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SIX University of Venda students have been arrested and charged with malicious damage to property and public violence after they protests over food and textbook allowances, police and students said on Wednesday.
They will remain in custody until Monday.
Univen, situated in Thohoyandou in Limpopo, was the latest university to be rocked by protests this week.
According to students, rubber bullets have been fired by police and at least one student was injured.
TAKING NO CHANCES: Police keep a watchful eye on Univen students.
Zondi Que, a Pan Africanist Students Movements of Azania (PASMA) student leader at Univen, says students are protesting because they have yet to receive their food and text-book allowances from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Que says “promises were made that our allowances will be paid on 15th March but now as we approach April, we have not have received our allowances”.
He said they are determined to continue with the protests until students get their allowances from NFSAS.
Currently, it is estimated that close to 200,000 university students across the country have not received their NSFAS grants.
Univen students did not join the Fees Must Fall protests last year.
The only known protest took place late last year when students disrupted lessons before clashing with police who warned them against vandalising university property.
The country was rocked by countrywide university protests late last year after Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced that state universities could increase next year’s fees by not more than eight percent.
Wits University degenerated into chaos and disruptions, with students fighting running battles with the police.
Universities like the University of Limpopo were forced to shut their doors after students caused an estimated R100 000 worth of damage to property at the campus in Mankweng Township, outside Polokwane.
Police regularly fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse groups of protesting students who had declared that their campuses would not open until their demands for free education were met.
The protests were largely violent.
A police officer was attacked with rocks by a group of protesting students at Wits.
He was seen bleeding from the head.
A meeting between student leaders and Nzimande, addressed by President Jacob Zuma, had failed to put brakes on protests, with universities such as Wits and University of Cape Town the hardest hit.