'People can see the stupidity on their faces', white students yell at protesters

2015-10-21 14:25
Protesting Stellenbosch University students (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Protesting Stellenbosch University students (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - As fee protests by students continued around the country on Wednesday morning, a group of white students at Stellenbosch University were heard yelling at protesters that they "stank" and had "stupidity written on their faces".

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A photographer at the university told a News24 reporter on the scene he heard the white students yelling in Afrikaans: "Mens kan die domgeit op hulle gesigte sien", "...dis mos wat julle doen" and "Nou gaan die plek weer stink" ("People can see the stupidity on their faces", "It's what you do" and "now the place is going to stink again").

This was as protesters had taken residence in both the agricultural studies building and the theology building, with one student commenting: "Maybe Jesus will help us."

Inside the theology building, a lecturer asked that protesters allow students to exercise their democratic right to prepare for exams.

"No," was their resounding response.

Protesting students were also seen walking around town, banging their hands on passing cars.

'Some white people understand'

A white couple handed two bags containing snacks and drinks to the protesters, with the students cheering "Wonderful", and stating: "Some white people understand."

Meanwhile, at the University of Cape Town, students found studying in rooms at the institution were told to stop by protesters, with one student complaining: "I just want to study."

Other students were told to save their work and leave the post-graduate labs.

On upper campus, UCT student leader Pam Dhlamini addressed a crowd preparing to take Jammie Shuttles to Parliament.

Protesters sought to make their presence felt ahead of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's mid-term budget speech on Wednesday afternoon, expected to begin at 14:00.

"Then we go to Parliament so we can tell [Higher Education Minister] Blade [Nzimande] what we think of him," she said.

The protests flared up after students at the University of the Witwatersrand last week protested against a 10.5% fee increase for the 2016 academic year.

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

Rubber bullets

This sparked protests on campuses across South Africa, including the universities of Stellenbosch, Rhodes in Grahamstown, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, the University of Pretoria, the University of Fort Hare, the Tshwane University of Technology and the Cape University of Technology.

The University of the Free State closed all three of its campuses on Wednesday, with varsity management and the student representative council meeting on Tuesday to discuss next year's fees.

At NMMU, police fired rubber bullets at protesting students throwing stones at the institution on Wednesday, according to police spokesperson Brigadier Marinda Mills.

She said no one was arrested or injured.

At the University of Limpopo, protesters forced students to abandon their exams, pushing aside private security guards

Nationwide mass action

The SA Students Congress called on all students to embark on a nationwide mass action on Wednesday against fee increments until student demands were met.

On Tuesday, protesting students rejected a proposed 6% cap on university fee hikes for 2016 and have demanded a 0% increase.

The revised increase was agreed on by Nzimande and vice chancellors, ahead of the protests taking place on Wednesday.

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  nhlanha nene  |  blade nzimande  |  cape town  |  protests  |  education  |  university fees

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