National 20.9.2016 08:10 am

31 students arrested at Wits over fees protest

The Wits University Great Hall. Image courtesy www.wits.ac.za

The Wits University Great Hall. Image courtesy www.wits.ac.za

The university has insisted that the normal academic programme will continue despite tensions on campus.

On Tuesday morning, 31 students attempting to block the entrances to Wits University’s campus in Braamfontein were arrested.

Police said they would continue to ensure protesters would not be able to disrupt the academic programme and the university said that classes were scheduled to take place as normal.

Police said they would remain on high alert after a decision on Monday night by students who held a mass meeting at the Solomon Mahlangu House, as students continued to bar vehicles from accessing or leaving the Braamfontein campus.

The students were allowed in after a brief negotiation led by students’ representative council leaders. The angry students broke down one of the doors at the venue during scuffles with security and police.

Students at the institution halted lectures and prevented vehicles from entering or leaving the campus on Monday, following Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement on the 2017 fees hike. They demanded a moratorium on fees until free higher education was implemented. Nzimande said it was up to the universities to determine their fee increment which would, however, be capped at 8%.

Police had been stationed at all the campus entrances and kept an eye on the protesting students.

The institution said it respected the rights of those who wanted to protest, provided they did not infringe on the rights of those who wanted to attend lectures. The university urged staff and students to report any disruptions to campus security.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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