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South African universities divided on campuses reopening

By Lizeka Tandwa | News24 |

SOUTH AFRICA, Johannesburg – While most universities will resume classes on Monday after days of student protests, some institutions have decided to take no chances by shutting down academic activity for another day.

Students protest over planned increases in tuition fees in Stellenbosch
Students protest over planned increases in tuition fees in Stellenbosch, October 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

University of Cape Town (UCT), the University of Witwatersrand, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and parts of the North West University (NWU) will remain closed for most of the week.

The University of KwaZulu Natal students have closed down their Westville campus after demonstrators pulled students out of classes on Monday.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Max Price announced UCT would be closed from October 26 to October 30. Price said they did not have a commitment from protesters that there would no longer be disruptions; and as a result they had decided to remain closed for the week.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said the institution’s highest decision making body, the Senate, would be meeting on Monday to decide if exams should go ahead.

CPUT said classes would remain closed until Tuesday, while North West University said their Potchefstroom campus would resume classes but their two other campuses in Mafikeng and Vaal Triangle would remain closed after threats of more protest.

Students are still demanding free education, and an end to outsourcing of university workers.

This after President Jacob Zuma announced on Friday a 0% fee hike for 2016, after nine days of protests on campuses countrywide.

Universities resuming classes on Monday included Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Free State, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Pretoria, University of Western Cape, Tshwane University of Technology and Stellenbosch University.

Exams at most universities (excluding Wits University) will start on November 2.