Johannesburg - Hundreds of students shut down parts of Wits University as they protested against the increase in university fees.
The protest, which started at around 7am, gathered momentum soon after students blocked the university gate entrances including the main Empire road entrance and the Yale Street entrance.
Motorists were not allowed in or out of the university as the protest continued. Classes were being disrupted as students walked through corridors and banged on doors getting students to join in on the official protest that started at noon.
Students protested around the entire campus moving from the entrances to the lecture halls, to the Wits student centre –Matrix and to Senate House.
The students said that it was not fair that the fees were increasing and that most students would not be able to afford it.
The Wits University fees are set to increase by 10.5% for overall fees, 6% for upfront payment fees, 9.4% for residence fees and 10.7% for international students.
Brian Nkosi, a BSc second year student, said he did not know where he would get the money from.
“I already pay R50 000 so by next year I’ll be paying close to R60 000. I live in res and that will go up by 9.5% that can’t work for me as a student,” he said.
By noon hundreds of students had gathered in the enrolment centre to air their grievances.
The students claimed that their vice chancellor Adam Habib had turned the institution into a business.
“We are fighting against a system that is brutal. This is not a protest this is a complete shut down,” Mcebo Dlamini, former Wits SRC member said.
Wits SRC president Nompendulo Mkhatshwa said they had been fighting the fees fight for years and were now tired of it.
“This is our institution and it is important that we stand together and fight,” she said.
Twitter was abuzz with the hashtags #WitsFeesMustFall and #WitsShutDown.
Some tweeters were complaining about not being able to move around campus or get to class. Others were supportive of the protest calling it an amazing movement.
“This is power” – tweeted another.