A group of students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) have embarked on a protest at the Empire Road entrance where they attempted to block vehicles from accessing the campus.
The students are protesting over accommodation at the university.
— Wits SRC (@Wits_SRC) March 4, 2020
The students are demanding that free accommodation be provided by the university.
When we resort to other measures, we do so because we have exhausted all other forms of engagement. A storm is coming. It cannot be that under our leadership students are subjected to these inhumane conditions. Our students will be accommodated! pic.twitter.com/MDH1VOOulA
— Wits SRC (@Wits_SRC) March 4, 2020
Security has been beefed up to ensure that the protest doesn’t flare up
Classes are continuing as normal.
Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel says, “This morning, about 50 students gathered outside at the Empire Road entrance and tried to block traffic into the university. The students are protesting. They are protesting because they would like free accommodation.”
“These are students who many of them have failed repeatedly and they have lost their funding and accommodation for this year. The university has made available about R17 million for 2020 through the Wits hardship fund for students who is in genuine need of accommodation and funding,” explains Patel.
Other student protests at TUT:
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) students have been complaining about accommodation issues, alleged corruption at the university, NSFAS.
The protests continue despite the announcement by Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) management that an agreement had been reached with student bodies over the weekend.
Students at the Ga-Rankuwa and Pretoria West campuses say they are not part of that agreement.
TUT management says more talks are necessary to end ongoing student protests.
Protesting students are calling for the management to speed up the issue of student accommodation, National Student Financial Aid Scheme payments and to do away with academic exclusion.
The ongoing student protest has resulted in the suspension of academic activities at all TUT campuses since last week Tuesday.
In the video below, student leaders from different organisations say classes will not resume until their grievances are addressed:
Protests continue in the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN):
Meanwhile, the University of KwaZulu-Natal has been rocked by violent student protests since the beginning of the academic year, mainly over financial exclusions.
The UKZN says it can’t give in to student demands to write off historical debt.
The student leadership of UKZN says there is nothing to be gained from the on-going conflict between the university management and students.
The university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) told Parliament that mistrust between students and university authorities is at the centre of the problem.
In the video below, UKZN SRC President Sifiso Simelane says he doesn’t agree with the suspension of academic programmes:
Student protest are also underway at the University of Fort Hare:
Students at the University of Fort Hare say many of them are unable to continue with their studies because they cannot afford to fund their education.
They have briefed the National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Training in Parliament on some of the problems they encounter.
The President of the Student Representative Council, Siphiwe Nqabeni said problems with student funding is the main reason for protests at universities.
He says: “Students are being excluded and the management is saying that financial academic exclusion are done, and students were never told that they were academic excluded.”
“They only learned that they are academically excluded on the registration lines. Some were promised in December that academic appeal processes will be furnished before the registration starts.”
In the video below, President of the Student Representative Council, Siphiwe Nqabeni talks about the struggles faced by the students and he condemns the violence seen in the protests
Additional reporting by SABC Digital News