Habib would quit if he cared about students - EFF leader

2015-10-28 16:31
(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg - University of Witwatersrand Vice Chancellor Adam Habib would resign if he really cared about the students, Wits EFF leader Vuyani Pambo said on Wednesday. 

Pambo told Habib that he had lost the students' trust. 

Habib attempted to address students at the university after he had earlier promised to speak to them following a protest by a group of students and workers who called for an end to outsourcing.

Habib asked for a month to address their outsourcing concerns, but students refused to accepted that and shouted that he was making them angry. 

The workers said it would be too late to address their concerns in a month because, by then, the university would already be closed. 

Attempting to diffuse the situation, Habib asked to meet with the leaders of the workers, but the crowd which had surrounded him refused, with Pambo adding that there would be no private meetings.

Meanwhile, one of the workers in the crowd told Habib that they worked for R22 a day, did not receive payslips and had been informed that they had been suspended because of their participation in the strike. 

The workers begged Habib to intervene and ensure that workers would not lose their jobs if the university put an end to outsourcing. 

Habib said he would call a labour broker and would tell them that workers should not be prejudiced. He said he could not make a decision until he had done an analysis of what it it would mean to stop outsourcing.

He was prepared for workers to choose who ever they wanted to look at the books with him and requested that he be allowed to go so he could speak to the university council. The group refused. 

Students want cops removed from campus

Habib told the crowd that every child of a worker at the university who was admitted to the institution would be funded. 

One student also called for the workers to be granted medical aid. 

Habib told the group that, despite the criticism, he had in some areas he had done better than some of his predecessors, while in others, he had done worse.

He told the group that he was not the one behind university decisions, but rather the Wits council. 

The students also called on Habib to have the police removed from the campus. 

Habib said he did not have the authority to remove the police, adding that the campus was not safe after several fires were started on the premises earlier on Wednesday. 

Protests at Wits started two weeks ago when the university announced a proposed 10.5% fee hike for 2016.

They quickly spread to campuses around South Africa, eventually culminating in President Jacob Zuma announcing a freeze in university fee hikes for 2016. 

Academic activity at the university has not, however, returned to normal, as some students claim that their other grievances should be addressed before they head back to classes ahead of the final exams.

Read more on:    wits university  |  adam habib  |  johannesburg  |  university fees

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