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#Fees2017: Universities across SA suspend operations

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the University of the Free State suspended all operations.

"A student tries to break a concrete dustbin for ammunition during skirmishes with private security at Senate House at Wits University. Picture: Nina Leslie/iWitness

JOHANNESBURG - Fees protests have now affected other institutions across the country, forcing some universities to suspend operations.

When Eyewitness News called the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the only answer was a recorded message saying, "Welcome to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, please note that due to national student protests, the university is currently closed."

At the University of the Free State, management says its suspended all operations until next week.

The institution's Lachea Loader said, "The senior leadership of the university decided this morning to close all its campuses until 23 September."

SRC deputy president at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Howard campus, Sunshine Nyende, says students there are still in a meeting, trying to decide a way forward but classes are going ahead as normal.

"Classes are still going ahead but as the SRC we are trying to find a way forward."

Meanwhile, at the North West University's Mafikeng campus students also held a mass meeting earlier and after it adjourned, a group stormed into some lecture rooms and offices disrupting activities and intimidating staff and fellow students.

The institution says it's called in the police who are monitoring the situation, however, lectures there have not been suspended as yet.

In the Western Cape, classes at the University of Cape Town (UCT) were earlier suspended for the rest of today and tomorrow.

WATCH: #Fees2017: Protesters shut down UCT

A group of protesting UCT students marched through the campus and gathered in the Leslie Social Sciences Building where they've disrupted classes, forcing other students out of lecture halls.

This has left management with little option but to suspend academic activities.

Protest leaders addressed the crowd, saying they intend on meeting later today to plot the way forward.

STUDENTS URGED NOT TO PROTEST

At the same time, the African National Congress (ANC) has called on university students to desist from protesting.

Students across the country launched protests yesterday after higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced universities would decide on the fee increase under a cap of eight percent.

He also said students from lower and middle income households earning below R600,000 annually would be subsidised.

Yesterday, Nzimande reiterated that there's no money available to cover the shortfall of another zero percent increase at the country's universities.

The ANC's Khusela Sangoni said, "We are calling on university students and management to ensure they desist from any unlawful and negative activities during this period. Government and universities are still continuing discussions behind a lifelong solution to the challenge of funding the higher education."

Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League says it rejects the entire argument that a university fee increment to the margin of eight percent must be contemplated.

The youth league's spokesperson, Mlondi Mkhize, says they stand by their position on moratorium on all university fees, pending the outcomes of the presidential commission on free education.

WATCH: Rocks and rampage at Wits University

Additional reporting by Lauren Isaacs.

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