'Habib will stay' – Wits council

2016-10-07 14:56
Professor Adam Habib (Picture: Supplied)

Professor Adam Habib (Picture: Supplied)

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Johannesburg – The chairperson of the University of Witwatersrand’s council says it has all the confidence in Adam Habib’s capacity as a vice chancellor and that he is not going anywhere.

"We have absolute confidence in the vice chancellor… he will stay," Dr Randall Carolissen told reporters at a briefing at the university’s main campus on Friday morning.

This was in response to calls made over the past year by #FeesMustFall students calling for free higher education.

Habib had earlier told reporters that he would not resign, and would stay until his contract came to an end.

"I have never in my life, in the midst of a challenge, said I will run away. The decision [to resign] would be aggravating a responsibility not only to my council but to the nation," Habib said.

Habib announced earlier that the highly-anticipated general assembly which was due to be held at the university’s main campus on Friday morning was postponed, due to a failure to reach consensus between management and the students.

'Closing not an option'

The aim of the general assembly was for all layers of the Wits community to reach a united consensus on the call for access to free, quality higher education.

Earlier in the week, Habib told radio broadcaster 702 that if no agreement was reached, the university may be forced to shut down.

"It is not a threat, it is a simple statement of fact that if Wits University is not teaching and is not doing research, then there is no purpose that it be open," he said on Thursday.

However, Carolissen on Friday was adamant that the institution could not close down.

"The option of closing 2016, it is not an option. That simply cannot happen; we have a responsibility to parents… to the nation. We will have to think out of the box, we are utterly committed to that," Carolissen said.

He said it was easy to criticise the decisions taken by the university throughout the #FeesMustFall protests, from the outside. But praised members of the university’s executive for the time, energy and effort they had put into attempting to find solutions to the matter.

When Habib’s contract came to an end in a year and a half’s time, the council would discuss extending his term, he added.

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

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