Police monitoring Wits following student protests

The university has suspended all academic activities for the rest of the week following the protests.

FILE: Students at Wits throw bricks at private security stationed outside Senate House during FeesMustFall protests. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police are keeping an eye on operations at Wits University after clashes broke out yesterday during a protest over fees.

Students have been demonstrating after the announcement by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande this week that universities need to determine their own hikes for the 2017 academic year but that they should be capped at eight percent.

The university has suspended all academic activities for the rest of the week.

There is a clean up operation at Wits University this morning following violent clashes between private security and protesting students that lead to some windows and the entrance door of a hall being smashed.

Wits University spokesperson Shirona Patel says those who destroyed property were in violation of the court order obtained by the institution and also says it will make private security account for yesterday's violence.

"We're reviewing the footage to try and find those people who were involved in the violent acts. Similarly, we understand that private security was also involved in the throwing of stones outside the Great Hall yesterday. We're taking up that matter with the security company. It's unacceptable."

WATCH: Rocks and rampage at Wits University

Although protesters have vowed to continue with their demonstration today, there is no sign of them yet.

Meanwhile, there is heavy police presence and private security on campus.

At least 31 students have been arrested and are being detained at the Hillbrow police station after preventing cars from entering the Wits campus.

The university has obtained a court interdict preventing students from disrupting academic activities and threatening those entering and leaving the premises.

Late yesterday, Wits students and private security on campus clashed, pelting stones at each other, with rubber bullets, stun grenades and teargas being used by security.


Students at Wits University are expected to hold a mass meeting this morning to discuss the way forward, as they vow to continue with their protests until government agrees to their demand for free education.

Students have started gathering in front of the university's Great Hall, which was the scene of violent clashes yesterday.

Wits #FeesMustFall leader Busisiwe Seabe says while they see the suspension of academic activities on campus as victory, it doesn't mean their fight for free education is over.

"We won't allow the university to resume until we've free education."

Seabe says students have abandoned their plan to march to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Luthuli house, saying they don't want to feed into ANC factions.

She says they plan to take their protest out of campus to the streets of Braamfontein.

Workers at Wits University have now joined the student's demonstration on campus.

Students marched around the institution mobilizing workers and making sure all shops are closed and no one is working around campus.

Students have vowed to continue with their protest until government accedes to their demand for free education.