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South Africa students protest tuition fee hike

20 October 2015 15:00


University students in South Africa have held demonstrations against government plans to raise tuition fees for next year.

On Tuesday, police said they attempted to break up crowds of students who had gathered at a number of university campuses in protest against a plan to increase fees by 11.5 percent.

Students reportedly set fire to tires and barricaded entrances to the University of Cape Town, located in the country’s Western Cape Province.

South African police also fired stun grenades to disperse protesters at Rhodes University in the southeastern town of Grahamstown in Eastern Cape Province.

The students also gathered at the city of Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, where they reportedly overturned vehicles and attempted to drive into the campus, on Monday.

Police officials did not immediately comment on the protests.

Similar protests have been held during the past weeks.

The demonstrations come a day after South African Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said the government could no longer afford to provide free education for poor students. University administrators also say they have no choice but to raise fees in order to maintain academic standards.

Students argue that the government plan will further hurt African students who had already been struggling with limited access to universities during decades of apartheid rule, or racial segregation, which lasted during the late 1940s through the 1990s.

In recent months, South Africa has seen a wave of anti-colonialist protests, which started after students at the University of Cape Town demanded the statue of, Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of the south African territory of Rhodesia, be removed from the campus, saying it represented institutionalized racism.

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