Kathleen Kamstra / Johannesburg, Oct 21 () - South African students have accepted a call from the South Africa Students Congress for a shutdown of universities in response to fee increases, amid nationwide protests.
Universities are expected to be shut down or minimize academic activity due to safety concerns on Oct. 21, as students continue to protest.
6 percent cap on fee increases
Students have rejected a 6 percent cap on fee increases proposed for 2016, and the announcement have sparked protests amongst students. The fee hike comes in response to inflation and declining government subsidies; however students defend that such increases would only allow the privileged ones to remain in higher education.
On Tuesday, some 23 students have been arrested at the University of Cape Town, charged with disrupting the peace.
Meanwhile, stun grenades were used on protesters at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. Wits University in Johannesburg, where the protest originated last Wednesday, has announced it will remain shut for the rest of this week, for the safety of staff and students.
As the ongoing protests accelerated, the #NationalShutDown hashtag replaced the various #FeesMustFall hashtags on social media posts regarding protests at the University of the Witwatersrand‚ University of Fort Hare‚ Rhodes University and the University of Cape Town.