JOHANNESBURG, Heckling students forced the cancellation of a convention in Midrand.

This happened after they refused to give Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande an opportunity to speak at the convention.

One student in a red EFF T-shirt told a convener: "What is he [Nzimande] going to say? He's not going to say anything we want to hear."

Programme directors ordered everyone out of the plenary tent as chairs and water bottles were thrown around and students starting getting violent.

Nzimande is believed to have left the venue after his security team escorted him out of the tent.

Earlier the programme was suspended when conveners consulted student leaders on the best way forward.

AfriForum left the convention when students asked them to leave.

"The white people should leave," some students shouted.

The EFF student command said they disrupted the convention because of their own interests.

"We collapsed the plenary for our own interests, because many people here aren't here for our interests. We are participating and will continue to participate, but only on our terms," Sharon Letlape from the EFF student command told News24.

The Young Communist League said the future of South African young people depends on the outcome of the convention. "We are here to cement the call for free education for the poor. Because we believe education is not neutral from class conditions. Those who own the means of production must pay for higher education," a representative said from the podium.

While students where protesting, former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke pleaded with them to not disrupt the convention.

"We have invested an incredible amount of time in carefully negotiating with all stakeholders, in crafting a programme that is fully representative of all stakeholders, with the view to find common solutions to the current education crisis," he said.-