Students barricade TUT entrance with rocks

Karabo Ngoepe and Ahmed Areff, News24

Pretoria - Protesting students at the Tshwane University of Technology's Soshanguve campus barricaded the entrance to the institution with rocks on Wednesday morning.

They also tried to prevent buses from leaving the premises, however two managed to pass through them.

Student Representative Council president Bernard Sekgobela told News24 that students did not want to protest, but were being forced to by institutions who refused to listen to them.

"Students need better service. Provide better service and there won't be strikes. Today we agreed with students to have a peaceful march where we will be opposing fee increments," he said.

"We are saying no to increments. If the university wants us to pay, they must transform the institution then after we shall pay an equal amount to the service we are getting."

He later told the group of more than 50 students that they would not "surrender" and would fight for the right for free education in the country.

University students across the country are expected to protest against tuition fee increases in what they call a National Day of Action campaign on Wednesday.

The South African Students Congress called on all students to embark on a nationwide mass action against fee increments until their demands were met.

The protest began last week Wednesday, with the University of the Witwatersrand students protesting against a proposed 10.5% fee hike for 2016. Other institutions joined in the protests this week.

On Tuesday afternoon, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that vice chancellors had agreed to cap their fee hikes at 6% for 2016. Students however were adamant that there should be no increase at all.