THE University of Venda in Limpopo was brought to a standstill by protesting students yesterday.

The protest also affected pupils of nearby Marude Secondary School as they couldn’t pass the barricades put up by students.

From early in the morning, protesters barricaded the streets leading to the main campus in Thohoyandou with burning rubble and other heavy objects.

There was high police visibility on campus and in the areas around the university.

The police had their hands full for most of the day as they battled to control crowds gathered at most corners of the town.

Some protesters held placards, which they used as shields.

Throughout the day, police fired rubber bullets to disperse students, who scattered and then regrouped after a while.

The students said they were angry because they were not given enough money by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

They also complained their stipends often didn’t come on time.

One student said: “Our parents know we are being funded and they become suspicious when we tell them we don’t have food.

“We go for days without meals and the food in the cafeteria is very expensive.”

The students also complained that new residences were standing empty while there was an accommodation crisis.

They said they didn’t feel safe as a woman had been raped in the area and a man was stabbed just outside campus.

They said they would not go back to class until their concerns were met.

University spokesman Takalani Dzaga confirmed that students were protesting about a delay in the payment of stipends.

“Our financial aid officers have been in touch with NSFAS and hopefully the situation will be solved by the end of the day.”