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Protesting Wits students damage cars, claim motorist tried to ram them

Motorists on Empire Road outside Wits say protesting students are attacking cars with sticks.

Hundreds of students gathered at Wits to get a report back from council members on demands to scrap a proposed 10.5% fee increase for the 2016 year. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Motorists on Empire Road outside Wits University claim protesting students are attacking cars with sticks.

Many protesting students have taken their demonstration outside campus after the council cancelled a feedback meeting over the decision to suspend fee hikes for 2016.

Empire Road has been blocked and Metro Police are monitoring the group.

One motorist says the students are targeting motorists making their way home.

"It's very frightening. They are beating on our car bonnets and most of us have tried to make U-turns. There's a complete traffic jam. Students in the road are very frightening and not peaceful."

Another motorist says his car has been damaged.

"They just attacked my car, hitting it with sticks and started breaking my petrol cap. I don't know what the damage there is."

The drive of this car tried to run over students...

#WitsFeesWILLFall pic.twitter.com/sm6xexpmS8

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

JMPD. It seems students are going back into campus. @thedailyvox #WitsFeesWILLFall pic.twitter.com/16nIWYP1t8

#WitsFeesWILLFall students march , occupy and sit down in empire road. Traffic at a standstill. 16:10 pic.twitter.com/SfalcZn4UO

Wits students have shut down Empire Road. Management won't listen, maybe the SA streets will.

#WitsFeesWILLFall pic.twitter.com/T29H6NBOYw

Empire Road closed #WitsFeesWILLFall pic.twitter.com/twqUgGGND8

UCT PLEADS WITH DEFIANT STUDENTS

University of Cape Town (UCT) management is pleading with dozens of defiant students for more time to address their grievances.

Protesting students have threatened three senior staff members that they will not be allowed to leave the institution's premises until their complaints have been acknowledged.

WATCH: #FeesMustFall student leaders blast some of their demands in three of #UCT leaders' faces. SS pic.twitter.com/EQSCiUdNhc

#FeesMustFall situation at #UCT right now. SS @4everSiya pic.twitter.com/yXo8nSJdd9

WATCH: #FeesMustFall - situation right now at #UCT. SS pic.twitter.com/OJIMbkT1BQ

Unless three of UCT's senior staff members acknowledge these demands, protesting students say they're not going anywhere.

Student leader, Lwazi Somya said, "They've offered to have a meeting in the parking lot, now we are forcing them to have this meeting with us in the parking lot. They've refused to come to the table with even half of our demands.

WATCH: #FeesMustFall: UCT students protest

"WE ARE AWARE EDUCATION IS EXPENSIVE"

Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says he's aware education at South African Institutions is expensive and says government is doing all it can to address the situation.

Nzimande says funding for poor students through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has increased to over R9.5 billion in the 2015 financial year.

But he says it's evident this is not enough and more needs to be done.

Nzimande has called on the private sector to be more visible than ever before and invest in Higher Education.

"The private sector is the biggest beneficiary of our higher education system. Investing and maintaining quality in our system and ensuring that universities are sustainable is therefore in their own interest."

Nzimande says it's clear the National Student Financial Aid Scheme cannot support all students in need of financial help.

"We are aware that tertiary education is expensive and something needs to be done especially in the developing country."

The minister has called on students to remain calm while discussions at universities continue.

Nzimande has appealed for all protest to be carried out with dignity and respect for the law.

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