South African Students Protest Tuition Hikes, Police Respond with Teargas

Photo by AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht
Government officials have proposed an 11 percent tuition increase, which would disproportionately affect Black students in South Africa.

Dozens of South African students are detained and at least one is injured after police teargassed and threw stun grenades to hundreds of people during a demonstration protesting a proposed tuition hike.

According to The Guardian, South African and university officials have recently proposed a bill that would increase college costs by 11 percent, which would further disadvantage of the nation's Black students. Protests have broken out at universities across the country, and yesterday afternoon, hundreds of students gathered outside of the parliament in Cape Town and staged a sit-in during finance minister Nhlanhla Nene's speech. 

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"The reality of the matter is that in the country post-independence, the Black students have still been oppressed, we're still marginalized, we struggle to get into universities," student leader Mcebo Dlamini told The Guardian. "But we still get those distinctions and compete with those model C schools, the former apartheid schools… Now we are here, government and the universities are sidelining us. We are poor. We are calling for free education in our lifetime."

University officials said that the increase is necessary to keep up with the increasing educational standards and condemn the students' protests.

"It is need to be said that disruption of learning is not constructive, neither is disruption of parliament," Nene said. "But minister Nzimande has rightly indicated the need to strengthen student financing further and to find solutions where the current situation inadequate, and government is seized with this matter."

Students have started the powerful #FeesMustFall hashtag to spread their message on social media.

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