Student protests enter 7th day

2015-10-21 13:40
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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WATCH: Police fire rubber bullets, teargas to disperse protesting NMMU students

2015-10-21 09:51

NMMU students were shot at by police with rubber bullets and teargas during the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University protest against tuition fee increases. WARNING: Explicit languageWATCH

Johannesburg - Country-wide student protests entered a seventh day on Wednesday, despite an announcement by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande that tuition fee hikes would be capped at 6%.

In Cape Town, police began putting on riot gear as students arrived at Parliament ahead of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s mini-budget speech.

In Port Elizabeth, police fired rubber bullets after students threw stones, and in Stellenbosch white students shouted insults at black students, telling them they looked stupid and stank.

A couple handed two bags containing snacks and drinks to Stellenbosch University protesters. "Wonderful! Some white people understand," students cheered.

Teaching at all major tertiary institutions, Wits, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, and the University of the Free State, remained suspended.

At Monash in Roodepoort, a lecturer sent an sms to students telling them that tutorials scheduled for Thursday had been cancelled. The institution's media office could not be reached for comment.

After students rejected double digit increases, Nzimande and vice chancellors on Tuesday agreed to a 6% hike. But students wanted no increase at all. They felt it unfairly disadvantaged the parents of mostly black students, whose parents could not afford the fees.

"Think of a single parent who earns less than R5 000 who has to keep up with the increases. We come from those backgrounds," said a protester at Stellenbosch University.

"Voetsek Blade Nzimande! Voetsek Tuks Fees!" students chanted in Pretoria.

On Wednesday, groups of students moved across campuses countrywide, singing, and chasing away students that wanted to study for their exams.

"Exams are so close and we need to prepare. The fact that there is a strike isn't going to stop the university from going ahead with exams,” said one frustrated UP student who did not want to be named.

"I just don't understand why they are taking us out of the library. I feel so scared. If this crowd gets out of control and a stampede breaks out I might get hurt," she said.

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