EDUCATION SUSPENDED: Protests over fees have been ongoing at TUT since the middle of last year. Photo: Twitter

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has suspended the start of the academic year and evicted students from a number of its campuses, following violent protests over the financial aid crisis, the Independent Online reported.

On Friday evening, students were given until noon on Sunday to vacate Soshanguve north, Soshanguve south, Ga-Rankuwa, Mbombela and eMalahleni campuses.

Activities have been suspended until an agreement is reached with the university’s Student Representative Council (SRC), TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter told Independent Online.

She said that, following a series of violent protests, the university was concerned about the students’ safety.

“Our first and foremost concern is the students as we are responsible for them while they are on our premises. So, in the interest of their safety and to avoid possible damage to property, we decided this was the best route,” she said.

JacarandaFM reported on Twitter that some first year students do not support the suspension and “fear they will fail”.

Several students have complained on Twitter that although the SRC have encouraged them to remain in res and to continue protesting for free registration, they are nowhere to be seen.

De Ruyter said they were hoping for a response from the SRC soon.

Protests at TUT have been ongoing since September last year, when students burnt a bus on campus and the SRC was suspended over National Student Financial Aid Scheme protests.

The first week of lectures at the University of KwaZulu-Natal have also been suspended, after student protests. It remains unclear for what reason the students are protesting, as they have yet to raise their concerns officially with the university.