Universities suspend academic activities amid fee protests

All activities at several universities have been suspended following fee protests around the country.

University of Pretoria students protest on the institution’s Hatfield campus over possible university fee hikes for the 2017 academic year. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The University of Cape Town(UCT) has announced that all academic activities will remain suspended until Sunday, amid ongoing fee protests at various tertiary institutions.

The university says the decision was taken at a senior leadership group meeting this evening, and will affect libraries and the campus bus service.

Demonstrations erupted, after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that universities would be allowed to hike their fees, but only up to 8 percent.

UCT student s are also protesting for the return of several expelled students.

Other institutions that have suspended academic activities for the week include the University of Pretoria, University of the Free State and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

WATCH: #Fees2017 shuts down UP

Meanwhile, Wits University students say they remain resolute in their call for free education and are not willing to back down, despite violent clashes with police.

Officers used stun grenades and rubber bullets this afternoon, in an attempt to push students off the streets of Braamfontein and back onto campus in downtown Johannesburg.

One officer and at least one student were injured in the violent clashes.

A student at university says the message is clear.

"We don't have bursaries and we don't have rich parents, but we want to learn - higher education."

It appears students are now plotting their next strategy as their fight for free education continues.

At the same time, management at the NMMU says it is investigating why some of its students were arrested during fee protests.

The institution says a group of students participated in an off-campus march today, and it's understood that eight students were arrested after clashes with police.

NMMU's Debbie Derry says management met with students earlier today.

"Students want to make their struggle for free education known broadly, which led to their intention for a march. The march went ahead towards Second Avenue campus, and what transpired after that we are not entirely sure."

All activities at the university have been suspended until Friday as a precautionary measure.