University of Johannesburg (UJ) officials were trying to negotiate with protesting students on Thursday morning in attempts to reopen blocked entrances, Gauteng police said.
“The police are there and the entrances are still blocked,” Captain Julia Claassen said at 8.30am.
“The governing body of the university is currently addressing the students. They are negotiating with them on opening it.”
She said the police were keeping a close eye on the situation.
A group of students barricaded entrances to UJ with stones and burning goods as part of a protest calling for free education.
“They blockaded it with stones and they also burnt stuff. The police are monitoring the situation,” said Claassen.
The South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) vowed on Wednesday to close down nine universities countrywide in protest action to demand free education.
Sasco secretary general Lazola Ndamase said the University of Venda, University of Limpopo, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), UJ, Durban University of Technology, University of Zululand, Walter Sisulu University, Cape Peninsula University for Technology and the University of Western Cape would be shut down on Thursday.
The TUT subsequently issued a statement saying it would not be closed on Thursday.
Police spokespersons in Durban, Garankuwa in Pretoria, the Western Cape and Limpopo all said they had not received any reports of protests at universities in their provinces by 8am on Thursday.
Sasco is also planning to stage a march to Parliament in Cape Town on Friday.
Students said they were unhappy because President Jacob Zuma paid little attention to education in his State of the Nation address.
Ndamase said Sasco wanted to put pressure on the government as more than 135 000 students were not at tertiary institutions because of financial constraints.
Ndamase said they were expecting the government to outline how it would introduce free education for undergraduate students next year.—Sapa