TUT suspends all classes as protests turn violent

Johannesburg - All classes were suspended at all three of the Tshwane University of Technology's (TUT) campuses in and around Pretoria on Thursday, as student protests turned violent. 

In a statement on its website, TUT said all activities were suspended at its Pretoria, Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa campuses "following the eruption of violent protest action".

"The protest erupted despite good progress that was made in talks between management and the CSRC over the past week, and additional security has been deployed," TUT said.

"It is not clear what the reason for the new protest action is, especially in view of an agreement reached between management and the CSRC that academic activities would resume today [Thursday]."

TUT was "totally committed" to restoring order on its campuses and enable students to return to class and complete the academic year.

"The situation will be monitored throughout the day and we will provide an update later," the institution said.

"The university apologises for the inconvenience caused by these disruptions."

All three campuses would also remain closed on Friday.

Classes were also suspended on Monday.

According to the agreement announced on Tuesday, all academic and support staff would resume their duties on Wednesday, with students to be back in class on Thursday.

Exams were set to begin on November 18 and finish on December 9. Re-examinations would be written between January 4 and January 15 next year.

Students were also expected to attend classes on Saturdays and in the evenings where necessary, with library hours to be extended.

Students have been protesting at the institution for free higher education, which follows in the wake of President Jacob Zuma's announcement on Friday that there would be a freeze on university fees for 2016.

Zuma's announcement followed over a week of protests by students against rising university fees, sparked at Wits University after the university announced a 10.5% fee hike for 2016.

The protests spread to the rest of the country, culminating in Zuma's announcement on Friday.

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