Nam students in SA worried about protests

25 Sep 2016 17:40pm
By Esme Konstantinus
WINDHOEK, 25 SEP (NAMPA) – Namibian students in South Africa (SA) are worried that they might not finish their studies due to the current #FeesMustFall protests at some universities in that country.
The protests came about after the Ministry of Higher Education in South Africa announced earlier this month that university fees will increase by eight per cent for the 2017 academic year, because the country’s universities were facing serious funding challenges.
The violent protests led to the closure of some universities in Johannesburg and Cape Town, where violent clashes between students and the police are ongoing since Monday.
Speaking to Nampa from SA on Sunday, second-year engineering student at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Martha Amwaama said even though she is done with her course work, she cannot access the university to conduct research due to the closure of the laboratories.
She added that students will know on Monday whether their accommodation facilities on campus will be closed, which will leave them with no option but to return home.
Many students are frustrated because it impacts on their teaching, learning, lectures, tests, projects, assignments and fieldwork.
Several thousands are supposed to graduate this year.
Protests are not illegal, but students are now involved in illegal activities such as damaging university and personal property, which led to protests no longer being peaceful. Many have been injured during scuffles.
Christopher Freygang, the vice-president of the Namibian Students Association in SA, told Nampa Sunday the association has strongly advised students not to take part in the protests as this might lead them to be deported back to Namibia.
“The fees increase will also affect us and we are just not comfortable with that as this directly or indirectly affect us financially,” said Freygang, a second-year communication management student at the University of Pretoria.
Meanwhile, the South African media reported that three petrol bombs were found on Saturday on the Wits Braamfontein Campus.
The Namibian Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was not reachable.