Trollip slams attack on NMMU students as protests flare up outside Parliament


Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip has described the firing of rubber bullets and tear gas at protesting Nelson Mandela Metropolitan (NNMU) students, as “government’s oppression of democracy”.

On Wednesday morning, police fired the objects after students blocked off routes leading in/out of the university’s South and North Campuses, in protest against the Department of Higher Education’s decision to increase fees by six percent from 2016.

Videos later uploaded to social media shows students sitting in the road near the entrance of North Campus, before dispersing when the commended was given to fire the projectiles. Three students were reportedly injured.

“The SAPS as an arm of national government is now using extreme force to resist the students standing up against that same government’s education failures,” Trollip said in a statement.

“The fact is that while Minister Nzimande hides, his Department is under-funding our tertiary institutions and is causing them to rely on fee increases. This is a failure of government that Nzimande refuses to address”.

He also stated that the party would launch an investigation as to who approved the commanded to fire, adding that the protests have escalated into a national crisis “despite Minister Nzimande denying this”.

It has since been reported that University of Cape Town students have started burning tyres outside Parliament where Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene is due to table his mid-term budget later today, while University of Pretoria Vice-Chancellor Cheryl de la Rey was booed as she came out to address the students.