Venda University suspends classes following protests

Johannesburg - The University of Venda has suspended its academic programme following violent student protests at the institution, its spokesperson Takalani Dzaga confirmed on Tuesday. 

Dzaga told News24 that escalating protests over National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) book allowances had led to management's decision to go on early recess.

The reasons for the protest is that students were alleging that they had not received their NSFAS book and food allowances, he said.

On Monday, students blocked roads and clashed with police at its Thohoyandou Campus. Dzaga said that the current environment on campus was not conducive to learning.

"The SRC has not met with the university management to raise issues of their concern," he said. 

Students representatives had also indicated that they did not agree with an early recess, he added. 

Only 62 of the 7 000 students who are scheduled to receive book allowances from the NSFAS grant are yet to receive their allowances, he said. 

"We have told students that they need to provide accurate information and student numbers. The 62 remaining students did not provide accurate information and that is the only reason they are still outstanding.

"I must say that we have received correspondence from students who are concerned about the situation. They do not want to be part of these protests. Many students want to go back to school," he told News24. 

Several other universities have been affected by violent protests recently. 

Three campuses at the Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape remain closed after students clashed with police. Students at its Butterworth, Buffalo City and Mthatha campuses are demanding immediate improvements at residences. 

Police arrested 32 students earlier this month at the University of Zululand after a building and two police vehicles were set alight. Students were protesting over their meal allowances. Classes have since resumed.