Further Protests Shut Down South African Universities

Student protesters and police continue skirmishes outside school grounds continue this week as universities shut down during a critical time of the semester.

South Africa’s Wits and Cape Town universities suspended classes on Wednesday for a second time the previous month.

The student protests root from the higher cost of education. According to many black students, the costs have become a symbol of the inequalities that endure in South Africa more than two decades after the lifting of the apartheid system.

A spokeswoman for the University of the Witwatersrand, known as Wits, and which reopened on Monday after protests last month forced a shutdown, said late on Tuesday that classes would be canceled until Oct. 10.

“We have agreed to suspend the academic program,” Shirona Patel said.

Wits, which has been the epicenter of the protests, conducted a poll last week asking students if they wanted go back to class.

Police had come in riot equipment. They had fired stun grenades and used rubber bullets and tear gas after students calling for free education in Wits.

The protesters threw stones at police and even flipped one vehicle over.

UCT spokeswoman Pat Lucas said that protesters had in the early hours of Wednesday attacked private security guards, broken into some buildings and started fires. Eight students had been arrested in the preceding day’s violence.