

The parties agreed that this would be defined by family income. However, no figures were mentioned.

A commission would be put together to look at the use of outsourcing at the university.

The demand that there be only one language of instruction, English, would be discussed by the university's senate - Council - and the higher education department. A report on the issue would be compiled before the end of the year, students were told.

"I undertake to keep to the memorandum," De la Rey told cheering students, before joining them as they clapped and sang.