At around 11 am on Friday, between De Korte and Biccard streets in Braamfontein, Wits University students instructed shops and businesses to close as part of their protest. The students are demanding an end to financial exclusion, abolishment of the cap on residence allowances from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and a solution to the lack of accommodation as reported by Sowetan Live.
Several people in Braamfontein supported the students by singing in solidarity as they made their way to a Wits campus entrance, where they attempted to push through a barricade set up by security personnel.
According to Aphiwe Mnyamana, the president of Wits student representative council (SRC), “These buildings that impose exorbitant charges for accommodation cannot continue to operate until our demands are met. We will be shutting down businesses in Braamfontein until our concerns receive the attention they deserve from the nation.”
In an interview with TimesLIVE, an anonymous Wits student wearing an EFF SRC T-shirt stated, “Our aim is to raise awareness among universities throughout South Africa. We cannot continue to engage in these protests annually; we are exhausted. It is time for the youth to unite and engage with those we are fighting against. By exerting pressure on universities, we can bring our demands closer to [higher education minister] Blade Nzimande.”
The protests are ongoing.
Photo by Markus Spiske