The commission might extend the deadline because of the poor response.

Spokesman Andile Tshona said the commission would accept submissions beyond the May 31 deadline if special arrangements were made.

“Some institutions of higher learning requested more time to do more research and consultations. We urge students, parents, community organisations and institutions to use this opportunity to make their submissions,” he said.

He said the submissions would help determine if South Africa could afford free tertiary education.

Zuma set up the commission early this year after the #FeesMustFall protests rocked universities .

Last week Students for Law and Social Justice announced it would participate in the commission. The organisation has 15 branches across the country.

Its national chairman, Nikhiel Deeplal, said he hoped the commission would enable stakeholders to come up with “feasible, long-term solutions into tertiary fees”.

Deeplal said that although students’ frustrations were valid, the burning of buildings and other facilities on campuses was not the answer.

Former Wits University student leader Mcebo Dlamini said the commission was “wasteful and silly”.

“Can the ANC government not make a decision without some silly commission?” he said.