South Africa Parliament in Chaos as Nene Gives Budget

  • Riot police fire stun grenades, clash with protesters
  • Students are demanding university-fee increases are scrapped
Heavily armed members of the South African public order police stand guard outside the conference centre at the start of the 2002 World Summit in Johannesburg. Monday August 26,  2002 Photographer : John Liebenberg/ Bloomberg
Heavily armed members of the South African public order police stand guard outside the conference centre at the start of the 2002 World Summit in Johannesburg. Monday August 26, 2002 Photographer : John Liebenberg/ Bloomberg

South African Parliament descended into chaos as university students clashed with police and opposition lawmakers were ejected before Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene began delivering his mid-term budget.

Riot police fired stun grenades and scuffled with students who broke into the precinct of the National Assembly in Cape Town on Wednesday, carrying banners and chanting for fees to be cut. The protests that began in Johannesburg last week have spread across the country and shut classes. President Jacob Zuma was in the National Assembly, tens of meters away from clashes between students and the police.

Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, who had sought to postpone Nene’s speech, were ejected by security officials after disrupting the sitting by chanting “fees must fall.”

Students have rejected an offer by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Tuesday to cap fee increases at 6 percent. The protests were sparked by plans by the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg to impose 10 percent increases. Inflation was 4.6 percent in September.

Nene began his speech more than 40 minutes later than scheduled. Slower economic growth has forced Nene to curb spending to keep debt under control.

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