Song, dance as Tuks students prepare for march on Union Buildings

2015-10-23 10:22
Students march through campus. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Students march through campus. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Pretoria - Students from the University of Pretoria (UP) were preparing to march on the Union Buildings on Friday as part of the ongoing protests around the country against high university fees, with students from Johannesburg also expected to join the march.

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At 09:00, the mood at the UP amphitheatre was electrifying as it slowly filled up for the march. The venue vibrated with song and dance as students waited for others to join.

Many were sitting down and writing placards or applying sunscreen. It was believed students would march straight to the Union Buildings to meet up with others, who would be marching from Burgers Park.

The majority of students wore black tops. They maintained that education was not a privilege and they would not back down from the fight for a 0% fee increment. 

"We are really positive. UP maintains [a] peaceful stance on things. We are excited about the day and the march," third year architecture student Greg Cousins told News24.

A separate student gathering was also taking place at Church Square, with students intending on shutting down all private colleges in the Pretoria CBD, and possibly disrupting Unisa exams being written at the Tshwane showgrounds.

They would then have a "parallel march" to the Union Buildings. It was not clear which institution the students at the separate gathering belonged to.

In Johannesburg, buses were filling up as students prepared to go to the capital to join their Pretoria peers outside the Union Buildings.

Meanwhile, the UP obtained an interdict to stop protesters from disrupting normal student activities, carrying weapons, taking hostages, illegally occupying buildings, damaging property and intimidating staff and students.

The Citizen reported that Judge Peter Mabuse granted the interdict, while the Pretoria News reported the university did not inform students, who were the respondents.

According to UP's court papers, the "student protests have turned into riots accompanied by unlawful and unruly behaviour by participants that threaten the safety of students, staff and university property".

The university stated in court papers that the cost of tuition was an "issue on which the applicant has great sympathy for its student and their parents".

Later on Friday, President Jacob Zuma was expected to meet the senior management of various universities and students leaders to find a solution to the impasse, which has gripped campuses across the country.

In a statement issued on Thursday morning by the presidency, Zuma indicated he was looking forward to the meeting and welcomed the march to the Union Buildings.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  education  |  university fees  |  protests

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