Students: Voetsek Blade Nzimande, Voetsek Tuks Fees

Mpho Raborife and Ahmed Areff, News24

Pretoria - Several hundred protesting University of Pretoria students gathered outside the institution's student centre on Wednesday morning to hear their memorandum to management being read out.

Students from different organisations grouped together to sing struggle songs.

Others held up signs directed at Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, telling him to slash their fees.

They sang "Asiyifuni iagenda yama capitalist" (we don't want the capitalist's agenda) and "umama uyathanda masi funda mahala" (our mothers love it when we study for free).

The students also sang "Kubi!" (It's bad) in unison, and chanted "Voetsek Blade Nzimande. Voetsek Tuks Fees".

Naledi Chirwa who is doing her honours in Drama and is also the national legal and transformation officer of the Economic Freedom Fighters' students' command, told News24 the protesters were planning to occupy the institution until the vice chancellor came to collect their memorandum.

"Blade is insulting us as students. We are academics, we are intellectuals. Capping the fees doesn't make sense. We've brought our books here, we are willing to be here for as long as it takes," she said.

Some of the demands in the memorandum included free education, a 0% fee increment, that students participating in the protest must not be victimised by the university and its affiliates and that provision must be made for a protesting students to catch up on academic activities that were disrupted, among other demands.

Chirwa told the protesters to look to their neighbours and tell them: "Neighbour you must rise. And Tuks fees must fall".

"The only fluctuation we want is a decrease of fees. We are not customers, we are students. Our parents voted for free education in 1994. If we can't have that, then bring back the vote," she said.

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.