JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s government says universities in the country can increase fees by no more than 8 percent next year, despite student warnings that they would protest against any new hikes.

Blade Nzimande, the education minister, said Monday that financial constraints make it impossible to provide free higher education, as some protesters have demanded.

Student leaders at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg say they will protest against the government’s announcement. Classes were already suspended at the University of Cape Town on Monday because of recent protests.

In 2015, South African university students staged large demonstrations against proposed fee hikes, extracting a government concession that there would be no fee increases this year. Sporadic unrest, including the burning of buildings and vehicles, continued on some campuses this year.