South African President Jacob Zuma is to meet with student leaders and university officials after a week of sometimes violent student protests over planned tuition hikes that have all but shut down most universities. Mana Rabiee reports.
Johannesburg's city center comes to a standstill... as students protesting planned tuition hikes march to the headquarters of the ruling African National Congress. They've been holding a week of sometimes violent demonstrations that have all but shut down at least 15 of the country's 20 universities. And they have a list of demands for lawmakers... including free education, saying the tuition aid they get from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme or NFSAS only puts them in lingering debt. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN STUDENT, SOMILA DONDASHE, SAYING: "People have debt. People finish varsity; they can't graduate because they have debt. You go through varsity your whole life, you have debt and please don't tell us about NFSAS and financial aid. That is debt, it's not a bursary. That is debt on its own." South African President Jacob Zuma says he'll meet with student leaders and university officials on Friday. It's his first public comment on the protest and it comes one day after the students stormed the parliament in Cape Town. The universities say they need to raise prices to keep up standards, but critics say the rate hikes unfairly hit disadvantaged black students who are already under represented on South Africa's college campuses.