National 7.9.2016 05:15 am

Rowdy students raid fees inquiry

FILE PICTURE: UCT's Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price interact with students outside his office at the University of Cape Town campus grounds on March 18, 2015 in Cape Town.(Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

FILE PICTURE: UCT's Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price interact with students outside his office at the University of Cape Town campus grounds on March 18, 2015 in Cape Town.(Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

Students from the #FeesMustFall movement disrupted the proceedings of the public commission into free tertiary education.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is considering legal action after a fees commission sitting was disrupted by student supporters of the #FeesMustFall movement.

A group of students put an abrupt end to the last day of public hearings for the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (Fees Commission) by staging a protest against its questioning of the feasibility of free education.

Riot police intervened when the university’s vice-chancellor, Max Price, was blocked from leaving the venue. This was after he told students free education for all was not feasible because universities could not afford it.

Some of the students at the hearings had been interdicted by the Western Cape High Court for allegedly engaging in “serious criminal activity” during the #FeesMustFall protests earlier this year, the university said.

The group demanded that Price withdraw the interdict and any other disciplinary charges against “currently interdicted students”.

On Monday, representatives from Equal Education, the National Research Foundation, the University of the Western Cape and the Centre for Creative Education testified before the commission, scheduled to report on and make recommendations about the feasibility of fee-free education and training to President Jacob Zuma by June.

Students, some of whom belonged to a group of activists under the name Black Solidarity, were said to have been behind the movement. The group live-tweeted the activities inside the Centre of the Book in Cape Town, including the moment Price was “held hostage” while students surrounded and fired questions at him.

A statement by the university read: “The vice-chancellor was, in fact, held hostage, manhandled and verbally abused.” After commissioners were escorted out of the building, students remained at the venue and proceeded with their own mock commission.

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