South African President Jacob Zuma announces that there will be no increase in tuition fees for the next academic year, seeking to soothe tensions amid angry student protests in Pretoria. Pavithra George reports.
A shocking moment for this TV crew covering student clashes in Pretoria. They were caught in the thick of it...as violent protests break out over hikes in the price of university tuition. Student anger has been building all week. They say the price increases make the cost of university education prohibitive for many black students, and they marched to the offices of South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, to make their point. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT, SAYING: "We're not here to fight or to do anything, we are asking Zuma to implement their policy that will ensure that a black child is being given a sufficient opportunity." Zuma is calling for calm..although he did address the students' concerns. SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA, SAYING: "Government understands the difficulties faced by students from poor households." In the meantime, Zuma says that proposed tuition increases for next year will be frozen, and other student grievances addressed. Welcome news, for the moment, in a country where incomes in black households are a fraction of those in white households. ...Adding to the frustration about lingering inequalities two decades after the end of white-minority rule.