students charged

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The 20 students accused of masterminding a riot at the University of Limpopo's Turf-loop campus last year appeared before a disciplinary hearing yesterday.

The students, mainly from the Pan Africanist Student Movement Association (Pasma) and the South African Students Congress (Sasco), were protesting against the university's plans to increase tuition and registration fees this year.

In protest against the move, the students ran amok and damaged property.

An administration block and one of the gates were gutted by fire. Six vehicles belonging to university staff and visitors were also stoned by the angry students.

The institution called the police who allegedly shot and wounded three students .

A total of 20 students were later identified as the instigators behind the protest.

"They are facing charges of malicious damage to property and bringing the name of the institution into disrepute," said university spokesman Nozipho Kwenaite yesterday.

"Their verdict will be released next month."

Pan Africanist Youth Congress (Payco) secretary- general in Limpopo, Aubrey Ngoatle, said: "Had the management told the students on time about their attempt to increase the fees, no commotion would have taken place.

"They say education is free in all schools in the country, but once children demand it, they are tortured, harassed, arrested, shot at and have their results withheld

"That cannot be tolerated at all," he said.