Lectures to remain suspended at Wits

Former Univeristy of Witwaterstrand SRC president Mcebo Dlamini throws a brick at a car that ran through the human blockade on Empire road, 19 October 2015, outside the University of Witwaterstrand. Picture: Alaister Russell

Former Univeristy of Witwaterstrand SRC president Mcebo Dlamini throws a brick at a car that ran through the human blockade on Empire road, 19 October 2015, outside the University of Witwaterstrand. Picture: Alaister Russell

Academic activities at the Witwatersrand University will remain suspended on Tuesday following protests against proposed tuition fee hike.

The institution’s management said late Monday that the decision was taken out of concern for the health and safety of staff and students.

“Due to the ongoing protests, and concerns for the health and safety of our staff and students, it has been decided that Wits University’s academic project will be suspended for Tuesday, 20 October 2015. The suspension will be reviewed depending on further developments,” the university said in a statement.

“The university will continue to communicate with staff and students, and will issue a notification regarding the resumption of the academic project as soon as circumstances allow.”

The students had expected the institution’s council to give them feedback over their demand to reverse the planned 2016 tuition fee increase.

The council instead issued a statement indicating they would not meet with students, and instructed that the hall be cleared by 3pm.

The council then sent student leaders a letter, requesting them to form a team that would negotiate with the council over fee hikes.

The protesting students refused to meet management behind closed doors, and vowed to bring the institution to its knees this week.

They took to the streets and blockaded Empire Road, where a vehicle was pelted with stones after the driver refused to stop. The vehicle was overturned after it tried driving over the students.

The cheering students placed rocks on the road, preventing flow of traffic for more than an hour. The arrival of police saw students regrouping and marching back into campus.

Incoming SRC president Nompendulo Mkatshwa told students the protest would disturb the functioning of the city.

“Comrades, we are here to frustrate the City of Joburg … we want mayor Parks Tau to intervene,” she said to a loud applause and chanting.

The protesting students, who have vowed to not back down, returned to the Great Hall on campus, and then marched back into the Senate House,where they had earlier spent hours waiting for management to speak to them.

It was the fourth day of protests, which began Wednesday, at the institution.

Final examinations were set to begin in 12 days.

 

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