ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe came down to meet with protesting students outside the party’s Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Earlier, former Wits University SRC president Mcebo Dlamini told the crowd: “The secretary general of the ANC will humble himself and come down here.”
“When I was growing up I was told the ANC respects people. I was inducted in nothing but the ANC – that the ANC was for the people. They must now come down to the people.
“Away with an arrogant ANC, away,” he said as Mantashe made his way to him.
He said the protesters were there “for one reason and one reason only – free and quality education”.
Dlamini said there should also be no outsourcing at Wits university.
“There are cleaners at the university who were cleaning when [Wits vice chancellor] Adam Habib was still a student.”
He also criticised “white monopoly media” who was there to “portray the black child as a savage”.
“Tomorrow [Friday] we are going to shut down the Union Buildings.”
Incoming Wits SRC president Nompendulo Mkhatshwa told the crowd that protests would continue until students’ demands were met.
“We have had white men point knives and guns at us in our institutions.”
A student was then asked to read a memorandum of demands.
On Wednesday afternoon, a nationwide protest by students against increased fees came to a head when protesters stormed the Parliament precinct while Finance Minister Nonhlanhla Nene was delivering his mid-term budget.
The protesters clashed with police, who eventually used stun grenades to force them back out.
Several protesters were also arrested, including the sons of UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price and ANC stalwart Frank Chikane.
29 protesters, most of them university students, were released on a warning on Thursday and their case postponed to February next year.
The protest action began last week Wednesday, with Wits University students protesting against a proposed 10.5% fee hike for 2016. Other institutions joined in this week. News24