Zuma's 0% greeted with rubber bullets, stun grenades, stones

2015-10-23 16:57
(Themba Hadebe, AP)

(Themba Hadebe, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


WATCH: Stun grenades, Nyalas used on protesting students after Zuma's 0% announcement

2015-10-23 16:31

Watch as tear gas and armoured Nyalas are used on protesting students outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria.WATCH

Johannesburg - The sound of rubber bullets, stun grenades, and stones hitting police nyalas greeted President Jacob Zuma's announcement on Friday afternoon that university fees would rise by 0% in 2016.

Police and nyalas could be seen chasing down students on the south lawns of the Union Buildings and surrounding streets following Zuma's announcement, which was proceeded by a mass demonstration against fee increases that had already turned violent.

A group of agitators, possibly not even students, had confronted police earlier on Friday afternoon by a fence erected ahead of the protest.

They ripped a hole in the fence, where over the course of the late morning and early afternoon they played a game of cat and mouse with police, throwing stones and other objects, with police responding with tear gas and stun grenades.

Many of those making up the agitating group - who the majority of peacefully protesting students disassociated themselves from - were wearing ANC Youth League, SA Student Congress, Economic Freedom Fighters and the Pan Africanist Movement of Azania T-shirts.

After this initial confrontation, a group remained behind, expecting Zuma to address them. Instead, Zuma address the country via television after a meeting with student leaders and university management teams on the issue of fee increases.

Metro cop seen pulling out a pistol

After Zuma's announcement, a scuffle seemed to breakout which led to a deterioration of order as police began firing rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at fleeing students. A group managed to make it behind the police line, but they were chased and fled back to the lawns.

A metro police officer was also seen pulling out a pistol while students threw rocks. Security guards in the nearby Sheraton Hotel also stood ready with pistols.

The scene resembled that of a battlefield, as the statue of deceased former president Nelson Mandela looked on, arms aloft and wide open.

Many of the students spoken to after the 0% announcement felt it was not a victory, merely the first step in a long process of reforming South Africa's higher education system.

In Cape Town, students reacted with tears and jubilation as news spread of Zuma's announcement, with cheers heard outside Parliament.

Motorists hooted and gave students the thumbs-up, while some of the students started singing the national anthem.

"We got what we were asking for," said one student, adding that it had been very emotional to see their fellow students arrested.

'Zuma must not think he is doing us a favour'

Meanwhile at Stellenbosch University, where two students had been arrested earlier, there were tears of joy.

But at the University of the Western Cape, students still wanted free education, rather than a zero percent increase.

There were also concerns elsewhere that Zuma had not addressed the students who had gathered at the Union Buildings.

 In Durban, Walter Sisulu University third-year student Athenkosi Tshayingwe said that Zuma had lied to demonstrators.

"Yes, it is a good thing that the fees won't increase. But that was obvious. The increases in some cases were more than 20%. He must not think he is doing us a favour by making that declaration. This solves zero problems. My life is still one that began in a poor township with no water, no toilets... nothing."

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University SRC president Nicholas Nyati had mixed feelings about Zuma's announcement.

"I am happy that the students were united, spoke in one voice and the government listened. I am disappointed because it took government a long time to respond to us ... I am also worried about what will happen in 2017." 

Read more on:    uct  |  uj  |  wits university  |  stellenbosch university  |  uwc  |  jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  university fees

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.