Wits students to continue protest over weekend

2016-09-24 12:47
A student cries during the protest at Wits University.

A student cries during the protest at Wits University. (Marco Longari, AFP)

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Student protests over a fee hike in 2017 are in their fifth day running.WATCH

Johannesburg - Student leaders at the University of Witwatersrand have said they will continue with their protest action throughout the weekend and into another week.

"We will mostly work on strategy throughout the evening and on Saturday," said Student representative council Secretary General Fasiha Hassan. 

Hassan was speaking along with other leaders on the steps outside the Great Hall on Friday afternoon following a successful, peaceful march through the streets of Johannesburg to trade union federation Cosatu's headquarters.

Students have been demonstrating throughout the week calling for the immediate implementation of free quality education.

The recent wave of protests were sparked following an announcement by higher education minister Blade Nzimande of proposed adjustments to study fees for 2017.

Although the minister has allowed varsity councils in the country to increase fees, he put in place an 8% cap and halted increments for poorer students.

Students had been caught in clashes with private security and police in the week, exchanging rocks with private security while trying to enter Solomon Mahlangu house for a mass meeting and with police on Wednesday afternoon after attempting to venture into the streets of Braamfontein.

But on Friday, under the leadership of former SRC president Mcebo Dlamimi, students showed maximum restraint as they peacefully walked to Cosatu house.

Hassan told journalists that they have plans for an interfaith programme for Sunday and working on ideas to implement in the coming week.

Closing down Wits 'a provocation' 

Students have also expressed their unhappiness with the university's management for shutting it down indefinitely.

"The council of the university saying it will close down the institution is evidence of bad faith," said Hassan.

They said the institution which had previously said it supported calls for free education needed to start walking the talk.

Meanwhile EFF leader on the campus KK Phoho has called on students to transcend the pressure, saying they are slowly getting society's support.

"The problem is not with varsities or capital but it's political will, which needs to bind them otherwise it will just support the call in principle," he said.

Protesting students have also called on police to take a softer stance towards them, asking for an end to police harassment. 

Read more on:    wits university  |  johannesburg  |  university fees  |  university protests

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