Rhodes university students are standing in solidarity with fellow students at UCT and Wits in the #FeesMustFall protests. Rhodes students have barricaded every entrance into the campus to stop any academic work from proceeding. This has led to the shutdown of the university. There will be no lectures, assignment and tutorial hand-ins, tests or exams until Thursday October 22 – following the start of the nationwide university shutdown on Wednesday October 21.
Rhodes students were, on Monday, protesting the MIP (Minimum Initial Payment) of 50% which was to be enforced in 2016.
In speeches he made, Vice Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela has shown solidarity with the students. He left for Cape Town on Monday night to discuss the issues with the minister of higher education and training, Blade Nzimande.
Rhodes students have faced rubber bullets, teargas and water-like substance spewed by a canon. There have been numerous reports by the student paper The Oppidan Press of police brutality. Dr Mabizela stated, on Monday, that no harm will come to students if the protest is peaceful and remains on campus, yet police allegedly assaulted a student on campus on the morning of Tuesday October 20. There has also been a reported case of three students threatening protesters with a gun – now reported to be a BB gun.
The Tuesday protest was a success. The Rhodes SRC has released a statement about the replacement of the MIP by a registration fee of 10% of tuition and residence fees to be paid by January 18.
The protests continue, two weeks before the start of exams.
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All image by Kyle Prinsloo