South African Students Riot To Demand Free University Education

| Leave a comment

Hundreds of students demanding free tertiary education clashed with police at one of South Africa’s top universities, media report said on Tuesday.

Students threw stones and overturned a police vehicle, vowing to shut down Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand – known as Wits – until their demands were met.

Police used rubber bullets, smoke grenades and tear gas to disperse the protesters.

Several people were reported to have been slightly injured.

The university said two students were arrested.

“All lectures are underway at the moment with no reported disruptions of the academic programme.

“We are watching events tightly and if any university rules are broken or the rights of others are infringed, the university will hold those responsible immediately accountable,’’ the statement added.

The protests were part of the nationwide Fees Must Fall campaign over the cost of the country’s universities, prohibitive for many black students, which in 2015 forced President Jacob Zuma to rule out fee increases for 2016.

Meanwhile the students’ demands for free education have received backing from the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters, the third-largest party in parliament.

However, university authorities have warned that fee cuts could damage academic standards.

According to the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Adam Habib, they need fee hikes of 8 per cent “or they are dead in the water”. (dpa/NAN)

comments powered by Disqus

Daily Columns