Around three hundred students were seen demonstrating at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Monday, calling for it to close its doors. Speaking to VOC News, UWC student protester, LeratorWolela says throughout the day, students chanted songs for free higher education as they say their demands have not been met by government.
“We are not calling for a no-fee increase for next year, we want free higher education. We cannot build a South Africa where students are left in such debt as they attempt to break through the shackles of Apartheid,” Wolela explained.
Students occupied the student centre and moved onto the Life Science building after staff were evacuated from the premises. Monday would have marked the beginning of normalcy at the university.
A clear division has been etched between students at the institution. Deputy President of the UWC Student Representative Council (SRC), Lukhanyiso Madese says the organisation has taken a stance to prioritise their academic studies by urging for students to prepare for examinations instead of engaging in protest action on campus.
“We accept the 0% fee increase for now and also believe in the free higher education cause but ultimately we need to allow students the right to return to campus and prepare for examinations. Some students will be graduating in December and are already under immense stress now their examinations are postponed until Monday,” Madese said.
UWC Vice Chancellor Tyrone Pretorius has extended the support of the management regarding the no fee increase after Zuma’s announcement on Friday but students say that is not enough. Tertiary institutions across the country have already postponed examinations and closed its doors following the mass action last week which saw 109 students arrested and several others injured due to police officials using stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the crowd of frustrated youth. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)