Above: University of Witwatersrand
CELUMUDA Ntuli, a 39 year-old janitor at Witwatersrand, died after students broke into the building which he was cleaning and released several fire extinguishers; he fell ill and was treated in hospital for a number of days, but he eventually succumbed to complications.
The ‘#FeesMustFall’ movement in South Africa has taken a morbid turn. What was intended to be a peaceful protest has ended with the death of a man in Johannesburg.
The student movement, sparked in October 2015, was a response to the announcement that tuition fees at the University of Witwatersrand were to rise by 10.5 per cent. The movement has undergone a resurgence in recent months after it emerged that the Minister for Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, was planning an 8 per cent hike in fees over the coming year.
Since its beginning, the movement has led to widespread student protests, the shutting down of university campuses across the country and increased pressure on both Nzimande and the South African President, Jacob Zuma.
As of last Thursday, 17 of the country’s 26 higher education institutions are no longer fully operational. Police are attempting to crack down on unrest with the use of rubber bullets and stun grenades.
However, the protests show no signs of slowing down in spite of an increasingly violent atmosphere surrounding the demonstrations. There are even reports from the South African Police Department that criminal gangs have now gotten involved in the once-passive movement.