Since South Africa’s universities announced that they would be raising tuition, students have been protesting, but on Wednesday, protests turned violent, reports BBC.
Keep Up With Face2Face Africa On Facebook!
Last week, student protests began at Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand (pictured below), after it was announced that school tuition fees would be raised between 10 to 12 percent throughout South Africa. Soon, the protests spread to Cape Town and Pretoria.
Government officials responded by offering to reduce the tuition increase to 6 percent, but their offer was definitively rejected by mainly Black students who say their indigent backgrounds make it impossible for them to afford the new fees and will ultimately cause them to drop out of school.
By Wednesday, what is being described as the “biggest student protests to hit the country since minority rule ended in 1994” took place, with police officers throwing stun grenades and tear gas at students and universities being forced to close.
Twenty-nine students were arrested then released in Cape Town; the case has been reportedly postponed until February.
In response to the angry protests, South African President Jacob Zuma agreed to meet with student protest leaders Friday, saying in a statement, “It is important that we work together to find solutions. Nobody disagrees with the message that students from poor households are facing financial difficulties and possible exclusion.”
See photos from the protests here: