Chaos as SA protesting students force their way into Parliamentary precinct

Thulani Gqirana, Jenna Etheridge, and Adam Wakefield, News24

Cape Town - Protesting University of Cape Town and Cape Peninsula University of Technology students forced themselves into the Parliamentary precinct on Wednesday, while the National Assembly was in session for Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's mid-term budget speech.

Students were shouting for Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to address them and gathered at one of the precinct's gates, where they threw water bottles at police.

However, as student numbers swelled at one of the Parliamentary gates, police did not call for reinforcements.

Eventually, through weight of numbers, they managed to force their way into the Parliamentary precinct up to the doors of the Parliament building, where students clapped, chanted, and sang.

Once on the property, they resumed their chant for Nzimande to address them.

Police guarded the doors as students stood in front of them, talking to police, who pushed them back using their riot shields from the doorsteps of Parliament.

Shortly afterwards, after tensions rose between students and police, it appeared teargas was fired, causing students to flee the property. Scenes on television showed students running from the scene amidst smoke.

This was taking place as Nene began his speech, following a disruption from Economic Freedom Fighters members, who attempted to halt the speech by shouting "Fees must fall" before they were removed from Parliament by security officers.

The number of the students who had gathered at Parliament prior entering the property numbered several thousand, and built up over the course of the day as students descended from their campuses.

It was not clear why further police were not called in to deal with the swelling number of students.