Special Reports

South African University Protests Just Got Worse


Protests at South African universities have gotten worse. It is currently far from peaceful and several student protesters have been arrested for misconduct.

A university official has reported, via VOA News, that South African protesters who are demanding free university education broke windows, forcibly opened doors and even threw human excrement as part of their efforts to disrupt the resumption of classes. The University of Cape Town resumed their classes on Monday after it closed due to security concerns.

Police were stationed around the campus and used a stun grenade to disband protesters outside of a university building. The university also noted that another building was evacuated since it was vandalized by protesters who threw sewage in the corridors.

"We face a level of protest this morning which we are not able to contain with private security officers alone," the University of Cape Town said in a statement. "The South African Police Service is on campus in an attempt to manage the situation."

Bloomberg noted that weeks of violent protests at South African universities are threatening the current academic year. It is jeopardizing graduation for a lot of students as well as enrollment for the next first-year class for 2017.

Protests also affected Johannesburg last week as students from Wits set a bus on fire and bombarded security personnel with rocks. "Several universities, including UCT, have been declared a level-three security situation by the national commissioner of SAPS, which, in effect, means that the Public Order Police are in command of the situation," the school noted.

Washington Post added that nine people were arrested for the incident. Two of the protesters were students at the University of the Witwatersrand, also known as Wits while two are from other universities. Five of the arrested protesters were not students.

It was previously reported that South African universities have suspended classes due to protests on the cost of tuition for higher education. The protests at several tertiary institutions began after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that tuition fee hike decisions will be left to the schools.

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