WITS SRC has rejected the 8% fee increase and will 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?“
He said the university’s decision to announce the increase on Monday had been “tactical” as most students had already gone home.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced on 19 September that universities could determine their own fee increases for 2017, but that they could not exceed 8%. Students from households with an annual income of up to R600 000 would not have to pay the increases.
Legislation should be used to force corporate South Africa to help fund free education, Mkhari said.
The university said it was providing financial help for 22 000 out of 37 000 students. It was facing a R56.5m deficit, despite the 8% fee increase.
“It is unsustainable to continue with a 0% increase. The insourcing that will start from January already costs the university an additional R100m to R120m,” spokesperson Shirona Patel said. “We tried to cut non-academic budgets such as support services.”