Protesting students from Wits University have decided to march to Hillbrow Police Station, where some of their fellow students have been detained. From the station, the students also plan to completely shut down the main campus in Braamfontein.
Speaking at a meeting held at the Parktown Education campus, several protesters also suggested that a meeting be held to decide on how and when to march to the Union Buildings.
Disgruntled students who demand free education for all braved the hot Johannesburg weather, dancing and chanting liberation songs. Police officers fired several rounds of teargas and stun grenades, but that did not deter students.
The protests followed an announcement by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande that tuition fee increases are only determined by universities. Most universities said they were yet to make any decision on fees, and that they had to wait for Nzimande’s announcement on Monday.
Protesting students from Wits University made it to the Parktown Education campus.
Police officers who fired stun grenades and teargas at protesting students on Jan Smuts Avenue have been keeping a close eye on the protest. Despite this, defiant protesters continued shouting “fees must fall”.
The protesting students will later on today decide on whether to block off the busy M1 highway. Irate students are demanding the immediate release of some of the protesting students who were arrested and detained at the nearby Hillbrow Police Station.
Addressing a group of protesting students on Tuesday morning, secretary-general of the students’ representative council (SRC) Fasiha Hassan said they would make sure no academic activity took place at Wits until their demands were met. Students made a proposal that all the other classes that might be continuing currently be disrupted.
Protests at various institutions of higher learning erupted minutes after Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced that it was up to universities to determine tuition fee increases.
Nzimande said the students who would benefit from a 0% fee increase were the poor and missing middle students, but students were not happy, with some saying such a move would segregate students. Meanwhile, police officers and private security officers were keeping a close eye on the protest action at Wits.
Holding sticks, students have been calling on others to join the protest action. There is a huge police presence at the main entrance on Enoch Sontonga Road while a police chopper can be seen hovering above the institution.
Many universities have said they are yet to make decisions on whether or not there would be tuition increases for 2017.
While Nzimande said a 0% fee increase would only be for poor and ‘missing middle’ students, protesting students have made it clear they want free education for all.
On Tuesday morning, the protesters were seen near the main entrance.