Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
Classes remain suspended at CPUT following unrelenting protest action at the Bellville campus. On 11 October, a building on the campus entrance was set alight together with the admin building, resulting in the indefinite suspension of classes. Academic activities will continue in the form of online tuition and alternative forms of assessment. Staff will be on duty but will work off campus.
One student has been arrested in connection with the burning of property. Charges of attempted murder have been brought against two students after two security guards were locked inside the burning building. The guards sustained minor injuries and were released from hospital on 12 October. Management have condemned the arson, calling it “thuggish behaviour”. Fees Must Fall leaders have since distanced themselves from the incident.
Rhodes University (RU)
According to Activate Online’s Twitter page, Fees Must Fall leaders said at a press conference that the protests are intended to be disruptive but not violent. The Fees Must Fall group cited several internal demands which included: a release of the sliding scale of the 2017 academic year where students do not pay anything, that poor students should not pay anything, that the university introduce budget reforms to cut down on monetary wastage, that student funding be prioritised, that a cap on the salaries for those in top management be put in place, and a cap on rent charges on buildings owned by the staff at the university. be introduced
The university’s SRC confirmed that 12 students had been arrested and four were hospitalised. Several fires and destruction to property have been reported with the most recent being the Humanities building on the lower campus resulting in disruption to academic activities on 5 October. The university continues to condemn violent behaviour and has undertaken that perpetrators will be brought to justice. The academic programme resumed on 11 October despite various disruptions.
University of Limpopo (UL)
On 28 September the university released an official notice that academic activities would be suspended indefinitely after students were requested to vacate residences. Vice-Chancellor and Principal Mahlo Mokgalong said the reason for the eviction and the temporary closure of the university was to protect and prevent any destruction to property. Isaac Hlungwana, one of the student leaders at the university, confirmed that all students that had been arrested have since been released, citing the national prosecuting authority’s decision to drop charges against the students.
University of Witwatersrand (Wits)
Academic activities continued at Wits despite continuous protests and minimal turnout in lectures. Following the decision by the university to cancel the general assembly on 7 October, students at Wits held their own general assembly at Solomon Mahlangu House, where the demands of the movement were read. The movement called for the support of the university in their demand for free decolonised education. In attendance were Adv. Dali Mpofu and the president of the South African Council of Churches.
The senior executive of the university has vowed to withdraw police and private security on campus but keep them around campus perimeters. A research team as mandated by students has come up with a model that would make free education a reality. Management has since said that the academic timetable will be revisited.
Durban University of Technology (DUT)
Management and the SRC at DUT have reached consensus to resume academic activities at the institution. Classes subsequently resumed on 5 October. Disruptions of classes by about 50 students resulted in six arrests. Those arrested are currently in police custody. Following the official end of protests at DUT, the vice-chancellors’ office and car were set alight, but the fire was contained timeously. The events that led up to the destruction of property are still under investigation.
University of Cape Town (UCT)
Classes at UCT remained suspended until 14 October, but other services relating to residence continued. Academic activities at the university have been continuously interrupted by protesting students over the past three weeks. UCT management have been reluctant in shutting down operations at the university citing that further academic disruptions would result in the rest of the academic year being lost. However, university management was forced to shut down campuses from 5-7 October due to unrelenting protests calling for free education. The case against three student leaders, Masixole Mlandu, Sibusiso Mpendulo and Zukisa Sokhaya continues. The students have since been released on bail and the case has been postponed to 23 November. Protests continue as the student body demands management to engage with them.
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
Students marched to Durban City Hall on 10 October to present their memorandum of demands. The memorandum outlined the national call for free decolonised education, the end of police brutality and the end of militarised institutions. The memorandum was received by representatives from the mayor’s office and the Durban Chamber of Commerce.
Eleven students who were arrested at UKZN have been in police custody for over 19 days. They are facing charges of public violence, failing to obey police orders and interfering with police in the course of duty. A further two students have been arrested in connection with an incident of arson at the Malherbe residence at the Pietermaritzburg campus. Students had to evacuate the residences after the fire broke out. The university is adamant on continuing with academic activities, maintaining a strong security presence on all of its campuses.
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)
On 12 October, students from TUT barricaded entrances to the university’s Pretoria West and GaRankuwa campuses. Protesting students prevented staff and students from entering the campuses, calling on the university to shut its doors until government addressed the call for free education. The students then proceeded to shut down the Arcadia and Arts campus before taking to the streets of Pretoria CBD. Police were called to the scene and used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. According to EWN, at least ten students were arrested on charges of public violence.