Wits student leaders seeking alternatives after protest violence

'We don't want our students to be shot at and physically harmed'

Wits student leaders seeking alternatives after protest violence

22 September 2016

Johannesburg - Student leaders at the University of Witwatersrand are looking for ways to protest without their demonstrations culminating into violence.

"We are trying to look at strategies and possible ways for us to prevent the violence going forward," said outgoing student representative council secretary general Fasiha Hassan.

Hassan was speaking in between meetings held by students at the institution.

"We don't want our students to be shot at and physically harmed," Hassan said.

Students have been protesting throughout the week following an announcement by higher education minister Blade Nzimande. He said universities could raise fees but by no more than 8%.

The minister also announced that poor students who qualified for NSFAS funding and students who came from households where the annual income was less than R600 000 would not have to deal with the increments as government would subsidise the shortfall.

Student were, however, not happy with the announcement, saying they only wanted to discuss free quality education.

Finalising demands

It's been a quiet on Thursday morning at campus but a group of students chased away television network ANN7 reporters, claiming one of their colleagues had called on police to intervene in protests at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The same group of students met and discussed the growing hostility toward journalists, with students expressing dissatisfaction with some of the coverage of the protest by reporters.

Hassan said students were trying to finalise their own demands along with a plan of action.

"We really want to try and come up with institutional demands that are Wits specific and eventually come up with national demands."

She also revealed that national co-ordination was taking place between various institutions looking at how students can apply more pressure for their cause.

"We, along with other institutions of higher learning want to target various spaces and stakeholders, particularly institutions of the state and the private sector," said Hassan.

This article first appeared on News24, see here