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Social media's reaction to fees commission

This decision comes ahead of the ANC conference in December. Will social media have an influence on the conference? Our Social Media Law Expert, Verlie Oosthuizen, weighs in. 

Fees must fall

Over two years after the first version of #FeesMustFall started at Wits, President Jacob Zuma announced the findings of Judge Heher who chaired the Fee Commission.  

The reaction to the report on social media was swift and many of the comments expressed great disappointment in the findings.  

The executive summary of the report, which the President received at the end of August but only released on 13 November, states that it will be impossible for University fees to be completely subsidised by government but recommends that more money is directed towards TVET Colleges (Technical and Vocational Education and Training).  

Many of the tweets that came out in reaction to the report expressed anger and dissatisfaction at the suggestion that a cost-sharing model of loans from commercial banks guaranteed by the government with payment being based on the borrower’s income after studies are completed.

There is no doubt that social media was one of the main mediums through which the movement was organised and allowed to gain traction. Calls to action are already being seen on the Twitter feeds and it is unlikely that we have seen the end of this issue.

There have already been some protests in Cape Town which disrupted classes and the new Wits SRC narrowly avoided a shut down before exams this year. The country is in a state of political turmoil which seems to be boiling ahead of the ANC conference in December.  

No doubt we will see the further influence of social media being used as a powerful tool during this time.

Will social media have an influence on the ANC conference? What do you think?

Verlie Oosthuizen

Shepstone & Wylie Social Media Law Department

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