Cape Town 151021 UCT students protest outside Parliament prior to  the Budget speach.
Photo by Michael Walker
Cape Town 151021 UCT students protest outside Parliament prior to the Budget speach. Photo by Michael Walker
Students force their way through the gates of Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday as police try to resist them. Picture: Nic Bothma
Students force their way through the gates of Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday as police try to resist them. Picture: Nic Bothma
Cape Town - 2015/10/21 Student Boo Blade Nzimande. Students from 4 universities gather at Parliament this afternoon, to protest against the proposed fees hikes.   Photo: Bertram Malgas
Cape Town - 2015/10/21 Student Boo Blade Nzimande. Students from 4 universities gather at Parliament this afternoon, to protest against the proposed fees hikes. Photo: Bertram Malgas
Protesting university students flee as police fire stun grenades outside Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday Oct. 21, 2015. The protests are part of a wave of nationwide protests that have shut down many South Africa universities, which say they are struggling with higher operational costs as well as inadequate state subsidies. (AP Photo)
Protesting university students flee as police fire stun grenades outside Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday Oct. 21, 2015. The protests are part of a wave of nationwide protests that have shut down many South Africa universities, which say they are struggling with higher operational costs as well as inadequate state subsidies. (AP Photo)
Cape Town 151021. Students from different tertiary institutions   forced their entry to Parliament to speak to the Minister of Tertiary education Blade Nzimande to decrease the fees at the institutions. Some students were arrested during the protest. Picture Cindy Waxa.Reporter Siya/Argus
Cape Town 151021. Students from different tertiary institutions forced their entry to Parliament to speak to the Minister of Tertiary education Blade Nzimande to decrease the fees at the institutions. Some students were arrested during the protest. Picture Cindy Waxa.Reporter Siya/Argus
Cape Town 151021. Students from different tertiary institutions   forced their entry to Parliament to speak to the Minister of Tertiary education Blade Nzimande to decrease the fees at the institutions. Some students were arrested during the protest. Picture Cindy Waxa.Reporter Siya/Argus
Cape Town 151021. Students from different tertiary institutions forced their entry to Parliament to speak to the Minister of Tertiary education Blade Nzimande to decrease the fees at the institutions. Some students were arrested during the protest. Picture Cindy Waxa.Reporter Siya/Argus
epa04987071 A South African student clashes with police during violent protests in the parliament precinct, Cape Town, South Africa, 21 October 2015. Protesters broke through the gates of parliamnet in an unprecedented violent protest that breached through the gates into parliament. Several students and police were injured in the clashes. Students are protesting against a proposed hike in tuition fees.  EPA/NIC BOTHMA
epa04987071 A South African student clashes with police during violent protests in the parliament precinct, Cape Town, South Africa, 21 October 2015. Protesters broke through the gates of parliamnet in an unprecedented violent protest that breached through the gates into parliament. Several students and police were injured in the clashes. Students are protesting against a proposed hike in tuition fees. EPA/NIC BOTHMA
epa04987072 An injured South African student is helped during clashes with police in the parliament precinct, Cape Town, South Africa, 21 October 2015. Protesters broke through the gates of parliamnet in an unprecedented violent protest that breached through the gates into parliament. Several students and police were injured in the clashes. Students are protesting against a proposed hike in tuition fees.  EPA/NIC BOTHMA
epa04987072 An injured South African student is helped during clashes with police in the parliament precinct, Cape Town, South Africa, 21 October 2015. Protesters broke through the gates of parliamnet in an unprecedented violent protest that breached through the gates into parliament. Several students and police were injured in the clashes. Students are protesting against a proposed hike in tuition fees. EPA/NIC BOTHMA
Son of anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Chikane arrested in Cape Town Parliament protest chaos
Picture: Carla Bernardo
Son of anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Chikane arrested in Cape Town Parliament protest chaos Picture: Carla Bernardo
A student clashes with police during violent protests in the parliamentary precinct. Picture: Nic Bothma/EPA
A student clashes with police during violent protests in the parliamentary precinct. Picture: Nic Bothma/EPA
Riot police and students face off during a protest over planned increases in tuition fees outside South Africa's Parliament in Cape Town on October 21, 2015. Picture: Mark Wessels
Riot police and students face off during a protest over planned increases in tuition fees outside South Africa's Parliament in Cape Town on October 21, 2015. Picture: Mark Wessels
Cape Town - 2015/10/21 Studetns cover their faces as the police use flash granades to dispurs the crowds. Students from 4 universities gather at Parliament this afternoon, to protest against the proposed fees hikes.   Photo: Bertram Malgas
Cape Town - 2015/10/21 Studetns cover their faces as the police use flash granades to dispurs the crowds. Students from 4 universities gather at Parliament this afternoon, to protest against the proposed fees hikes. Photo: Bertram Malgas
Cape Town:21/10/15:Student shows her injury as Students from various universities in the Western Cape broke into parliament and clash with police as they fight for affordable education. Pictures by:Brendan Magaar
Cape Town:21/10/15:Student shows her injury as Students from various universities in the Western Cape broke into parliament and clash with police as they fight for affordable education. Pictures by:Brendan Magaar
Cape Town:21/10/15:Student from various universities in the Western Cape broke into parliament and clash with police as they fight for affordable education. Pictures by:Brendan Magaar
Cape Town:21/10/15:Student from various universities in the Western Cape broke into parliament and clash with police as they fight for affordable education. Pictures by:Brendan Magaar
Cape Town - 2015/10/21 Police arrest Frank Chikane's, Kgotsi Chikane, on the grounds of  Parliament afterhe entered illegally. Students from 4 universities gather at Parliament this afternoon, to protest against the proposed fees hikes.   Photo: Bertram Malgas
Cape Town - 2015/10/21 Police arrest Frank Chikane's, Kgotsi Chikane, on the grounds of Parliament afterhe entered illegally. Students from 4 universities gather at Parliament this afternoon, to protest against the proposed fees hikes. Photo: Bertram Malgas
Cape Town:21/10/15:Student from various universities in the Western Cape broke into parliament and clash with police as they fight for affordable education. Pictures by:Brendan Magaar
Cape Town:21/10/15:Student from various universities in the Western Cape broke into parliament and clash with police as they fight for affordable education. Pictures by:Brendan Magaar
Cape Town:21/10/15:Student from various universities in the Western Cape broke into parliament and clash with police as they fight for affordable education. Pictures by:Brendan Magaar
Cape Town:21/10/15:Student from various universities in the Western Cape broke into parliament and clash with police as they fight for affordable education. Pictures by:Brendan Magaar
Cape Town 21-10-2015:Student being arrested by Police abs law Enforcement after their protested to Parliament against the hicking of fees.Picture Mlondolozi Mbolo reporter Mpumi Kiva
Cape Town 21-10-2015:Student being arrested by Police abs law Enforcement after their protested to Parliament against the hicking of fees.Picture Mlondolozi Mbolo reporter Mpumi Kiva
Students and police clash in the parliamentary precinct. Picture: Mlondolozi Mbolo
Students and police clash in the parliamentary precinct. Picture: Mlondolozi Mbolo
Cape Town - 2015/10/21 Students dance and protest as they protest against the varsity fee hikes. Students from 4 universities gather at Parliament this afternoon, to protest against the proposed fees hikes.   Photo: Bertram Malgas
Cape Town - 2015/10/21 Students dance and protest as they protest against the varsity fee hikes. Students from 4 universities gather at Parliament this afternoon, to protest against the proposed fees hikes. Photo: Bertram Malgas

Parliament - Questions have emerged over the presence at Parliament of public order police, known as the riot police, who repeatedly fired volleys of stun grenades at #FeesMustFall student protesters.

The riot police also manhandled and pushed the protesters off the parliamentary precinct in unprecedented scenes unfolding over two hours, which saw the protesters trying to storm the House.

Parliament on Wednesday confirmed those police officials, many of whom wore black body armour with helmets and shields, were not based at Parliament, nor were they part of the parliamentary security detail.

The police would have accompanied the around 5 000 protesting students as they pushed through the gates, which gave way.

“It is not normal for police to be in Parliament,” was the explanation offered at a hastily convened media briefing by acting Speaker Thoko Didiza and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairwoman Thandi Modise.

“They are not part of Parliament,” Modise later told Independent Media

 

 

Parliament was understood to be awaiting a detailed briefing from its own security staff.

It also appears that Parliament was caught off guard by the marchers, who were described as not targeting the national legislature, but wanting to be addressed by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.

“We heard that the students were marching. There was also unconfirmed reports… If we had such a confirmed report, we would have been ready to accept a memorandum,” said Modise.

Didiza said: “I didn’t hear anything… We were then advised at the end of the sitting that MPs should go back to their offices.”

Nzimande later tried to address the protesters at the side entrance to Parliament, but was met with boos from the students, who called for his head.

Former top cop and current Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bheki Cele also drew a blank, as students booed him too.

President Jacob Zuma, who was present during the speech, had to use the side entrance when he left because of the students at the main entrance.

Independent Media has confirmed that Nzimande received at least two notes during the sitting for the medium-term budget policy statement, indicating that the students wanted him to address them.

Parliament confirmed that the deputy secretary passed on the message. United Democratic Movement chief whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said he wrote to Nzimande, asking him to address the students.

Kwankwa and IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa were outside speaking to students and watching the chaotic events unfold. The violence initially unfolded near Nelson Mandela’s bust at the stairs to the columnated entrance to the National Assembly.

Protesting students were sitting down as a scuffle broke out, and at least two policemen rugby-tackled one protester to the ground. Some students threw plastic water bottles at the line of riot police guarding the stairs. Another scuffle broke out.

READ: ‘Police manhandled me, pulled my hair’

Suddenly a volley of stun grenades rang out, scattering students. Shoes and placards were strewn across the cobblestones. Students reassembled into three separate groupings. One young man held up a handwritten poster saying: “My father is a policeman. He would not want to see his son shot”.

Elsewhere another group chanted “We want Blade”, until the police dispersed them.

The push by the riot police down Parliament Avenue continued as students sang the national anthem, many holding up their hands, others angrily shouting at police.

Some students fell and, on at least two occasions, those who fell were targeted by two or three policemen. At least one policeman was seen tasering students as they were being pushed back to the gates.

The son of liberation Struggle stalwart Reverend Frank Chikane was among the five students and activists arrested on Wednesday. Joining him were Rhodes Must Fall movement leader Chumani Maxwele, Black First Land First’s Lindsay Maasdorp and University of Cape Town students Markus Trengove and Nathan Taylor.

 “We are angry. We don’t know what we are being charged with or why we were arrested,” said UCT student and ANC card-holding member Kgosi Chikane, speaking from the back of a police van.

No injuries were reported, but some students said they were suffering from “partial deafness”.

READ: Dramatic parly protest scenes

It was later established, once already in the police van, that they were arrested for contravening the National Key Points Act. By 3.30pm, the students were outside the parliamentary precinct, where they had started gathering at noon – and the gates to Parliament were locked.

Nzimande, accompanied by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko, State Security Minister David Mahlobo and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, were behind the green railings, surrounded by bodyguards, at the parliamentary side entrance. – Additional reporting by Siyabonga Mkhwanazi and ANA

Political Bureau

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