Wits student leaders call for campus shutdown

Minister Nzimande announced that it will be up to universities to decide their own fee increases for 2017.

FILE: Wits #FeesMustFall members protest. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Student leaders at the University of Witwatersrand have called for a campus shutdown following Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande's announcement that there will be a tuition fee increase for 2017.

The minister has announced that it will be up to universities to decide their own fee increases for the 2017 academic year but has suggested the increase not be more than eight percent.

Earlier today, the Wits SRC said that it would be forced to act if the minister fail to address the urgent call for free education.

The SRC urged students to gather at the university's Solomon Mhlangu House this morning to listen to the announcement.

After the minister's announcement, the Wits SRC leadership announced that it wants free education now.

There's commotion at Wits university as divisions between the PYA-led SRC and the EFF show.

Earlier, students wearing red EFF berets entered Solomon Mahlangu House singing and chanting, disrupting the gathering listening to the minister's announcement.

Tensions between the two political student groups on campus has led to EFF member Simamkele Dlakavu being booed off a desk as she tried to address students.

The students chanted "who are you?!", appearing to be angered that their plight has now been politicised.

CONFUSION

Students have made their way through campus and are currently near the FNB building which is mainly used for lectures in economics, law and commerce.

There are conflicting reports about whether there will be a Wits shutdown at this stage, with initial information indicating that demonstrators would be making their way to Yale Road.

It's not clear where this group is headed at this stage.

Earlier, these students expressed their disappointment with Minister Nzimande's announcement.

"We've heard nothing because Wits cut the WiFi and we only heard from the PYA-led students that it's eight percent and we saying no, we don't want an increase. We want free education."

Students have been moving in a group around campus singing "Asinamali" which means "we don't have money".