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Clashes as students protest on campuses, parliament

Two heavily armed policemen pin a student to the ground and choke him during a march to Parliament to demand the release of the Fees Commission report yesterday. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA

Two heavily armed policemen pin a student to the ground and choke him during a march to Parliament to demand the release of the Fees Commission report yesterday. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA

Published Oct 26, 2017

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Unrest continued at UCT and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) yesterday, when private security guards used stun grenades to disperse a group of protesting students who the university said attempted to storm the Bellville library.

This as hundreds of students from the two universities marched to Parliament demanding to know when President Jacob Zuma would release the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training report.

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Several students were held as they were dispersed outside Parliament shortly after Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba delivered his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement.

UCT student Qondisa James said: “We are on the ground together. We will fight together. This is a call for all universities to unite.”

The students were escorted by police from Parliament to the CPUT’s Cape Town campus. They demanded an end to the “demilitarisation” of universities, the disbandment of all “paramilitary security”, the release of the fees commission report on free education and the withdrawal of court cases against students.

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Earlier yesterday, an office at the old education building on the Bellville campus was also set alight. On Monday the institution’s research directorate office in Bellville was closed after a suspected arson attack.

Five people were arrested in connection with the torching of a student shuttle and another vehicle on the same day.

In a statement, the university said: “Today (yesterday), the Mowbray and Cape Town campuses experienced sporadic attempts to vandalise and destroy property. 

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While incidents like these are frustrating and intimidating they are limited to a specific area and do not affect the operations of the university as a whole. 

Management wishes to assure staff and students that private security are adequately re-evaluating their priorities based on ongoing reports.”

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