Riot police and students clashed violently at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology's (CPUT) Bellville campus on Wednesday as protests over service delivery, facilities and fees continued for a third day.
On Monday, CPUT's Cape Town central campus was the scene of a mass demonstration which turned violent on Tuesday with police firing rubber bullets and stun grenades at students who had attacked them with stones. Tuesday's events culminated in the arrest of five people, four of whom were charged with public violence and one of whom was held on suspicion of trespassing.
Yesterday, the protests moved to Bellville and, by noon, 1 000 students were gathered outside the institution's main administration building demanding answers from CPUT vice-chancellor Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga about what they described as high fees and poorly-maintained facilities.
Mazwi-Tanga, surrounded by police officers and red-jacketed security officials brought in by the institution for major events and protests, told students that she had received a copy of the memorandum submitted to her on Thursday.
However, she had "not made time" to read the memorandum - a statement which was greeted with roars of derision by the crowd - because Friday was a public holiday and she had been engaged in meetings on Monday and Tuesday, Mazwi-Tanga said.
She said a meeting would be held between senior managers and student leadership yesterday afternoon, although she would only be able to join the meeting later in the day.
"We will then outline our programme of action, and the (Student Representative Council) will consult you (about our decisions)," she told the crowd. Before moving back into the administration building, Mazwi-Tanga said: "I always treat the students at CPUT with respect."
The assembled students jeered and booed in response to this.
Some students dispersed, but the majority moved away from the administration building and blocked the main entrance of the campus, overturning dustbins and using potato crisp packets or black bags to cover security cameras which had been recording their every move.
Cars which tried to leave the campus using the main interchange were turned back by students.
Student leaders attempted to keep the demonstrators from leaving campus, but a large group defied these instructions and continued to move towards Modderdam Road, just outside CPUT's main gates. When police cars with flashing lights and sirens pulled up outside the institution, some students ran towards them before stopping and turning back towards the campus.
At 2.30pm, a student leader announced that Mazwi-Tanga had refused to meet a delegation made up of representatives from several student political groups which had asked to join the SRC group.
Students then started pelting the administration building with naartjies and rushed towards the building, which prompted the red-jacketed security guards to retaliate with truncheons and teargas.
An hour later, staff were evacuated from the administration building.
At 4pm, the protest turned violent: a police riot vehicle drove slowly towards the students. It was pelted with rocks, and police retaliated with rubber bullets and stun grenades.
Students scattered in all directions, many screaming, and at least one woman was knocked unconscious in the chaos. A female student was treated for a minor injury to her stomach.
The SRC issued a statement late yesterday in which it vowed that "commotion, brouhaha and 100 percent breach of peace are going to rule the day until management deliver on our demands".
University spokesperson Norman Jacobs said late on Wednesday that the institution would issue a statement today, as the meeting between Mazwi-Tanga and student leaders was ongoing.