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Wits, Rhodes suspend lectures, UCT obtains court order

Students at the institutions are protesting against an increase in the 2016 academic year's tuition fees.

UCT students and workers march outside of the university in protest to reduce the tuition fee increase and the outsourcing of labour at UCT. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Both Wits and Rhodes universities have confirmed lectures will be suspended tomorrow, to ensure the safety of all those affiliated to the institutions as the #FeesMustFall campaign gains momentum.

Wits students have defended their actions, saying they only attacked some vehicles on Empire Road when a motorist tried to run them over.

Metro Police were called to the scene after a man was physically attacked and some cars were damaged by protesting students.

Students turned over his car. #WitsFeesWILLFall @thedailyvox pic.twitter.com/Wl4oSd3t5X

Students chased car down. They are beating up the driver and broke his window. Chaos. @thedailyvox #WitsFeesWILLFall pic.twitter.com/lH8o2foAPL

They dispersed from campus after council members refused to address them on fee increases, because they had stormed into a building.

Metro Police officials forced students to disperse from Empire Road after the man was attacked.

But SRC president elect Nompendulo Mkhatshwa says they were provoked.

"That man drove straight through students and that's attempted murder."

Council members have refused to discuss the way forward with students today.

Many of them however are refusing to leave campus.

They've regrouped at the Great Hall where food is now being distributed.

WITS PROTESTS TO CONTINUE OVERNIGHT

Wits University students intend staying on campus overnight, until the issue of fee increases is fully addressed.

They've regrouped on campus after demonstrating on Empire Road and the situation is now calm.

Council members refused to address them today as planned, because they stormed into Senate House, vandalised property and reneged on an agreement to meet outside.

Many have vowed to stay tonight, saying they're disappointed that council members have not yet spoken to them.

The council has decided to negotiate fee increases from scratch, this time with students, and waiver upfront payments next year for those who are struggling.

Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib says council was ready to address students today until they violated an agreement over the venue for the meeting and vandalised property.

"We moved this so we could manage the crowds and it wouldn't constitute a health and safety risk. There was an agreement in principle to that, we said that if you break in we can't engage you, because you violate the integrity of the process."

He says he is desperate for the academic program to resume but students have to come to the party.

"I am desperate to get the university open but I can't do this alone. I need the student leadership to come to the party; I need the students to say 'we're back to the academic programme.' What we said was we understand the burden on you, you must understand the cost of structures and levies we've had."

POLICE URGED TO LEAVE AT RHODES UNIVERSITY

Rhodes University's vice chancellor has urged police to leave campus.

Rhodes was among the institutions that saw intensified demonstrations, causing classes to be suspended.

A handful of students remain barricading one of the points of entry at the university.

Right in front of them is a police vehicle, maintaining the South African Police Services visibility.

#FeesMustFall Rhodes University VC a short while ago mediating talks between police and protesting students. MK pic.twitter.com/i6cSb227H7

Vice chancellor Sizwe Mabizela has urged police not to intimidate protesting students.

Meanwhile just a few streets away, burnt rubble and dye from police water cannons can be seen at the Eastern Midlands College.

Earlier, police disbursed protesting students using rubber bullets and water cannons.

UCT MANAGEMENT OBTAINS COURT ORDER

University of Cape Town (UCT) management have obtained a court order interdicting protesting students from interfering with operations at the institution.

UCT student leaders are not happy with the court order.

"It's rather unfortunate that the university has chosen this method instead of engaging with students, to victimise us and victimise workers at the same time."

Who is this comrade called #FeesMustFall #WhitePrivilegeMustFall @MolotoMothapo @mbindwane @Lwazi_Somya pic.twitter.com/72MccF8EdI

Many of the protesters have dispersed, but some defiant students are still outside the Bremner Building.

Those who forcibly made their way into the building earlier have been thrown out by security.

WATCH: BREAKING: #UCT students break into Bremner Building. SS #FeesMustFall pic.twitter.com/DelK7QGVaP

  • EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) October 19, 2015 WATCH: #FeesMustFall: UCT students protest