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Academic activities at all UCT campuses suspended

Protesting students say they will force a campus shutdown until their grievances are adequately addressed.

UCT #Fees2017 protesters occupy Upper Campus of the University of Cape Town. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Academic activities at all University of Cape Town (UCT) campuses have been suspended for a third day amid ongoing campus protests.

Student protests flared up last week and the campus was shut down on Thursday and Friday.

Demonstrations have been linked to university fee increases in 2017.

Protesting UCT students say they will force a campus shutdown until their grievances are adequately addressed.

Students say they will even lead a march to Parliament to highlight their cause.

Watch: #Fees2017: UCT is shut down by protesters

Non-protesting students say they are worried about how lecture disruptions will affect their exams.

"Obviously exams are coming up and so a big concern for students is that we actually need these lectures to be able to write our exams."

Some law students have described how more than a dozen demonstrators disrupted a class and assaulted students and a lecturer with sticks and a fire extinguisher.

University management says while security has been kept low-key to avoid confrontation, they will consider calling the police as a last resort.

SPREADING ACROSS THE COUNTRY

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

At the University of the Free State, management said it has 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, said 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 said it's called in the police who are monitoring the situation, however, lectures there have not been suspended as yet.

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