Strong police presence outside Union Buildings as students prepare to protest

BY CHARL BOSCH - OCTOBER 23, 2015

Police have reportedly started erecting razor wire outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where President Jacob Zuma is expected to meet with university vice-chancellors in ending the week long protest action against the Department of Higher Education’s proposed six percent fee increase.

According to the latest reports, a large number of students from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) have started boarding busses and trains that will take them to the buildings, where the meeting is expected to commence later this morning.

This comes after Wits and University of Johannesburg students handed over a memorandum of understanding to African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe yesterday, following a mass march to the ruling party’s Luthuli House headquarters in Braamfontein.

Last night, Cape Town police used stun grenades and water cannons to disperse protesting University of the Western Cape students, who had staged a sitting demonstration on Erica Road in Belville. National Spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo later told News24 that only “minimum” force was used, adding that the protestors damaged two police vehicles and burned tyres as traffic flow was disrupted.

Meanwhile, management at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth have announced the cancellation of all activates for Friday after protesting students blocked off all entry and access routes yesterday, while Vice-Chancellor Derrick Swartz was addressing student leaders at the Madibaz Indoor Sports Centre.

“Given the volatile situation created by this group of demonstrators, and in consultation with the three Deputy Vice–Chancellors, I have decided to call off lectures today, Friday, 23 October with the view to restoring an acceptable level of safety and re-opening all our campuses for resumption of lectures and academic activities on Monday, 26 October,” Swartz said in a statement.

Elsewhere, Rhodes University management have moved most of its foreign student onto the campus grounds, following an outbreak of xenophobic attacks late yesterday afternoon. Classes are only expected to commence on Monday.

 

IMAGE sourced from Yusuf Abramjee on twitter

 

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