#NationalShutDown: Live blog [CLOSED]

17:57, JOBURG As students come down from their earlier high over the 0% fee increase, to deal with marauding groups of people blocking roads and threatening cars and busses on the streets of Pretoria, recognising that protestors in Cape Town are still engaged in clashes with police and that some students are still facing charges from police, we close this Live Blog with two tweets.

The Daily Vox will continue its coverage on the #FeesMustFall movement in the coming days. Thank you for all the love and follows.

17:27, JOBURG Wits University has circulated a statement outlining the proposals vice-chancellors put forward and a bit more detail on what had been agreed. This includes:

  • There would be a zero percent (0%) increase in fees for 2016.
  • University Vice-Chancellors will extend the time for the examinations period to compensate for time lost.
  • Long-term issues to be addressed include free education, institutional autonomy, racism, and what students call “black debt”.
  • The Presidential Task Team that has been established to address funding mechanisms will be broadened to look at all these and broader transformation issues affecting higher education.
  • There will be an attempt by government to ensure that all students arrested will not be charged.

17:20, PRETORIA Many students from Wits and UJ are still stuck in the city. There are reports of fires burning in the street, as groups of students – who some are claiming are from the Tshwane University of Technology – block roads, bang on the busses and loot alcohol and soft drinks from shops. Our reporter Pontsho Pilane has finally made it out of the city.

Wits students have been instructed to get to the Gautrain station and catch a train back to Johannesburg if they can.

17:01, PRETORIA Things are becoming really unsafe in Pretoria. Our reporter is still trapped in the city. People have been banging on the busses, telling people to get off. People on the busses have been told that there are people wandering around with petrol bombs. This last part is however unconfirmed.

16:23, PRETORIA Here’s a more thorough report from Pontsho Pilane about the police actions at the Union Buildings earlier: 16:09, PRETORIA Many, many reports filtering in now of students who had been leaving the area around the Union Buildings being followed by police in Hippos and being shot at, repeatedly, with rubber bullets. Our reporter, Pontsho Pilane, was trying to get to a bus back to Wits when police corralled them by Hippo and shot at them as they hid behind a car. Pilane barely escaped harm – she was shot in the foot. Fortunately her shoe took the brunt of it and she was no injured. A lot of students are fleeing and anxious.

15:56, PRETORIA There are now shocking visuals from eNCA of police using Hippos to chase down students. Daily Vox reporter Pontsho Pilane is trying to leaving the area as things are becoming more unsafe. Students are afraid of what the police might do. A random community member stopped to buy milk for students so they could wash the teargas out of their eyes.

15:51, PRETORIA Riot police have used rubber bullets and what’s believed to be tear gas to clear protestors from the Union Building lawns.

15:42, CAPE TOWN There are reports now that an armed riot police unit is headed for the University of the Western Cape, where students from the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University are believed to be headed.

15:33, PRETORIA Scenes of chaos on the Union Buildings lawns right now. Some students were throwing stones at police, and now riot police are spilling out onto the lawn. There’s also been a lot of tear gas and stun grenades. Students are fleeing the grounds.

15:20, RHODES Students at Rhodes University have reacted to news of the 0% increase with jubilation. The Oppidan Press’s Stuart Lewis reports:

15:18, PRETORIA In his brief statement, Zuma failed to explain how, without any increases, the gap in funding to universities would be covered.

15:12, PRETORIA Zuma has spoken, but have students heard? There were no loudspeakers or screens set up for the student, and Zuma didn’t come out to address them, so most students out on the Union Building lawns are still completely unaware of what was just decided on. #anticlimax

15:04, PRETORIA Zuma speaks: “We agreed that there would be a zero increase of university fees in 2016.”

15:01, PRETORIA While students regroup, here’s a view to look down on:

14:54, PRETORIA Still at the Union Building laws, our reporter Pontsho Pilane says the mood has lightened a lot, particularly after “a speaker” came out to tell the students that Zuma would soon address them with “positive news”.

14:51, PORT ELIZABETH While we wait on the president, a bit of a newswrap for you now from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). On Tuesday, NMMU students kicked off their #feesmustfall campaign, marching into a student achievers dinner. Early Wednesday morning, students blocked the roads leading to the NMMU North and South campuses, but police fired rubber bullets to disperse them. On Wednesday thousands of students gathered at The Kraal on campus, awaiting a meeting with NMMU vice-chancellor Derrick Swartz. Swartz agreed to meet them, but at a different venue – the NMMU Madibaz Stadium. Because of the disagreement on the venue, Swartz ended up addressing a small group of about a hundred people, whilst thousands of other students made their way to the university’s campuses in Summerstrand, halting all academic programmes. Today, thousands of students continued to protest, marching to the 2nd Avenue campus in Summerstrand, amidst a visible police presence which included a helicopter. On its Twitter account, @NMMU4U, the university announced that Swartz is among the group meeting President Jacob Zuma today. It also informed students that “the academic programme & everything related to it, is set to resume on Mon”.

14:44, PRETORIA Several reports are coming in, saying that Zuma will announce a 0% increase for next year.

14:43, PRETORIA Meanwhile, back where the students are, barbed wire has been rolled out, armoured carriers are about, and some people have been teargassed. This from our reporter Aaisha Dadi Patel, who is out on the lawns:

14:39, PRETORIA This may not be well received. Zuma is set to make his address from inside the Union Buildings, on national TV. So, perhaps the answer our earlier question is, No, he will not come down to the people.

14:36 PRETORIA So it looks like President Jacob Zuma is set to address students at 14:45. Spare a thought for the students who have been standing out in the largely shade-free lawns outside the Union Buildings since early this morning. The temperature right now is around 27 or 28 degrees.

14:20 STELLENBOSCH Meanwhile, students at the University of Stellenbosch have heard from their Vice Chancellor who says he supports a 0% fee increase.

14:15 PRETORIA  Shaeera Kalla, president of the Wits SRC tells us that students are regrouping and will then march back to the lawns, stressing that it is a peaceful protest.

13:58, PRETORIA We’ve just spoken to Pontsho who says police have fired tear gas on to the protesters.

13:55, PRETORIA Our Periscope feed has ended but to recap, police have now unrolled a barbed wire fence separating protesters from the actual Union Buildings. There is still no clarity about who exactly is responsible for pelting the police or pushing over the original fence. And in the meanwhile, most sections of the crowd remain peaceful.

13:50, PRETORIA, We’re live on Periscope from the Union Buildings. Watch here

13:36, PRETORIA Pontsho Pilane filed this report from the Union Buildings. She says it’s unclear who exactly is responsible for the chaos. 13:35, PRETORIA Pontsho Pilane tells us that the Wits SRC has decided to leave the Union Buildings demonstration.

13:25, PRETORIA More stun grenades have been fired against the crowd at the Union Buildings. Sections of the crowd appear very restless. But Pontsho Pilane is hearing that the protesters pushing against the fence, and pelting the police are not students but activists who joined the protest. There’s no way we can qualify this for now.

13:19, PRETORIA According to Pontsho Pilane, police have fired warning shots at the Union Buildings amid calls for discipline from students.

13:15, GRAHAMSTOWN Meanwhile at Rhodes, students have vowed to keep the university shut down. 13:05, PRETORIA Our reporter, Aaisha Dadi Patel says she has just arrived at the Union Buildings, but she feels unsafe. There is a lot of jostling in the crowd, and it appears very little leadership. 12:59, PRETORIA Further sections of the fence are coming down as students push against the barrier, demanding an audience with President Zuma. 12:58, PRETORIA Sections of the crowd have broken through the fence at the Union Buildings but have been chased back by police in full riot gear.

12:53, PRETORIA Some scenes now from outside the Union Buildings:

Meanwhile, eNCA’s Nickolaus Bauer reports that the State Security Minister David Mahlobo is headed out to see the gathering crowd.

12:45 PRETORIA So apparently President Jacob Zuma has already been meeting with students and the vice-chancellors of the various universities this morning.

But leaders of the #FeesMustFall movement including Wits SRC president Shaeera Kalla and Wits EFF leader Vuyani Pambo have said they won’t meet with Zuma except in public. So who exactly are these students they’ve been meeting with, and what have they been saying behind closed doors? We call shenanigans.

12:36 PRETORIA eNCA is reporting on a small fire that’s broken out near a fence at the Union Buildings. Doesn’t seem too serious.

12:26 CAPE TOWN News in now that police have had to escort the DA’s Helen Zille away from protestors after Stellenbosch students told her, in no uncertain terms, to “voetsek”. Zille is the latest in a long list of political figures to be seen by students as politically opportunistic and told to shove off. Zuma will have to tread lightly when he addresses vice-chancellors and students later today.

12:24 JOBURG This is a bit delayed but you have to see this photo from the AFP to feel #allthefeels after yesterday’s #FeesMustFall march to Luthuli House. You have to wonder what today’s turnout at the Union Buildings be like.

12:13, PRETORIA Wits University students have just arrived in Pretoria and area headed for the Union Buildings. Pontsho Pilane said that despite the high police presence, students were excited and the mood was jovial. 12:11 LONDON There’s lots of solidarity for students protesting in the #FeesMustFall movement. Here we see university students in London conducting a solidarity march.

11:55, CAPE TOWN #FeesMustFall protests are still continuing in the Western Cape, both at the University of Stellenbosch and at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Last night, UWC students were reportedly fired on by police with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. This morning, students are headed for the campus Students Centre where their vice-chancellor Tyrone Pretorius is expected to address them. Protestors with banner at UWC [raeesa pather] Our reporter Ra’eesa Pather, who had some trouble getting into campus (people without student cards or press cards were being turned away by campus security) filed this brief report: 11:08, DURBAN Our reporter Lizeka Maduna has sent this video of students marching onwards to ANC House.

10:55, PRETORIA A small group of students have attempted to break through a fence at Union Buildings. ENCA have live visuals but as their commentator Angelo Fick points out, the discipline of the protest is likely to be tested by small groups like these. 10:25, JOBURG Our colleagues at the Daily Maverick have a nifty write-up about the South African police’s new weapon of choice: the stun grenade. we saw it used on protesters outside parliament on Wednesday and it was also used at other protests yesterday. “Initially intended for use in confined spaces, some police forces have begun using them in crowd management situations. In such contexts they are intended to momentarily ‘soften’ and distract crowds so police officers can intervene with other forms of control.” 10:20, JOBURG President Zuma was scheduled to meet with student representatives at 10:00 AM this morning but Wits student leaders insist they will not join that meeting. “No Wits representative will be going for the discussion. I have made this point clear many times,” Shaeera Kalla, Wits SRC president said. And the EFF chairperson at Wits, Vuyani Pambo has made clear the students will not stand for private meetings. They want the leaders to come down to the people.

  10:15,  JOBURG So, after Wits University released a statement last night supporting the demand of students for more funding from the state, we’ve heard the Wits Council will also join the students at the Union Buildings today. But it’s not just students that are headed to Pretoria, a statement of solidarity with nearly 10,000 signatures is also making the trek over the Juksei.

 Sounds like it’s going to be some party. 10:00 DURBAN Students from the University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN) and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) are leaving their campuses on their way to a march to the ANC headquarters in the Durban.

9:55, JOBURG And in the lull, we’ll take a moment to recap what happened when Wits and UJ students marched on Luthuli House yesterday.   9:47, JOBURG This handy survival guide for student protestors embarking on any demonstrations or marches has been doing the rounds on social media this morning. It suggests that in addition to water, sunblock and charged cellphones, protestors also bring protective goggles, headgear and face masks in case stones are thrown or tear gas is deployed. We don’t know who put it together but they may well have been a boy scout. #beprepared FeesMustFall protestors survival guide 9:42 JOBURG Kgomotso Tsetsamoeng, a politics and international relations student from Wits tells Pontsho Pilane she’s excited about the march. “I hope today we actually get something thats going to up lift our spirit because as a movement we dont want it to lose momentum, to dwindle … the road is long, it’s hard but we will get there,” she says.

9:37 JOBURG It’s still quite early but Wits students are starting to make their way towards busses bound for Pretoria and the Union Buildings.

Wits students head for busses NationalShutDown

9:24 JOBURG Because it’s a Friday and you are all probably worn out from this week, we thought we’d start with some squee. This post from teacher and former Wits student Faith Iman Dhladhla on Facebook shows her crop of grade 2 pupils – SA’s future tertiary scholars – proclaiming their intended occupations and their support for #FeesMustFall. How about a collective Aaw! 

Faith Iman Dhladhla grade 2 kids support FeesMustFall

9:00, JOBURG Good morning and welcome to The Daily Vox’s live blog for October 23, the day #FeesMustFall protests took to the Union Buildings.

We’ve archived the live blog for the previous two days but you can still view those updates here.

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1 Comment

  1. News of Opposition: October 2015 | Anti Government

    […] University of Fort Hare yesterday (video here) to the Union Buildings at the capital today. From a detailed timeline of the day’s activities “17:20, PRETORIA Many students from Wits and UJ are still stuck in […]

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