Tensions Escalate on Third Day of Wits Student Protest
Students at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg have been protesting since Wednesday over a range of grievances, including financial exclusion and a lack of accommodation. The protests escalated on Thursday as students clashed with security personnel, tore down advertising banners, and vandalised a bus sign as reported by Sowetan Live.
Despite the suspension of some participants by university management, the students have vowed to intensify their protests. They are demanding an end to financial exclusion, removing the cap on residence allowances from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), and resolving the accommodation shortage that is disrupting classes and causing businesses in Braamfontein to close.
Karabo Natloga, a member of the Student Representative Council (SRC), accused the university management of attempting to silence the protesters by suspending them. “Taking to the streets has been our last resort, and we will continue until the university and the government respond to the SRC’s requests,” Natloga stated.
The situation has caused significant disruption to the campus and surrounding businesses and traffic in the area. In addition, some students have reported being tear-gassed by security personnel during the protests, further inflaming tensions.
The university management has urged students to engage in constructive dialogue rather than resorting to violence and disruption. However, the students argue that they have exhausted all other avenues and that the protests aims to bring attention to their demands. As a result, the situation remains tense, with both sides standing firm in their positions.
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