SA po­lice, stu­dents clash in fees protests

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — South African po­lice fired tear gas in clashes with stu­dents at the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal yes­ter­day and ar­son­ists torched a build­ing at an­other cam­pus overnight, po­lice said yes­ter­day, as protests over tu­ition costs spread.

The protests erupted at a Jo­han­nes­burg univer­sity three days ago after the gov­ern­ment an­nounced a rise of up to 8 per­cent in 2017 tu­ition fees — well above the in­fla­tion rate.

Demon­stra­tions over the cost of univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion, pro­hib­i­tive for many black stu­dents, have high­lighted frus­tra­tion at the in­equal­i­ties more than two decades after the end of white-mi­nor­ity rule.

Tele­vi­sion footage showed stu­dents hurl­ing stones at po­lice at the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal in the east of the coun­try. Po­lice re­tal­i­ated with tear gas to dis­perse the pro­test­ers as the two sides en­gaged in run­ning bat­tles across cam­pus.

“The stu­dents at­tempted to set a build­ing on fire and were pelt­ing mo­torists and po­lice with rocks,” po­lice spokesman for the KwaZulu-Natal province Thu­lani Zwane said.

Ear­lier this month, 32 stu­dents were ar­rested after a law li­brary at the univer­sity was torched dur­ing protests.

Po­lice said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing an ar­son at­tack at the Univer­sity of Fort Hare in the neigh­bour­ing East­ern Cape province, after a build­ing hous­ing univer­sity se­cu­rity guards was torched.

“Three rooms in the build­ing were burnt down,” Marinda Mills, po­lice spokes­woman for the province said.

A num­ber of uni­ver­si­ties in­clud­ing, in Pre­to­ria and Cape Town, have sus­pended classes over the na­tion­wide demon­stra­tions.

There was a heavy po­lice pres­ence yes­ter­day at Jo­han­nes­burg’s Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand, known as “Wits”, which has been the epi­cen­tre of stu­dent protests against higher fees. Two stu­dents ar­rested there were due to ap­pear in court on Thurs­day, po­lice said.

Vi­o­lent protests last year forced Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to freeze fees for 2016, but uni­ver­si­ties said that a re­peat of that would have an im­pact on the stan­dard of aca­demic pro­grammes. — Sapa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.