An historic victory over South African neoliberalism was won on October 23, after the most intense three-week burst of activist mobilization here since liberation from apartheid in 1994. University students have been furious, as their cry “Fees must fall!” rang out on campuses and sites of political power across this society. But though there will be an effective 6% cut in tuition for 2016, the next stage of struggle looms, with demands for free tertiary education and university labor rights atop the agenda.
The #FeesMustFall movement’s first victory comes at a time that the African National Congress (ANC) ruling party confronts unprecedented economic pressure and social unrest. GDP growth will be only 1.5% this year and probably the same next year, lower than population growth. This is the most unequal of any major country, and the official poverty rate (at $2/day) has recently risen to 53%.