In Petoria, it's business as usual - bar Tuks

Pretoria - Three of the four major universities around the city were on Thursday conducting lectures as usual amid the unrest that has hit the higher education sector across the country.

Only the University of Pretoria had closed down, while Tshwane University of Technology, Unisa and Sefako Makgato University were operating as normal but under a heavy security watch.

Men protest outside Parliament on Thursday against government's announcement of student fee increases. Credit: AP

Tuks spokeswoman Anna-Retha Bouwer said the decision to shut down the campus was made in the interest of the safety of students, staff and property.

On Wednesday, students had continued protesting, despite a reminder from the university that an interdict remained in place and a warning that those who participated would be suspended.

On Thursday, a group of students believed to be from different student bodies desperately tried to conduct a protest, but were let down by the turnout.

The 50-odd student protesters mobilised at the Unisa Sunnyside campus and chanted outside the gate.

Soon after that, they marched down Nana Sita Street – escorted by police – intending to go to the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria West and to disrupt a Varsity Cup game between Tuks and the University of Joburg.

Their plans were short-lived when some protesters complained of fatigue and hunger.

Among them was EFF Student Command leader Mpho Morolane.

He said the EFF and other student representatives were planning a total shutdown of all the universities in the city, including colleges. No operations at the country’s universities should take place until the demand for free tertiary education had been met, he said.

The situation remained tense at Wits University, where violence broke out on Wednesday, while students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal also protested.