No End in Sight for Fees Must Fall
It’s been three weeks since the first university was forced to shut its doors as students embarked on #FeesMustFallReloaded.
Staying true to their promise to continue their fight for free education, university students across the country maintain that they will not be deterred or intimidated to back down from their quest.
Protest action at Wits University turned ugly earlier this week when students were barred from entering Solomon Mahlangu House to hold a meeting.
The students started pelting rocks at the private security company which was blocking the entrance to the building.
Police were called in to intervene – firing rubber bullets, stun grenades and using a water canon to disperse students.
This forced students off campus where elements of criminality started to creep in.
A bus was torched allegedly by protesting students while several roads were blocked in Braamfontein.
A store in the same area also had its windows broken and its merchandise looted.
Students from the Tshwane University of Technology joined in on protest action this week citing that this is a movement which needs all students to protest in solidarity.
The students barricaded entrances to the institutions main campus before moving their protest into the Pretoria CBD.
The students clashed with police in a violent stand-off in the CBD which resulted in a number of students being arrested for public violence and the destruction of property.
Despite a commitment to keep all the University of KwaZulu Natal Campuses open – the institutions Westville campus was forced to shut down on Thursday following raging clashes between polie and students.
UKZN students have continuously vowed to continue with their protest action under the banner of #BringBackOurCadres.
The students say they want the unconditional release of all students that have been arrested since protest action began.
They also want the institution to commit to overturning the suspensions of all the students that are unable to return to campus while their disciplinary processes are underway.
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology says it still needs to determine the amount of damage which was caused by a fire which was started by protesting students at the institution’s security center.
Management at CPUT says the destruction of property cannot be accepted and those found to have been responsible for the arson attack will be brought to book
With another week concluded and further calls for a national shutdown of institutions of higher learning, it seems that the 2016 academic year will be a lost one for tertiary education in the country.
It remains to be seen whether the government will commit to further engagement with the students in a bid to bring an end to the current impasse.
If dialogue does not take place between the relevant stakeholders the current situation at universities will affect those who need to enter into university in 2017.
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