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This article appeared in the Herald of 23 September 2016.

Picture: Eugene Coetzee. COURT PROTEST: A large group of students protest outside the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court where nine students appeared briefly yesterday

A group of about 10 students barricaded a door at the SRC chambers in the Goldfields South building, saying no one was allowed to leave.

They would not say why they were holding the group of about 15 hostage.

The students outside the building had held a meeting earlier in the day about the fees-must-fall campaign, at which they chased SRC members and the media away.

Before that, the group protested outside the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court, where nine students were appearing on charges of public disturbance and contravening the Road Traffic Act.

The students – six women and three men – were arrested in the parking lot at Hobie Beach on Wednesday after clashing with police.

One of them faces an additional charge of obstructing the police in the execution of their duties.

The students were granted bail of R50 on Wednesday night.

After the case against the students was postponed to October 12 for further investigation, two Herald reporters followed the protesters as they made their way to the NMMU south campus for a mass meeting.

The media and the SRC were barred from the meeting and told a media conference would be held later in the evening.

Nyati then held a media conference at the SRC chambers, outlining student demands, following Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande’s fee hike announcement earlier this week.

The demands include that NMMU publicly declare its position on the fee moratorium, student debt for this year must be cleared and free registration for poor students and those who fall into the missing middle, among other things.

“We are going to exhaust all possible channels to achieve our objectives of free quality higher education for the poor,” Nyati said.

“The government has failed dismally with regard to education.”

Shortly after opening the floor to questions from the media, a group of irate students stormed the venue and refused to allow anyone to leave.

No reason was offered for their disruptive action.

A tussle ensued between the SRC members and the militant students.

University protection services barged in about half an hour later and took control of the situation.

The media representatives were guided out by the security officials.

NMMU spokeswoman Debbie Derry said she was saddened to hear that members of the media, including an SABC News television crew, had been held against their will.

All NMMU activities are set to resume today.

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057