#Fees must fall - 2015


27 October 2015 Jonathan Faurie published on

History tells us that students in this country are not scared to voice their concerns about issues that bother them. It happened in the 1970s and it happened now, students from various universities recently embarked on a series of protests against high fees and the outsourcing of labour at the institutions.

While these protests were initially peaceful, they quickly took a violent turn as students got frustrated that their voices were not being heard. This is a liability nightmare as public violence can lead to some serious claims.

Knocking on Sasria’s door

We spoke to Thokozile Ntshiqa, Executive Manager: Stakeholder Management at Sasria, about the recent riots.

Sasria is a state owned entity that provides insurance for all the people and businesses with assets in South Africa, as well as government entities, against special risks that may lead to the loss of or damage to their assets caused by events related to specific events which all have the potential to lead to possible catastrophic financial losses.

“To date we have not received any damage claims caused by the university protests as it is still early days. We are however monitoring the situation very closely and are ready to handle any claims,” says Ntshiqa.

She added that the full impact of the student riots will only be known in the next few months when claims are submitted. “Sasria is offering support in the form of cover we provide arising from damages to property or vehicles caused during strikes and protests.

Loose agreements

Students were so determined to have their voice heard that they marched onto parliament in Cape Town to try and disrupt Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's Medium Term Budget Policy Statement speech to government. When this didn’t achieve the desired results, other students marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria where President Jacob Zuma promised a 0% fee increase for 2016.

But what happens in 2017? Universities have to charge fees in order to retain staff and maintain facilities. And if there is inflation, there needs to be fee increases. It is however not as simple as this and students realised this.

Ntshiqa is confident that damages are not big as many of the protests were fairly peaceful. “Universities that have extended Sasria cover will however be compensated in an event that their property or material is damaged because of the protests. She adds that  it has been reported that Government will set up a task team to look further into the matter of dealing with the situation in 2017, and will report back in six months on solutions and the way forward. Sasria will continue to monitor the situation closely for possible protests. 

Editor’s Thoughts:
Violence is never the answer when having your voice heard by government. However, it has been known to happen. Basic Sasria cover is offered to all as part of their insurance premiums, but extended cover is an option that needs to be considered in high risk areas. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts

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